Caroline Shaw: Is A Rose - EP

Caroline Shaw: Is A Rose - EP

A distinctive bass-baritone sings raw vignettes with dramatic poise. Then, a soprano relives heartbreak and healing, with lines that swoop across a rhythmic accompaniment. Finally, a tenor arcs over lush strings, bringing lyrical flair to Scottish poetry. These three singers—Davóne Tines, Ella Taylor, and Nicky Spence—are joined by the Philharmonia, conducted by Oliver Zeffman, in this new version of Caroline Shaw’s Is a Rose. The song-cycle is the centerpiece of Classical Pride, a special EP created to celebrate LGBTQ+ composers and musicians. “It’s an incredibly beautiful piece,” Zeffman, who curated the program, tells Apple Music Classical. “These are love songs—ultimately that’s what Pride is about: being allowed to love who you love.” Is a Rose was composed from 2016 to 2019, originally written for mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter. It comprises three distinct pieces: The Edge, based on words by Jacob Polley (sung here by Tines), And So (Taylor), and Red, Red Rose, a setting of a Robert Burns poem (Spence). Shaw’s engaging melodies—following on from Partita for 8 Voices, the 2009 to 2012 work that made her the youngest-ever recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in 2013—benefit from this fresh orchestration, with the variety of voices bringing appropriate multiplicity of style. “We’re a wide-ranging group of performers to show the diversity of Pride,” says Zeffman. Classical Pride also includes a new arrangement of the theme to the second season of The White Lotus, the HBO series that has become a touchstone in gay culture. Taylor is the virtuosic vocalist in a soaring solo part that requires the soprano to ululate on a top B. “We’ve chosen these tracks to show that classical music is an essential part of Pride,” says Zeffman, “it’s not just Kylie and Kim Petras.”

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