Music for the Earth

Music for the Earth

Rachel Portman’s new concerto for violin, actor and orchestra Tipping Points is a strong statement for the Earth and the environment. Written for German violinist Niklas Liepe it is released on his new album on the Sony Classical label on March 29. 

The concerto consists of six movements, each interwoven with a new poem by poet Nick Drake narrated on the album by actress Grainne Dromgoole. The themes of the 25-minute work, both in the music and the poems are about the powers of nature and the confronting emotions triggered by collapsing ecosystems. They bring together the ancient and the modern. As one of the poems says: "The tipping point of the heart is when it breaks".

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Nick Drake writes:

“…We feel the loss and grief in our hearts. But we absolutely did not want to create a climate Jeremiad. We wanted to acknowledge and map out those painful, difficult things, but above all to recall and celebrate the powers and beauties of the natural world and the life-giving wonders of the elements. The spacious beauty of the music holds the darker matter of the poems in its harmonic world. The two have a necessary, symbiotic relationship. Ultimately, we hope the whole work embodies and inspires a sense of wonder, creative hope and imaginative agency in the listener.”


I. Invocation: A Different Sound Sings Through Everything
II. Air: Conjurer of Secret Atmospheres
III. Water: Simple Spell Conjuring a New Green World
IV. Fire: We're Losing the Family of Things
V. Earth: The Time is Now to Make Peace with the Earth
VI. Epilogue: Whisper the Forests until they Rise Again


Commissioned by the WDR Funkhausorchester Köln and Noorlands Opera, The concerto premiered on the September 8 2023 by the WDR Funkhausorchester in Cologne (Germany).

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