Featuring Danielle de Niese, Nicola Benedetti and Nigel Hitchcock and Released on Decca

Golden Globe-nominated composer Brian Byrne has written a love letter for the last great walled city in Ireland. Tales From the Walled City is a complete symphonic suite with eight short movements, written from the point of view of the Great Walls of Derry. Featuring The RTÉ Concert Orchestra, violinist Nicola Benedetti and soprano Danielle de Niese, Tales From the Walled City is due to be released by Decca on November 9th

The work was a gift from Brian to the City of Derry in 2008, in celebration of its jazz and big band festival, but while his original intention was to write a four-minute jazz piece, his creative journey took him on a different path and resulted in a fully symphonic suite of eight short movements, some containing no jazz elements whatsoever. Byrne explains, ‘If the Walls could somehow speak, they would have witnessed incredible stories and music over their long and sometimes troubled history.’ The movement titles capture a flavour of the piece: If the Walls Could Speak, Gossip at Tillie’s, The Cannon Speak, Children Play Outside St Columb’s Cathedral, A City Divided, A Love Divided, The Port of Derry and A City at Peace.

Complementing The Derry Suite, the three others pieces on the album have their own individual stories, and stand in musical contrast to heavier orchestrations of the suite. Each features a star performer as soloist with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra: soprano Danielle de Niese, saxophonist Nigel Hitchcock and violinist Nicola Benedetti. Shall I Compare Thee, featuring Danielle de Niese, is based on William Shakespeare’s Sonnet No. 18, while Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra features a more modern sound, with Nigel Hitchcock.

Lament for the Fallen, with Nicola Benedetti, is perhaps the most personal piece on the album. Brian Byrne wanted to end the album with something simple, heartfelt and close to home, and this Lament had two inspirations. The first is that Ryan Tubridy asked him to write a piece in commemoration of the Irish Famine. The second is the recent loss of Brian’s father Jim Byrne, his biggest musical influence, biggest critic and biggest fan, to whom the album is dedicated.

This year continues to be an incredibly successful one for Navan native Brian Byrne, rewarding his move to Los Angeles in 2003 to develop his career. His music for Albert Nobbs has just won two awards at the highly prestigious World Soundtrack Awards 2012, the results of which were announced at the closing night of Ghent International Film Festival on October 20th. Recorded with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the sound track has also earned him a Golden Globe nomination and a Satellite Award for Best Original Song (Lay Your Head Down, lyrics Glenn Close, performed by Sinead O’Connor) and won him his second IFTA Award for Original Score.

Adding further to the momentum, the new Barbra Streisand album features a song that Brian wrote, arranged and conducted with song-writing legends Alan and Marilyn Bergman, and his score to Orlando Bloom film The Good Doctor has won praise from The Hollywood Reporter and Variety for its subtlety and romanticism. He is also currently engaged in writing the music for the new show from the Producers of Riverdance, entitled Heartbeat of Home.

The album Tales from the Walled City continues Brian Byrne’s long and fruitful association with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, as composer, arranger and conductor. As well as numerous successful live performances together, other recordings include Byrne’s The Island and his arrangement of the Late Late Show theme in 2009, when Ryan Tubridy took over as host. In the liner notes for this album, he thanks ‘the wonderful musicians and friends that make up the incredibly versatile and talented RTÉ Concert Orchestra’.

Brian Byrne has collaborated with such international luminaries as Bono, Barbra Streisand, Katy Perry, Lisa Stansfield, Van Morrison, The Corrs, Sinead O’Connor, Alan & Marilyn Bergman, Ronan Tynan, Luis Miguel, Vince Gill and Gladys Knight, to name a few. He did an orchestral arrangement of Katy Perry’s Fireworks for the Australian Grammys, toured with Diane Warren, arranged a song for Sex and the City 2 and played piano on Liza Minnelli’s cover of Beyoncé’s Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It). His two Irish Film and Television Awards are for his scores to sci-fi comedy Zonad and Albert Nobbs.