“Without Me”: To start, we have an arpeggiated riff making some jazzy tetrads: E♭m to G♭add9 and D♭ to A♭m7, and then watch out at the end of the bridge when they sneak in a C♭m. The first two choruses extend from eight to twelve bars by repeating their second halves, which I think creates a kind of pang of abandonment at the end of the song when the repetition doesn’t come back. Another thing about these choruses is how their stanzas all begin and end in the middle of the bars. Most lyrics begin and end near the bar line, so when we hear lyrics phrased all off-center like this, we can’t tell whether we’re being rushed or being left behind. Do I smell a songwriter’s homework assignment?
In fitting with the other composers on this list, British composer Anna Clyne has a list of awards and prizes that seem almost unachievable at her age! Some of those include a Grammy Award nomination in 2015 for her work Prince of Clouds, the Hindemith Prize in 2016, the Charles Ives Prize, and awards from ASCAP and SEAMUS, and, well, the list goes on. A student of the incredible Julia Wolfe, Clyne moved from the UK to New York City to continue her studies at the Manhattan School of Music with Wolfe and others. Drawing her influence from a wide range of creative mediums including art, theater, and contemporary dance, Clyne has been described as having an “uncommon gift and unusual methods.” Through her broad experiences and interests, Clyne has carved a truly fascinating and individual place in the world of contemporary classical music.
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