Stephen Fry releases No. 1 album ‘The Mythos Suite’ with composer Debbie Wiseman

28 February 2020, 16:55 | Updated: 28 February 2020, 17:01

Stephen Fry and Debbie Wiseman OBE
Stephen Fry and Debbie Wiseman OBE. Picture: Decca

Longtime collaborators Fry and Wiseman teamed up to produce a suite of music based on Fry’s Sunday Times Bestseller, ‘Mythos’.

Stephen Fry’s new album, released with Classic FM’s Composer in Residence, Debbie Wiseman OBE, has flown straight to No. 1 in the UK Classical Album Chart.

The recording, titled The Mythos Suite, fuses Fry’s inimitable storytelling with original music from Wiseman.

The project is inspired by Fry’s Sunday Times bestseller, Mythos (2017) – a vivid collection of works retelling ancient Greek myths and legends – and Wiseman has penned the score for a five-track suite showcasing memorable musical themes for Persephone, the Greek goddess of spring; Marsyas, a Phyrygian Satyr who invented the music of the flute; Rhea, goddess of motherhood; and Sisyphus, the king of Ephyra.

The Mythos Suite is out now on Decca Records.

This isn’t the first time Fry and Wiseman have collaborated. In 1997, they worked together on the film Wilde, a film that earned Fry a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Oscar Wilde.

They also teamed up to record a selection of Wilde’s fairytales accompanied by music in Oscar Wilde: Fairy Tales, and for Different Voices (2008), featuring classical crossover singer Hayley Westenra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Read more: How I Wrote... Different Voices – Debbie Wiseman >

Now, this latest project – recorded at Abbey Road Studios – sees Fry narrate Wiseman’s musical vignettes accompanied by 80 musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra.

The idea for the project came about during the launch event for Mythos. Debbie Wiseman says: “Once I’d done some initial sketching, I invited Stephen to come over and listen to my first ideas.

“After that get-together around the piano at my house, infused with Stephen’s enthusiasm for – and enviable knowledge of – the subject, the music just flowed.”

Wiseman continues: “Armed with the audiobook version of Mythos, Stephen’s narration guided me; the composing of the orchestral suites followed his voice as eagerly as the Satyrs followed Apollo.

“It’s been the most memorable and wonderful collaboration with my dear friend Stephen and all at Decca, and I’m so thrilled to have had this opportunity to intertwine these timeless, dramatic Greek myths with musical suites.”

Fry says: “I have known and loved Debbie Wiseman’s music for most of my life – to collaborate with her again has been nothing short of rapture.

“Her music perfectly captures Greek mythology’s juicy and joyous mixture of the elemental and the specific, the noble and the wicked, the ethereal and the earthy.”

The Mythos Suite is out now on Decca Records.

The Mythos Suite
The Mythos Suite. Picture: Decca Records

The Mythos Suite Full Tracklist

1. The Story of Chaos
2. Tempest – The Music of Chaos*
3. The Story of Rhea
4. Hidden Danger – The Music of Rhea*
5. The Story of Persephone
6. Demeter – The Music of Persephone*
7. The Story of Apollo & Marsyas
8. Aegeon Sea – The Music of Apollo & Marsyas*
9. The Story of Sisyphus
10. Voyage of Scyrus – The Music of Sisyphus*

*Instrumental track