(Photo by Seàn Antleys) Claire M Singer Unveils First of Three Albums: ‘Saor’ – Released 3 November 2023 via Touch
(Photo by Seàn Antleys) Here’s a treat for those who appreciate a more ‘organic’ ambient sound. Claire M Singer has unveiled details of the first instalment in a series of three albums, drawing inspiration from the lofty peaks of her native Scotland. The first in this series is titled “Saor” (which translates to “Free” from Scottish Gaelic). It showcases Claire’s pioneering use of the pipe organ, delving into rich harmonies and intricate overtones. The nine-track album, “Saor”, will launch on 3 November 2023 through the Touch label, available both as a CD and digitally.
Claire commented, “‘Saor’ weaves two tales: my journey across the Cairngorm mountains in Aberdeenshire, through its granite plateaux, corries, glens, and straths, and my exploration of the 1872 organ crafted by Peter Conacher & Co., Huddersfield at Forgue Kirk Aberdeenshire, the resting place of many of my forebears.”
A significant portion of the album originated in Claire’s birth county, at Forgue Kirk in Aberdeenshire. Claire adss, “During my residency at Forgue, I had this uncanny alignment of stars moment – I stumbled upon a gravestone being restored in the pews, which belonged to Peter Forsyth, one of my ancestors.”
The recording took place at Orgelpark, Amsterdam, a renowned global concert hall for organ enthusiasts. Here, she used five layered instruments spanning four centuries. Besides the organ, Claire has also incorporated the cello, mellotron, and harmonium into her album, with the addition of strings (by Patsy Reid), trumpet (by Brian Shook), clarinets (by Yann Ghiro), and French horn (by Andy Saunders).
An excerpt from “Cairn Toul” can be heard below.
Over the last decade, Claire has held the esteemed position of music director for the 1877 ‘Father’ Henry Willis organ at the globally renowned Union Chapel. This is one of several organs highlighted in her album. Historically, she has actively encouraged contemporaries to adopt a more experimental approach to organ composition and was also the brains behind the Organ Reframed festival in 2016. This festival saw contributions from the likes of Chris Watson, Éliane Radigue, Low, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Philip Jeck, Craig Armstrong, Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie, and numerous others.
For the past 10 years, Claire has been the music director of the 1877 ‘Father’ Henry Willis organ at the world-famous Union Chapel, one of several organs that feature on the album. In the past she already was encouraging peers to write for the organ experimentally, and also curated the Organ Reframed festival in 2016. That festival commissioned Chris Watson, Éliane Radigue, Low, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Philip Jeck, Craig Armstrong, Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie and many more.
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