World-renowned for his many award-winning film scores including “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”, Howard Shore’s latest album “Two Concerti” shows that his immense compositional talents light up not only the cinema screen but the classical concert stage as well. Released on February 17, the album presents two specially commissioned works dedicated to the music of Frédéric Chopin – the piano concerto Ruin & Memory – performed by renowned pianist Lang Lang; and the cello concerto Mythic Gardens performed by award-winning cellist Sophie Shao.
Ruin & Memory – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra was written in celebration of Chopin’s 200th anniversary and recorded live at its world premiere at the 2010 Beijing Music Festival – whose Arts Foundation commissioned the work. Composed specifically for Lang Lang, Ruin & Memory is Shore’s musical reflection of Chopin’s time and the life he led. About the work Shore explains “The title captures a bit of Chopin’s life, about where he came from and the world he lived in, and what happened when that world was no longer there. The piece is really a love affair with the piano, the intimacy, the tactile perception of that instrument.”
For the companion piece Mythic Gardens – Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra was commissioned for Sophie Shao by the American Symphony Orchestra. Shore took his inspiration from the architecture of three classic Italian gardens: Cimbrone, Medici and Visconti Borromeo Litta. The composer elucidates on his various muses “Growing up in Canada, I spent many summers in Northern Ontario. The surrounding natural beauty of the area was and remains a great inspiration. I believe that it is through this love of nature that I was able to connect so well to Tolkien’s work. The natural world influences the form of my compositions when writing for the concert stage as well. However, it is the incredible musicians themselves, such as Sophie Shao and Lang Lang, whose artistry is always at the center of my creativity when composing.”
Howard Shore is one of today’s most prolific and accomplished composers – his compositions are performed in concert halls around the world by the most prestigious orchestras and his numerous film scores are heard in cinemas across the globe. His scores for “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “The Hobbit” series have garnered him three Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, as well as numerous critic’s and festival Awards. Other film scores include “Maps to the Stars”, “The Fly”, “Dead Ringers”, and “Crash” – all by the director David Cronenberg – and six films by Martin Scorsese. His off-screen accomplishments include: an opera of “The Fly” that premiered at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, A song cycle “A Palace Upon the Ruins” featuring mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, and “Fanfare” for the Wanamaker Organ and Brass in Philadelphia.
Chinese pianist Lang Lang is one of the world’s most prolific and highest-profile performing and recording artists. His spectacular career has taken him from his home town of Shenyang in China to the world’s largest stages including performing at the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games. He performs for Presidents, Grammy Award Show audiences and sold-out concert halls alike. He is passionate about bringing classical music to wider audiences and launched the Lang Lang International Music Foundation to cultivate tomorrow’s top pianists and champion classical music education and growing young audiences.
American cellist Sophie Shao is winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and top prizes at the Rostropovich and Tchaikovsky competitions in recent years. She gave the UK premier of Mythic Gardens with the BBC Concert Orchestra and her passionate performances have been noted as “eloquent, powerful” (The New York Times) and “deeply satisfying.” (The Washington Post).