Hans Abrahamsen: let me tell you; Hannigan; BRSO; Nelsons; 180 gram LP

Hans Abrahamsen: let me tell you. Barbara Hannigan; Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; Andris Nelsons. Winter & Winter LP9172321. [32:47]. International release 3rd Feb 2017.

Toronto's Barbara Hannigan is a musical force of nature. Not only is she the preeminent soprano for modern lieder and opera, she is developing a career as a conductor, too.  

let me tell you is a song cycle for soprano and orchestra by Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen. It was commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic for Hannigan and is dedicated to her.

The text is based on Paul Griffith's novel of the same name. Griffith gives his main character, Ophelia, as she tells her tragic tale, the same limited vocabulary as Shakespeare provided in Hamlet --  481 words.

Abrahamsen's devilishly difficult writing holds no fear for Hannigan. Apparently, she can hold any note, however high, for long periods and with the most extreme dynamics. Remarkable. And Abrahamsen makes use of every ounce of Hannigan's musicianship and technique. 

Hans Abrahamsen.

Hans Abrahamsen.

let me tell you has garnered universal praise and it was won many awards. For those of you scared away by what Sir James Galway calls 'squeaky gate music', fear not. Sure, it's modern. but is intrinsically beautiful. Hannigan's personality jumps off the vinyl. It may take a couple of listens to acclimatise to the musical vocabulary, but after a while, the sound is mesmerizing. 

Accompanying Hannigan with steely perfection is Andris Nelsons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Mariss Janson's stellar band. They play the crystalline notes as exquisitely as Hannigan sings them. 

The recording is superb. Pressing on 180 gram vinyl is exemplary, and the sound, considering the very high tessitura of the woodwinds and Hannigan's soprano, would challenge many loudspeakers. Or poorly designed tonearms/cartridges. A very musical investment worthy of your time and dollars. 

Side A

I Part:

1. Let me tell you how it was 

2. O but memory is not one but many 

3. There was a time, I remember 

Side B

II Part:

4. Let me tell you how it is 

5. Now I do not mind 

III Part:

6. I know you are there 

7. I will go out now