The National’s Bryce Dessner and Kronos Quartet to Release Aheym
The National guitarist Bryce Dessner will make his recorded debut as composer with Aheym. Slated for release on November 5 via Anti- Records, the album finds Dessner collaborating with Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet, who are currently celebrating their 40th anniversary season.
Aheym features four original compositions by Dessner performed by Kronos as well as an appearance by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Dessner and the quartet first crossed paths when Kronos founder David Harrington approached The National member about writing a piece for the quartet’s performance at the Celebrate Brooklyn! festival at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park in 2009. The ensuing piece, “Aheym” (meaning “homeward” in Yiddish), was informed by the stories of Dessner’s Jewish immigrant grandparents who settled near the park and, as the pair’s collaboration grew, became the album’s title track.
Aheym also includes a performance dedicated to Laurence Neff, Kronos Quartet’s lighting designer of 25 years (“Tenebre”); a composition influenced by obscure Czech viola da gamba performers Irena and Vojtěch Havel (“Little Blue Something”); and “Tour Eiffel,” a setting of a poem by Chilean poet Vicente Huidobro that was originally commissioned by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus (which perform the track on Aheym alongside Kronos Quartet) at the suggestion of Dessner’s close friend, composer Nico Muhly.
The classical ensemble recently performed with The National and Paul McCartney at San Francisco’s Outside Lands. Bob Weir also joined The National and Kronos Quartet for a song.
Here’s a look at the album’s tracks
2. Little Blue Something
4. Tour Eiffel