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St. Carolyn by the Sea
Ensemble Detail(s)
Copenhagen Philharmonic
Bryce Dessner (electric guitar), Aaron Dessner (electric guitar)
Label name
Deutsche Grammophon
Recording year
Conductor details
André de Ridder

Work Title


. . . this is the work of a master at the very top of his game . . . [Dessner] weaves a sublime spell as the music ebbs and flows through a whole range of emotions. It's contemporary yet reverential, ambitious yet enjoyable.
Derek Robertson, Drowned in Sound, 2/27/2014

Never before have classical and rock converged in so organic, compelling and sensual a way as they do in the three short orchestral works by New York composer and guitarist Bryce Dessner on his new release . . . Despite this broad spectrum of influences, his voice remains individual and distinct. The works performed here with de Ridder show Dessner to be a composer of surprising independence of mind . . . With this album, Bryce Dessner and Jonny Greenwood open up a new frontier for symphonic music.
, Music Industry News Network, 1/18/2014

. . . "St. Carolyn by the Sea" and its brethren are terrific pieces of music by any stretch . . . both pieces are indepently stunning . . Combined under André de Ridder's guiding hand and Deutsche Grammophon's professional stamp of integrity, "St. Carolyn by the Sea/There Will Be Blood" will go down as a modern classic. It can't be anything else.
John Garratt, Record Review, 3/4/2014

. . [there's more to Dessner's] music than just emotion (which even if there wasn't that would be good enough), but he has brains. He has an ear for acoustics, he has musical instinct and he isn't afraid to take a risk . . . his compositions organically fuse the traditional symphony orchestra with electric guitars in such a way that in all my travels through electro-acoustic soundscapes, I've never heard something so convincing . . . Dessner may be lachrymose and solemn much of the time, but it isn't melancholy or dreadful. What strikes me most is how musical he is . . . Dessner sounds very natural; the long form composition suits him well. Tight and compact, but expansive and expressive . . .
, Record Review, 4/21/2014

On [Dessner's] "St. Carolyn By the Sea", moaning tremolos pass like a fever chill through the orchestra and show up in the guitars a few minutes later, goose flesh prickling the music's surface. There are guitars in the work, but they are twinkling and demure, and often feel like they are murmuring to quiet the upheaval of the shuddering beast that is the full orchestra. The work builds to a martial tattoo of an ending and cuts off, leaving its sharp outline visible in our minds. Dessner's ear for string writing is particularly rich . . . "Raphael", builds from wispy tendrils of sound into a super-saturated moment of full orchestral color, a blazing sunrise burning fog off of a river . . . It is glacial, patiently ecstatic, and further evidence that Dessner's vision could support some large-scale works. Whoever wants to commission his first symphony would probably be rewarded with something fantastic.
Pitchfork, Jayson Greene, 3/20/2014

. . . Dessner and Greenwood's atmospheric pieces do complement each other. Dessner's side . . . features gentle guitar from Bryce and brother Aaron, skittering violins and snare-driven crescendos -- in particular, the lovely title track.
Bryan Bierman, Magnet, 4/1/2014

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