Death and the Maiden
Bold programming and thrilling performances are what mark out 12 Ensemble. Performing without a conductor, the dynamic 12-piece string orchestra brings together new commissions, arrangements from across the genres, and classical masterpieces in an unexpected blend. Tavener’s choral hit “The Lamb” acquires a rich warmth in the composer’s own rarely heard orchestral version, before the ensemble’s own arrangement of Schubert’s string quartet Death and the Maiden that heightens the work’s claustrophobic intensity and emotional tension. In Honey Siren, commissioned by 12 Ensemble, Oliver Leith conjures comfort and sweetness out of the most unlikely sounds: the emergency siren, 12 Ensemble gliding and swooping against a beautifully textured chordal backdrop. Sigur Rós’ “Fljótavík” sets the sun gently on this inspired release.