The Knights and Composer Anna Clyne

Announce New Album


Set for Release on August 23 2024

Featuring Performances by Avi Avital, Colin Jacobsen, Pekka Kuusisto and Yo-Yo Ma

(JUNE 27 – NEW YORK, NY) New York-based ensemble, The Knights, announce its new Sony Classical album, SHORTHAND, featuring the works of one today’s most in-demand composers, Anna Clyne and set for release on August 23.   SHORTHAND explores the sound of strings through a collection of works that represent and reflect artistic friendships and the power of collaboration.  It features performances by mandolinist Avi Avital, violinists Colin Jacobsen and Pekka Kuusisto plus cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

The Knights’ Artistic Directors Colin Jacobsen and Eric Jacobsen and Composer Anna Clyne note:

“SHORTHAND represents over two decades of artistic friendships and collaborations – each of the artists on this album has played an important part in our artistic lives.  It has brought together so many creative spirits and it has been an honour to record these works with them all.  Over the span of two years, starting at the Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts to Power Station Studios in New York City, we have come together to create this special album that we are excited to share with you.”

SHORTHAND brings together a host of internationally acclaimed artists and presents new interpretations of Anna Clyne’s music, including its title-track, Shorthand, for cello and string orchestra recorded here with Yo-Yo Ma.  Three Sisters is performed by its dedicatee, mandolinist Avi Avital, and Clyne’s double violin concerto Prince of Clouds places violinists Colin Jacobsen and Pekka Kuusisto in the spotlight.  With works spanning more than a decade, SHORTHAND presents musical conversations between the soloists and The Knights and within the ensemble itself.  The album was recorded by close collaborator, Grammy Award-winning audio engineer Jody Elff.

SHORTHAND also features Clyne’s most personal work, Within Her Arms, written as a tribute to her late mother.  Scored for fifteen individual string parts, the music is shaped around a simple motif which grows and moves around the listener throughout the piece.  The title is taken from a poem by the Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh:-

Earth will keep you tight within her arms dear one—
So that tomorrow you will be transformed into flowers—
This flower smiling quietly in this morning field—
This morning you will weep no more dear one—
For we have gone through too deep a night.
This morning, yes, this morning, I kneel down on the green grass—
And I notice your presence.
Flowers, that speak to me in silence.
The message of love and understanding has indeed come.

—Thich Nhat Hanh
(From ‘Message’ in Call Me By My True Names, 1999, with permission of Parallax Press)

Poetry, art and music are reflected throughout the album, with Prince of Clouds drawing on Baudelaire’s poem L’Albatros.  Three Sisters reflects on three stars found in the constellation of Orion, whilst Shorthand muses on Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata and the novella by Tolstoy of the same name.  The album also features the premiere recording of Shorthand (Redux), a reimagining of Clyne’s thoughtful work.

Anna Clyne’s work ‘The Gorgeous Nothings’ will be featured on 30th July during the forthcoming BBC Proms season.




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