Eight winning entries – encompassing everything from a capella to classic pop – have been recorded at Abbey Road by a team including senior engineer Jonathan Allen and conductor Eric Whitacre, writes David Davies.
Launched at the start of 2011, the Worldwide Anthem Competition was devised to celebrate Abbey Road Studios’ 80th anniversary and was open to composers of all ages, background and experience levels across the globe. For the winners, there was the tantalising prospect of having their composition recorded for posterity with the London Symphony Orchestra in Studio One.
A grand total of 918 entries was ultimately whittled down by an expert judging panel (composer/conductor Eric Whitacre, conductor Harry Christophers, composer George Fenton and producer/composer Rob Mathes) to eight winning selections: Daniel Brinsmead – ‘Come Sleep’ (Australia), Daniel Elder – ‘The Heart’s Reflection’ (New Jersey, USA), Tina Andersson – ‘The Angel’ (Gothenburg, Sweden), Zhangyi Chen – ‘Ariadne’s Love’ (Baltimore, USA), Oliver Chapman & Will Clapson – ‘Made of Ghosts’ (Cambridge, UK), Steven Jackson – ‘So Alive, So Clear’ (Manchester, UK). Stephen Lindsay – ‘A Million Stars’ (Australia) and Cyrus Almonde – ‘Thank You Eternally’ (Guernsey).
The compositions were recorded under the supervision of composer/conductor Eric Whitacre, with an engineering team that included Abbey Road senior engineer Jonathan Allen.
“Having an orchestra and choir available to the composers meant the scale of the music-making had few limits,” said Allen. “The winning compositions reflect this diversity and ambition – from the delicate string and vocal textures of Zhangyi Chen’s ‘Ariadne’s Love’ to the haunting and powerful ‘Made of Ghosts’, written and performed by the band Jack in Water.”
The composers queued up to pay tribute to the expertise and professionalism of the studio staff, with Steven Lindsay noting that it has been “a terrific experience to work with people of the calibre of the Abbey Road Studios engineers and staff”.
The Anthem Competition recordings will be available free via www.abbeyroad.com from 28 November 2011.