Category Archives: Sound Design

Five Star reviews for “A Streetcar Named Desire” at the Young Vic which will be broadcast to cinemas for NT Live on 16th September 2014

Thrilled that the production of A Streetcar Named Desire, on which I was composer, has opened to some brilliant reviews. Directed by Benedict Andrews, and staring Gillian Anderson, the production opened this week at the Young Vic.

Working alongside sound designer Paul Arditi, the music is a mixture of dark jazz, orchestral electronics and moog-infused Polkas (along with an eclectic soundtrack of rock music). I’ll be putting an album of the score up very shortly, which includes the brilliant talents of Mark Kavuma (trumpet), Ruben Fox (saxophone), Giacomo Smith (clarinet), Jason Simpson (upright bass) and myself on piano, hammond, moog and percussion. It was recorded and mixed at my own studio in London.

Set in the round with an almost constantly spinning revolve, reviewers have commented on the raw, visceral quality of the production. Both the Telegraph and the Evening Standard gave five star reviews, with many saying Anderson giving the performance of her career.

With the entire production being sold out in a matter of hours, there is also the exciting news that the play will be broadcast live to cinemas as part of NT Live on 16th September worldwide (with some encore screenings afterwards). For more information click here.

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“A Streetcar Named Desire” at the Young Vic

Pleased to announce I’ll be the composer for A Streetcar Named Desire at the Young Vic in July 2014 directed by Benedict Andrews, staring Gillian Anderson, Vanessa Kirby and Ben Foster. Excited to be collaborating again with sound designer Paul Arditi on the iconic play by Tennessee Williams. Lighting is by Jon Clark and design by Magda Willi.

The show is already sold out (apparently one of the fastest selling shows in the Young Vic’s history) but day seats and returns will be available on the Young Vic’s website here.

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“Fathers and Sons” at the Donmar

Very pleased to have just started rehearsals for Fathers and Sons at the Donmar, directed by Lyndsey Turner (who recently won the Best Director Olivier for “Chimerica”). Written by Brian Friel, and based on the novel by Ivan Turgenev, previews start on the 5th June 2014. I am composer for the production, collaborating with Sound Designer Carolyn Dowling (who also just won an Olivier Award for her work on “Chimerica”). The designer is Rob Howell, and lighting by James Farncombe.

I’ve been collaborating again with brilliant cellist Peter Gregson (who previously performed on my scores to McCullin and Kes as well as numerous others).

For more information about the production, visit the Donmar’s site here.

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Tony Award nomination “Best Sound Design of a Play” for The Cripple of Inishmaan

Overjoyed to have been nominated for a Tony award for my work on the Cripple of Inishmaan which opened at The Cort Theatre, Broadway earlier this month. I was composer and sound designer on the production which was nominated for six Tony’s – including best director (Michael Grandage), best design (Christopher Oram), best lighting (Paule Constable), best actress (Sarah Greene) and best revival of a play. The awards are on 8th June.

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The Cripple of Inishmaan opens on Broadway

Very happy that the production of The Cripple of Inishmaan directed by Michael Grandage has opened at the Cort Theatre on Broadway, New York. Following a sell out run in London’s West End last year I’m thrilled to be working on the production again, which stars Daniel Radcliffe and Sarah Greene (who was nominated for an Olivier for the role).

The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive…

“Set and costume designer Christopher Oram creates vivid images of human life as it’s lived on this limestone rock in the middle of the sea. Hearing the crashing waves and the eerie cries of seabirds and the mournful folk music supplied by composer and sound designer Alex Baranowski, it’s easy to understand how the intolerable loneliness of the place has worked its way into Billy’s bones.” (Variety)

Judging by the reviews, designer Christopher Oram and composer Alex Baranowski could well feature alongside Grandage and Radcliffe when the Tony nominations are announced next week.” (The Guardian)

I’ve already posted snippets of the score after the London run, which also can be heard here -

KES opens at Sheffield Crucible

Very happy that Kes has officially opened at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre to a brilliant response. A dance theatre adaptation directed and choreographed by Jonathan Watkins based on Barry Hines’ celebrated novel A Kestral For A Knave, I wrote and produced the hour and a half score.

The reviews have already been coming in -

“Alex Baranowski’s impressive score marries rippling, Nyman-esque piano figures with a keening, locally sourced flugelhorn…” (The Guardian) ****

“This unique production hits every note near-perfectly, bringing together an insistent and compelling new musical score, ravishing movement, puppetry and top notch performances to create a really special and fast-moving experience – even for those who turned up expecting a more traditional telling of this classic tale.” (Independent) ****

“The movements of the characters echo the freedom-constraint dichotomy of the environment.. the long-arcing strings and pizzicato percussive sounds of composer Alex Baranowski’s score play with the same elongation-punch counterpoint” (Observer) ****

“Makes your heart soar” (The Telegraph) ****

I’ll be putting some musical snippets up of the music very shortly, and I’m planning to release some of the music in the future. Feel free to join my mailing list here to be notified of its release and to receive the odd free music track.

Chester Hayes in Kes

“Kes” dance theatre piece at Sheffield Crucible

I’m presently deep into writing and rehearsals for Kes which is premiering at the Sheffield Crucible from 27th March to 5th April 2014. A mixture of dance, puppetry, physical theatre and of course music (an hour and a half of it), the production is directed and choreographed by Jonathan Watkins (who I previously collaborated with at the Royal Opera House for Ballet Black).

A re-imagining of Barry Hines’ celebrated book A Kestrel for a Knave the production tells the story of Billy Casper, a boy shaped by the contrasting worlds of an industrial working class Barnsley.. and the natural landscape around him.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the Sheffield Crucible’s website here.

Once the show is opened, I’ll be putting a selection of the soundtrack up here on my website and to download from iTunes. To keep up to date with the release and the odd music freebie, feel free to join my email list here (it won’t be passed on to anyone, ever).

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The Cripple of Inishmaan transfers to Broadway staring Daniel Radcliffe

Thrilled that the five star production of The Cripple of Inishmaan, written by Martin McDonagh and directed by Michael Grandage (on which I was composer & sound designer at the Noel Coward Theatre summer 2013), will be transferring to the Cort Theatre, New York in April 2013.

The production stars Daniel Radcliffe as Billy, with set and costume design by Christopher Oram and lighting design by Paule Constable.

Previews begin on 12th April with a strictly limited run until 20th July.

To find out more visit the Michael Grandage Company website here or to buy tickets click here.

Here’s a snippet of Ben Brantley’s raving review in the New York Times about the original production;

“Inishmaan” feels completely organic. Designed by Christopher Oram, Mr. Grandage’s frequent collaborator, the show has a heightened picturesqueness that is equally cozy and bleak, echoed in Alex Baranowski’s lonely penny-whistle music.

(which you can hear on my Listen page, by the way..)

Pat Shortt and Daniel Radcliffe in The Cripple of Inishmaan, Noel Coward, London

Soundtrack for The EL Train

Just before Christmas I took The EL Train band and choir to record some of the music from the five star reviewed production (showing at Hoxton Hall Dec 2013 directed by Sam Yates and Ruth Wilson).

Available just to listen online for the moment, the tracks will be available to download in the coming weeks.

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VOCALS Nicola Hughes
PIANO / MD Adam Sopp
TRUMPET Mark Kavuma
DRUMS Billy Stookes
UPRIGHT BASS Jason Simpson
TROMBONE Christian Edwards
ALTO SAX Zubin Varla

THE EL CHOIR Simon Coombs, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Christian Edwards, Adam Sopp, Ony Uhiara, Zubin Varla, Ruth Wilson

Produced and mixed by Alex Baranowski

Recorded at Strongroom, London

The El Train opens at Hoxton Hall

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Very pleased that the The El Train opened this week at Hoxton Hall to some wonderful five star reviews. I’ve written music and created the sound design for the collection of three one act Eugene O’Neil plays directed by Sam Yates and Ruth Wilson – Before Breakfast, The Web and The Dreamy Kid. Ruth Wilson (who has two Olivier awards including last year’s best actress for Anna Christie) also stars in two of the plays.

The score features a live seven-piece jazz band led by vocalist Nicola Hughes linking each of the three plays.

The reviews so far have been fantastic, with the Telegraph writing -

..the staging is bleakly beautiful, the original score by Alex Baranowski sensational, the performances brutally truthful.” ****

Michael Billington in the Guardian -

..a spellbinding 90-minute evening… the atmospheric power of Alex Baranowski’s prefatory jazz music and the resonant singing of Nicola Hughes, who sombrely tells us that “death is slow, death is sure” ****

And Kate Kellaway in the Observer -

The joint is jumping.. to the ecstatic sound of virtuoso jazz trumpeter Mark Kavuma and company. The magnificent Nicola Hughes – velvet-voiced – seals each play with a song… a pitch-perfect sense of O’Neill’s prose and of theatrical sound: the thunder of train and storm.” *****

The show is running up until the end of December at Hoxton Hall. For more information and to book tickets, go to the El Train website here.

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