Anno is an entertaining, surprising, utterly fresh experience of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for string orchestra and electronics.
Written by composer/producer Anna Meredith, Anno intertwines sections from Vivaldi's hugely famous seasonal concerti with new electronic compositions and partner pieces.
At times haunting and achingly beautiful, at others punchy and bombastic, Anno is a lingering experience that evokes the passing of a year - from the awakening of spring, to the mournful intensity of summer, to the hushed darkness of winter.
Combining old and new, acoustic and electronic, 'popular' and classical, Anno ultimately defies and questions our need for any such categorisation.
Anno was commissioned by Scottish Ensemble and Spitalfields Music.
Scottish Ensemble Artistic Director Jonathan Morton approached Anna to write the piece after recognising similarities between Anna’s writing style and Vivaldi’s.
Jon had been musing on how Scottish Ensemble could present Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – one of the most well-known pieces of music in the world, and one which has been rearranged, recomposed and recontextualised dozens of times – in a new way.
Aware of Anna's idiosyncratic, category-evading writing style, Scottish Ensemble approached the composer to write a new piece for string orchestra and electronics which would allow the group to perform this piece in a new context.
The live performance of Anno is a powerful, immersive experience. Sitting in the middle of a dark, transformed world (designed by Glasgow-based art and architecture collective DO Architecture), the audience is cocooned by sights and sounds evoking the passing of a year – from the awakening of spring, to the mournful intensity of summer, to the hushed darkness of winter.
Performing up close, Anna and the Scottish Ensemble musicians become silhouettes against a backdrop of giant screens pulsating with the quirky visual art of Eleanor Meredith, inspired by walks around the east end of London observing the seasonal changes.
The live show was premiered in June 2016 at Oval Space, London as part of the Spitalfields Music Summer Festival . Anno was then given its Scottish premiere at Tramway, Glasgow and The Hub, Edinburgh in November 2016.
Anno was recorded as an album in May 2018, and will be released on Moshi Moshi in August 2018.
about the artists
Occupying a unique position of bridging both popular, experimental and classical worlds, Anna Meredith is a composer/producer has made a name for her genre defying sound. In 2016 Anna Meredith released her acclaimed debut album Varmints via Moshi Moshi, which went on to win the Scottish Album of the Year award.
Among countless achievements, she has been Composer in Residence with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, RPS/PRS Composer in the House with Sinfonia ViVA, the classical music representative for the 2009 South Bank Show Breakthrough Award and winner of the 2010 Paul Hamlyn Award for Composers. Anna has also scored forthcoming American comedy-drama Eighth Grade, written and directed by Bo Burnham, which took home the Audience Award at this years Sundance Film Festival: London.
The UK's leading string orchestra, Scottish Ensemble (SE) is a collective of outstanding musicians championing music for strings. Crossing styles, musical periods, genres and art forms to make new connections, SE aims to create exhilarating musical experiences that forge new connections between people, places and ideas.
As well as becoming increasingly known for its bold collaborations with artists from other disciplines, from dance to theatre to visual art, SE regularly commissions new works, performs on prestigious UK and international stages, and works with high-profile guest artists from trumpeter Alison Balsom, to mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, to violinists Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Nicola Benedetti.
Eleanor Meredith (Anna’s sister) is an illustrator and visual artist. In 2011, alongside Claudia Boldt, she co-founded the Loop, a magazine for children which encourages thinking and making. Her work has been exhibited in spaces including Shoreditch Town Hall, Brixton Village, Plane Tree Nobrow Gallery and Bankside Gallery in London; Tollhouse Studios and Recoat Gallery in Glasgow; and Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre in Dundee.
Our most grateful thanks go to the following organisations and individuals, who supported the commission of Anno:
Cockayne - Grants for the Arts, John S. Cohen Foundation, Hinrichsen Foundation, The Leche Trust, The London Community Foundation, Lord Phillimore’s Charitable Trust, The Radcliffe Trust, RVW Trust and an anonymous donor.
Lighting / environment design
Photographer and filmmaker