The album features six specially-commissioned new works as well as multi-layered octophonic arrangements of string classics
Prelude from Grieg’s Holberg Suite is released as a single this week [13 May]: Listen HERE
The full album is released on 17 June 2022
Johannes Moser today [9 May] announces a highly innovative new album which shows him to be not only the highly-acclaimed international classical cellist performing at the highest level worldwide but as one of the most pioneering, open-minded, experimental, and creative classical artists on the scene.
The album, Alone Together, will be released on June 17th by Platoon.
It is conceived to fully immerse listeners in a multi-dimensional, spatial sound world that takes full advantage of the audio possibilities of DOLBY ATMOS’s revolutionary technology. Featuring six new commissions for electric cello, alongside multi-layered octophonic arrangements of pieces for cello ensemble, the album creates the impression of sound moving around the listener in three dimensions.
Alone Together is one of the very first full-length classical albums to use multi-tracking so extensively, taking advantage of Dolby Atmos technology in a way that has not been seen in contemporary classical music before.
Moser said of the concept, “The spatial aspect of the music was just as much a part of the programming as the artistic and musical vision of this repertoire, which represents a strong aspect of who I am and what the pandemic has also forced me to be – a need to be a multifaceted musician creating musical environments just using my cello.”
Six of the fourteen pieces on the album are brand-new works, commissioned especially by Moser for the project.
‘Somewhere There Is Something Else’, by Pulitzer Prize Winner Ellen Reid relies entirely on the sound created by Moser’s cello, transforming and looping it through a uniquely programmed patch. Guggenheim Fellowship winner Nina Young’s ‘meteoros’ uses a similar process to transform the sound of Moser’s cello into a spatial landscape. Multiple Grammy-nominated composer Christopher Cerrone’s ‘Exhalation’ is a piece in the minimalist style, combining pre-recorded performances with the live.
Annie Gosfield, winner of the Music Prize from the Academy of Arts and Letters (2021), uses obscure snatches of World War II radio distortion signals to set up a digital dialogue with Moser’s cello in ‘Ghost Radios & Audio Mirages’ (for electric cello and broken radios). ‘Lobby Music’ by Ted Hearne also uses prerecorded sound bites, combining audio from violent outbreaks in America with hyper-pop to explore the polysemic meanings of the word ‘lobby’ – either a physical meeting place or an agitated mob. Finally, Grammy-nominee Timo Andres’ ‘Ogee’ is a ‘double eight’, playing with the idea of an infinite loop, as well as eight cellos in an octophonic set-up.
Moser alternates between playing on his famous 1694 Guarneri instrument, and two electric celli: a Ned Steinberger and a Yamaha electric cello.
The cellist has cited a personal passion for new music since the early days of his career, with a particular joy in commissioning original works. His first commission for electric cello was ‘MAGNETAR’ by Enrico Chapela in 2011, which premiered with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic. Moser claims that he has been “haunted” by the desire to create a soundscape using just the electric cello and a speaker set-up ever since.
The initial idea for these commissions emerged from Moser’s urge to present contemporary music in spaces that typically rely on traditional repertoire, expanding the reach of contemporary music and breaking down the traditional barriers between artist and audience. The recent coronavirus pandemic made such performances impossible, so Moser channeled his inspiration into a recording project with Platoon instead.
Platoon is a uniquely artist-led company, committed to facilitating the vision of the artists it works with. It has drawn on the most advanced sound and recording technology to create a whole new world of possibilities for classical musicians and audiences in the digital space. Moser is the first German classical musician to have worked with the label, known for its ground-breaking work with such artists as Billie Eilish, Jorja Smith, and Mr. Eazi and increasingly influential in pioneering digital work for classical audiences.
In addition to the release of the new single today, ‘Song of the Birds’ is also now available to listeners. A traditional Catalan Christmas song and lullaby, the beautiful piece was established as a symbol of world peace by cellist Pablo Casals, who often performed the work as an encore. Johannes Moser said of the single: “Since the days of the great Cellist Pablo Casals, the Catalan “Song of the Birds” stood for freedom, peace, and the hope of a better understanding between human beings, away from war and inconsolable conflict. In this tradition, I feel the urge to express my own voice amidst the many people that stand up in statements and demonstrations against this senseless war.” All proceeds from the single are being donated to Save the Children Deutschland. You can listen to the recording here.
Alone Together will be released digitally through Platoon on 17 June 2022.