HALL Emily, I am happy living simply & the end of the ending

Emily Hall

Emily Hall is a composer, known first and foremost for her songwriting.


Much of Emily Hall’s music is formed from close creative relationships with singers, instrumentalists and writers and finding her own ways of using technology and live performance.


She has written for the BBC Singers, Manchester Collective, London Sinfonietta, LSO, LCO, BBC NOW, the Brodsky Quartet, Opera North, LCO, Mahogany Opera, Hungarian Radio Choir, Aldeburgh Music, Streetwise Opera.


Emily has written 5 operas, none of which are traditional in form and many, many songs, including a trilogy of song cycles with author Toby Litt, on love (“Befalling”), motherhood (“Life Cycle”) and death (“Rest”).


Her music has been recorded by a multitude of artists including the BBC Singers, LSO, Allan Clayton, Olivia Chaney, Lady Maisery, The Hermes Experiment, Juice Vocal Ensemble and Onyx Brass.

Emily Hall is the recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists, the Genesis Opera Prize, the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Award and the Corinthia AIR.


Emily Hall is a member of Bedroom Community, the Icelandic record label and is signed to Manners Mcdade publishing.


© www.emilyhall.co.uk


I am happy living simply (2017)

The end of the ending (2017)

Emily Hall’s two songs I am happy living simply and The end of the ending (2017) set fragments of text by Marina Tsvetaeva (1892– 1941), a Russian poet renowned for both her creative and political daring. Tsvetaeva’s poems are deceptively simple and Hall’s artful settings in turn capture something of their ambivalence. I am happy living simply is at first an uncomplicated celebration of dwelling in the present, as conveyed by the buoyant tick-tock of the harp and a sweetly lilting melody in the voice. A more feverish energy begins to creep into the song, however, as repetitions of the text grow more hectic amid flashes of dissonance. As Hall describes it, Tsvetaeva’s injunction to live ‘simply’ can only be achieved by ‘regimenting ourselves into simplification … sacrificing the beauty of chaos which ultimately is impossible to keep out’. Time weighs more heavily in The end of the ending with harp and double bass meting out a solemn pulse beneath the plaintive vocal line. Only the clarinet offers something like consolation in its ascending scale at the song’s close.


© Kate Wakeling (written for the Hermes Experiment’s album Here we are)


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