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Johann Johannsson

A Prayer to the Dynamo

Deutsche Grammophon
Release Date: September 8, 2023

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Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Bjarnason, Paul Corley – A Prayer to the Dynamo – Part 1
Johann Johannsson - Full Performance (Live on KEXP)
Last And First Men - Teaser Trailer
1 Suite from The Theory of Everything I_ A Model of the Universe  
2 II_ Domestic Pressures  
3 III_ The Origins of Time  
4 IV_ Forces of Attraction  
5 V_ Cambridge, 1963  
6 A Prayer to the Dynamo Part 1  
7 A Prayer to the Dynamo Part 2  
8 A Prayer to the Dynamo Part 3  
9 A Prayer to the Dynamo Part 4  
10 Suite from Sicario I_ Target  
11 II_ Desert Music  
12 III_ Melancholia  
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Deutsche Grammophon is proud to release the world premiere recording of Jóhann Jóhannsson’s A Prayer to the Dynamo. This major orchestral work was inspired in general by the composer’s fascination with technology, and in particular by field recordings he made at Iceland’s Elliðaár power plant and the writings of Henry Adams. It is paired on this new album with two suites compiled and arranged by the composer from existing material drawn from his Academy Award-nominated scores for Sicario and The Theory of Everything, also recorded here for the first time. 

Daníel Bjarnason conducts the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in recordings made at the Harpa concert hall in Reykjavík. With booklet notes by renowned music writer and radio host John Schaefer, in conversation with Jóhannsson’s father, Jóhann Gunnarsson, A Prayer to the Dynamo will be released on CD, vinyl (2 LPs) and digitally on 15 September 2023. Three taster tracks will be shared over the summer: “A Model of the Universe” and “Forces of Attraction” (both from The Theory of Everything) on 30 June and 28 July respectively, with Part 1 of A Prayer to the Dynamo following on 25 August. 

A Prayer to the Dynamo was written in response to a commission from the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. It received its first, and so far only performance at the orchestra’s New Music Festival on 3 February 2012. As noted by the festival’s curator, composer Matthew Patton, it represented a turning-point in Jóhannsson’s career, having been written without any of the narrative constraints involved in composing for film. “He never wrote a piece for orchestra this big, this long, and with this much freedom.” This recording will turn a much-deserved spotlight on to a work Patton has described as a “lost symphony” and introduce it to audiences worldwide. 

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