He's one of classical music’s most important composers - and on the eve of his 80th birthday, we got to ask him what he thinks about the state of classical music in 2016.
Classic FM presenter Alexander Armstrong will sing and play oboe on the follow up to his no.1 debut album, ‘a 16-track modern symphony’.
Armstrong, who was a choir boy at Durham Cathedral and choral scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge, stormed the classical chart in 2015 with ‘A Year of Songs’, his first solo album.
His new record, to be released on 28 October 2016, is called ‘Upon a Different Shore’, and is described by Armstrong’s label East West Records / Warner Music as “a 16-track modern symphony enriched with breathtaking composition and arrangements that make Ralph Vaughan Williams and Stephen Sondheim work seamlessly with songs originally by Pink Floyd and Sting, to name just a few”.
Among the traditional folk songs and classical compositions by Vaughn Williams and cellist Caroline Dale are two that feature oboe performed by Alexander Armstrong.
Armstrong had not played his oboe in nearly 30 years, only taking it up again last April.
“I am beyond excited by this album,” he told Classic FM. “I can’t go very long without having to listen to it again.”
Describing the eclectic selection of pieces on the recording, he said: “We wanted to find arrangements that would be witty, that would throw new light on pieces the we know well.”
Listen to Alexander Armstrong describing his new album below:
Alexander Armstrong tells Classic FM about his new album, Upon a Different Shore
The Classic FM presenter and TV host will perform oboe (as well as sing) on his second album
Full tracklisting for ‘Upon a Different Shore’
1. Upon A Different Shore (Traditional)
2. MacArthur Park (Jimmy Webb)
3. The Vagabond (Vaughn Williams)
4. Long Ago Forgotten (Caroline Dale)
5. Fields Of Gold (Sting)
6. Studies In English Folksong #2 (Vaughan Williams)
7. Scarborough Fair / Canticle (Trad arr. Paul Simon)
8. Golden Brown (The Stranglers)
9. Firestone (Kygo)
10. Sunday (Sondheim)
11. Between The Sunset And The Sea (Caroline Dale)
12. Without A Song (Youmans/Rose/Eliscu)
13. The Day Thou Gavest (Ellerton/Scholefield)
14. Hymn Song (Peter Skellern)
15. High Hopes (Gilmour/Samson)
16. The Parting Glass (Armstrong’s Goodnight) (Trad.)
‘Upon A Different Shore’ is released on 28 October on East West Records / Warner Music.