The universe is making music all the time

Whatever You Love You Are: Emily Hall

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Earlier this year marked the release of ‘Folie à Deux’, a highly ambitious concept album detailing a modern-day relationship of love and loneliness by the award-winning British composer Emily Hall. Commissioned by Mahogany Opera Group, the album’s lyrics were written by long-term Björk collaborator Sjón, while the album was released by world-renowned Iceland independent Bedroom Community. ‘Folie à Deux’ was written for two singers – Swedish vocalist Sofia Jernberg and British tenor Allan Clayton – while a specially created electro-magnetic harp was also made for the recordings. Emily Hall studied composition at York University and the Royal College of Music, London. She has written for many different ensembles and orchestras including the London Sinfonietta, LSO, BBCNOW, the Brodsky Quartet, Opera North, LCO, Hungarian Radio Choir.

Words: Emily Hall

emilyhall_Kate Benjamin and Rob Orchard


Grisey: Partiels

I couldn’t believe my ears and my eyes when I first heard this. Grisey deconstructed sound then reconstructed it with a live orchestra to this insanely beautiful effect. I took a lot from Grisey for a long while and it’s stayed with me.

Owen Pallet: Heartland

Here’s a great concept album which can be appreciated on so many levels and which has a narrative you have to work to discover (in a good way). It was definitely a reference when I decided to create my own opera/concept album in Folie.

Dido and Aeneus: When I am laid in earth: Henry Purcell

The harmony of the suspended vocal line against the strings in this aria is probably perfect. I love the zoomed in and heightened emotional state he creates.

Tracey Emin: words

I see Tracey Emin as a benchmark for honesty in art – the transparency of her art and words has a direct hit for me which I always aspire to.


Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande

I saw this in my early 20s and it had a massive impact on me. It has a really distinct dreamy atmosphere and a good production will fold you into Debissy’s dreamy world and keep you there. I think it is the kind of opera that can only be felt live.

Olivia Chaney

Voices are always a major inspiration for me. Here’s Olivia Chaney one of my favourite singers and someone I’ve had the pleasure to write for.




‘Folie à Deux’ is available now on Bedroom Community.

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