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Johann Johannsson

Drone Mass

Deutsche Grammophon
Release Date: March 18, 2022

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Johann Johannsson - Full Performance (Live on KEXP)
Last And First Men - Teaser Trailer
1 One Is True  
2 Two Is Apocryphal  
3 Triptych In Mass  
4 To Fold & Remain Dormant  
5 Divine Objects  
6 The Low Drone Of Circulating Blood, Diminishes With Time  
7 Moral Vacuums  
8 Take The Night Air  
9 The Mountain View, The Majesty Of The Snow-Clad Peaks, From A Place Of Contemplation And  
10 Reflection  
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The previously unrecorded Drone Mass was described by its composer, the late Jóhann Jóhannsson, as “a contemporary oratorio”. Written for voices, string quartet and electronics, it was commissioned and premiered by the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, aka ACME, who toured and recorded with Jóhannsson for almost ten years. Now they have made the world premiere recording of this richly atmospheric work, in collaboration with Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble Theatre of Voices, conducted by Paul Hillier, also a multiple Grammy Award-winner. The members of both ACME and Theatre of Voices worked closely with the composer many times, both in the studio and in multiple live performances and tours, before his untimely death. The album will be released by Deutsche Grammophon, digitally as well as on CD and 180g vinyl, on 18 March 2022. 

Drone Mass is an extraordinary, mysterious accomplishment which at times bears comparison with the meditative minimalism of composers such as Arvo Pärt or Henryk Górecki. Beginning with strings and voices, but slowly integrating Jóhannsson’s electronic techniques into its landscape, the work represents what the Icelandic composer called “a distillation of a lot of influences and obsessions”. 

ACME players for this recording are Clarice Jensen, artistic director and cello; Ben Russell, violin;  Laura Lutzke, violin; and Caleb Burhans, viola. Theatre of Voices singers for this recording are Else Torp, Kate Macoboy, Signe Asmussen, Iris Oja,  Paul Bentley-Angell, Jakob Skjoldborg, Jakob Bloch Jespersen and Steffen Bruun, Paul Hillier, conductor

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