Jonny Greenwood, Suite from There Will Be Blood (2007)
Duration: 16 minutes
Instrumentation: String orchestra and oboe
Premiered by Amsterdam Sinfonietta, under André de Ridder, on June 16, 2012, at Holland Festival, Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher: Faber Music
About the composer:
Jonny Greenwood is best known as the lead guitarist of the band Radiohead, which he joined while still a student. He started to study psychology and music at Oxford Brookes University, but only finished his first term before leaving to sign a six-album deal with EMI, and starting his recording career. Radiohead has realized phenomenal success over the past decade, with multi-platinum album sales and an ever growing worldwide following.
Greenwood is no stranger to classical music, though. His musical interests include Messiaen and Ligeti, and he started out as a viola player. He plays several other instruments too, including piano, recorder and harmonica, and has a particular love for the ondes martenot. To date, Greenwood has penned four “classical” works. Two of these compositions have been licensed to Faber Music: smear (two ondes martenots and ensemble), Popcorn Superhet Receiver (string orchestra), Doghouse (string trio and large orchestra) and 48 Responses to Polymorphia (48 strings).
Commissioned by the British festival FuseLeeds, smear had its premiere there in March 2004 by the London Sinfonietta. In March 2005, Greenwood was featured composer at the South Bank Centre’s cutting-edge Ether Festival, where the revised version of smear was performed by the London Sinfonietta in the Royal Festival Hall, one of its two sold-out concerts there. It was later released on the London Sinfonietta Label as part of its Jerwood Series.
In 2004, Greenwood was named composer-in-residence with the BBC Concert Orchestra. The first fruit of this association was Popcorn Superhet Receiver, a BBC commission, premiered by the BBC Concert Orchestra and Robert Ziegler in April 2005. The piece was inspired by radio static and the extended, dissonant chords of Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki’s Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima. Popcorn Superhet Receiver won the BBC Radio 3 Listeners’ Award at the 2006 British Composer Awards and along with the award, Greenwood received funding from the PRS Foundation toward the commission of a new orchestral work, Doghouse, which was premiered by the BBC Concert Orchestra and Robert Ziegler in February 2010.
Sections of Popcorn Superhet Receiver were later worked into his soundtrack for the Oscar-winning Paul Thomas Anderson film “There Will Be Blood” (2007) — the soundtrack itself controversially declared ineligible for an Oscar because most of the music was not composed specifically for the film. However, Greenwood went on to scoop up best film score honors at the 2007 Evening Standard British Film Awards, and Critics’ Choice Award for best composer from the U.S. Broadcast Film Critics Association.
For more information about Jonny Greenwood, visit fabermusic.com/composers/jonny-greenwood.