Our Song of the Day is from Dear Reader who earlier this year released her critically acclaimed ‘Rivonia‘ an album of stories, histories and anecdotes that were all inspired by and dealing with the country she was born and raised in – South Africa.
The imagery and pictures her exuberant storytelling evoked were rich and vivid, despite the often-bleak realities depicted. When Potsdam-based radio Station Radio Eins offered up the opportunity to perform the songs of ‘Rivonia’ with the added dramatic texture of an entire symphonic orchestra, it felt only logical. The songs are musical miniature movies and the Film Orchestra of Babelsberg specialises in recording film scores. Music for the big screen. A marriage made in heaven.
The result is ‘We Followed Every Sound’ from which our Song of the Day is taken: Cruelty On Beauty On (Live With Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg)
Under the careful guidance of conductor Bernd Wefelmayer and his orchestra, and by way of the creative orchestra arrangements of dramaturge Max Knoth, the songs in question, already magical in their own right climb to new heights of scintillating warmth and intensity. The vocal performances of the band members on this magical evening, Cherilyn MacNeil, Emma Greenfield, Caoimhe McAlister and Sam Vance-Law are impeccable, and the entire Dear Reader band plays with the verve and confidence of a well-oiled road machine. Excited by the accompanying orchestra, thrilled by the possibilities of their own music, it is simply a joy to listen to. And it is only the icing on the cake that it is not only the songs of Rivonia they are revisiting with this expanded configuration, but that they also tackle classic Dear Reader stand-out tracks from previous albums, such as ‘Great White Bear’, ‘Dearheart’ or ‘Idealistic Animals’.
At times troubling and at times deeply moving, the music of Dear Reader is known for raising more questions than answers, and it achieves this within the context of a collection of magical, dramatic, heartfelt songs. The power of the German Film Orchestra only extenuates this to create an album that is quite frankly immense in it’s force.
Out 9 December 2013 on City Slang