Recorded over two days at Steve Winwood's studios in the hills of the Cotswolds, UK. Written for the Giffords Circus adaptation of War and Peace. Music composed and conducted by Sarah Llewellyn.
'The composition for this album started with a power-cut in my home in Finchley, London. Throughout the day I sat at the piano and wrote. Undisturbed by any phone or internet, I continued into the night as darkness and candlelight brought me closer to the world of War and Peace and early 19th century Russia. It was then that the main themes began to take shape.
The long process of writing for a circus project such as this has involved immersing myself in the extraordinary world of Tolstoy's War and Peace, research into 200 years of Russian music and discovering 'circus' in the music of composers such as Shostakovich. Other key references for me have been Stravinsky and Sondheim.
Writing for circus requires many hours watching the acts over and over in order to structure the music to work with and celebrate their artistry. Following an intense two days in the recording studio these dynamic musicians featured on this album went on to perform over 200 live shows during the summer of 2011. One of the key factors in writing for the Giffords Circus band is to write music that is both challenging and enjoyable to play and to be able to write specifically for the individuals within the ensemble. The music is written for, developed with and inspired by these talented, energetic and committed players and I feel privileged to have worked with them. Thanks to my collaborators on this project; Kit Hesketh-Harvey for the lyrics, James Keay - Band Leader, Karen Hutt - Creative assistant, Claire-Rose Barbier for her work on the music and lyrics of Moscou Deserte.' Llewellyn
The Band: James Keay - Band leader- Piano, percussion, voice
Francesca Simmons- Violin, musical saw, Soprano sax, voice
Claire Barbier- Vocal leader- voice, percussion, piano
Jean Goubert- Alto saxophone,banjo, drums, voice
Beth Sohofield- Tenor sax, flute, piccolo,recorder, clarinet, voice
Louise Marsland- Baritone & alto sax, clarinet, flute, voice
Jannah Warlow- Violin, tenor sax, voice
Penny Callow- Cello, flute
Sam Alty- Guitar, double bass, trombone, voice
Gemma Fuller-Trumpet, voice,percussion
Valentine Châtelet- Trumpet, voice
Céline Biewesch- Euphonium, percussion, voice
David Insua-Cao - Principle percussion, voice
Natalia Demjen - Violin
Christine Bottine - Voice, percussion
Katie Collier, Freddie Machin, John Walton, David Hibling, Mark Davies, Maia Keeling, Elizabeth Rice, Tweedy, Bibi Tesfarmarium, Tamerlan Tsoraev, Willow Digweed, Pat & Kate Bradford