Support from Midori Jaeger.
Prolific Scottish composer Erland Cooper, who merges music with evocative storytelling and conceptual art, tours his ambitious fourth studio album ‘Folded Landscapes’. Hailed as ‘nature’s songwriter’, for his work celebrating themes of the natural world, place, people and time, ‘Folded Landscapes’ pushes Cooper’s connection to the environment even further into unchartered new realms.
‘Folded Landscapes’, to be released on 5th May 2023 on Mercury KX / Decca, sees Cooper work through the lens of urgent observations surrounding climate change creating a potent, experimental new work. In early 2022, Cooper began a collaboration with Scottish Ensemble, a collective of pioneering musicians crossing art forms, to champion music for strings. Using drastic temperature changes – from sub-zero to hottest on record – he developed this piece for chamber string ensemble, piano, voice, harpsichord, electronics and field recordings.
The finished album figuratively and literally thaws over seven movements and features UK Poet Laureate Simon Armitage along with other special guests and samples, including activist Greta Thunberg, visual artist Norman Ackroyd and multi-award winning author, naturalist and conservationist Dara McNaulty leading a murmuration of familiar voices. Field recordings of the natural world include the California wildfires and crashing glaciers. Yet, out of the doom and gloom, beauty and hope bloom on Folded Landscapes.
Cooper explains: ‘I hope in this new work, a listener will be rewarded for their patience from a cold, glacial ascent by a slowly thawing, burning hope.’
Simon Armitage explains: ‘It was a natural fit. Erland is a poet who works with the language of music; finding and folding words into the landscapes of his compositions was a near-spontaneous happening. If geology could speak its dreams and geography could sing in its sleep, this is what it would sound like.’
“As the profoundly moving performance comes to a close, we’re left considering how Cooper has quickly become one of the most effective composers at being able to translate bigger concepts into his music. If art is meant to impact, inform and inspire, then shows like tonight demonstrate he is succeeding on all fronts.”
Music OMH 5/5
“A disarmingly beautiful love letter to the planet”
5/5 BBC Music Magazine on Folded Landscapes