[Cover photo credit to Catharina Gerritsen]
Ellis Ludwig-Leone, composer and creative force behind the collective San Fermin, has announced False We Hope, his first-ever album of concert works. The album, which arrives February 23, 2023 via Better Company Records, features Ludwig-Leone on piano and synthesizer, as well as string accompaniment by the Grammy-winning Attacca Quartet and vocalist Eliza Bagg (Lisel, Roomful of Teeth).
The album is heralded by the single “How to Resurrect a Loved One’s Voice,” and accompanied by an official music video, as well as a live performance video.
False We Hope moves through themes of “hope and loss, connection and isolation”, described as “a prayer book for the nonbeliever”. The album features lyrics by MacArthur recipient and Pulitzer finalist Karen Russell (Swamplandia!) and poet Carey McHugh.
Comprised of two larger works: the song cycle “False We Hope” and the string quartet “Speech after the Removal of the Larynx,” the album’s musical and narrative elements echo back and forth. For Ludwig-Leone, False We Hope is both an expansion and departure from the aesthetic and musical language that launched him as a bandleader since it was written in solitude.
The album is just one of the collaborations between Ludwig-Leone and Karen Russell slated for this year since the two are also gearing up for the release of their opera The Night Falls, which will premiere at PEAK Performances @ Montclair State University and features choreography from Troy Schumacher (New York City Ballet).
Together with his bandmate Allen Tate, Ludwig-Leone is a founding partner of Better Company Records, a Brooklyn-based label with an emphasis on collaboration. Recently, the label released San Fermin’s In This House, a collaborative album that featured contributions from Attacca Quartet, Lisel, Nico Muhly, Sorcha Richardson, Thao, The Districts, Wild Pink, and Wye Oak.