Fantasy of Companionship
The Fantasy of Companionship for Piano and Orchestra (abbrev. Fantasy) conceived of by co-creators Susan Lim and Christina Teenz Tan, is about a partnership of human and inanimate, and tells the story of ALAN. It is inspired by a future of companionship with new breeds of companions, intelligent inanimates and embodied AI systems.
In November 2018, Manu Martin, Bordeaux, France, was commissioned as Composer, Arranger and Orchestrator of the Fantasy, drawing inspiration from 15 original ALAN songs composed for ALAN the Musical. The composers of these 15 songs are Joi Barua, Ron J Danziger and Matthieu Eymard.
The Fantasy was recorded at Abbey Rd Studio One on 19th November 2019, with a 78-piece London Symphony Orchestra featuring Tedd Joselson, renowned solo pianist, Conductor Arthur Fagen, music director of the Atlanta Opera, a 36-member choral ensemble of London Voices, and a Solo Voice for the last ACT.
Belgian-American Pianist Tedd Joselson was only 17 when he auditioned in 1973 for the Philadelphia Orchestra’s music director, Eugene Ormandy, after which the famous conductor remarked “Anything you want, you can play with us”. He was offered a recording contract by RCA whilst still a student at Juilliard and made a number of critically acclaimed recordings. He is noted for his lyrical playing across a wide range of repertoire.
Conductor Arthur Fagen, music director of the Atlanta Opera since 2010, is a regular guest at prestigious opera houses, concert halls and music festivals around the world, and currently Professor of orchestral conducting at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, USA.
Composer, Arranger and Orchestrator Manu Martin graduated at the age of 16 from the Conservatory of Bordeaux with a jury ‘Special Mention’. He then joined the Faculty of Musicology of Toulouse and Bordeaux, where he completed a Masters in Musicology. He moved to Paris to pursue a career as a pianist and composer, composing music for television and radio. Martin has worked alongside acclaimed French artists and most recently composed six of the tracks from Florent Pagny’s chart-topping album ‘Aime La Vie’.
The three composers, with their diverse backgrounds, have brought to the Fantasy their own distinctive styles.:
JOI BARUA, musician from Assam India composed, among others, the original dramatic and sweeping songs New World Order and Teleportation, which inspired tracks 15 and 21 of the Fantasy, along with the theme ALAN song (track 3);
RON J DANZIGER composed the playful and imaginative opener to ALAN the Musical, Life on the Shelf, which inspired track 6 of the Fantasy, along with the more youthful songs, Off to College (track 9), Evil Professor (track 16) and Boy Scientist (track 18), and a timeless number which inspired track 10.
MATTHIEU EYMARD composed, among others, the romantic Companion friend which inspired the beautiful, eloquent sounds of strings in track 8.
Composer, Arranger, Orchestrator Manu Martin: “The opportunity to work alongside Creative Directors Susan Lim and Christina Teenz, to share their vision for a future of companionship, and to compose the Fantasy with their guidance has been the most extraordinary and uplifting experience of a lifetime for me.“
Creator Susan Lim: “In November 2018, I commissioned Manu Martin to compose a Fantasy conveying hope for the future of companionship between an inanimate and a human; a Fantasy that would, through the sheer brilliance of pianist Tedd Joselson and the London Symphony Orchestra, unfold and explain the journey of a soul from wild to captive, from animate to inanimate and with the addition of electric sounds, to herald the inanimate’s bold futuristic step into a new world order of synthetic biology, AI and robotics, climaxing through solo voices and a chorus in the most heartfelt plea of the inanimate for a shared existence with its human partner, an entanglement of souls, a human-inanimate partnership, the future of companionship“.
Pianist Tedd Joselson: “Based on a remarkable story of companionship in the age of technology in ‘ALAN the Musical’ and with the guidance of its genius creator, Dr Susan Lim and the young star composer, Manu Martin, the ‘Fantasy of Companionship for Piano and Orchestra has been co-created – a truly magnificent addition to the realm of piano concerto repertoire. The Fantasy is based on original music from the ‘ALAN the musical, which in addition to the glorious piano and orchestral writing also prominently features an electric guitar, solo voices and chorus, a masterstroke of creative ingenuity, which I am truly delighted and honoured to lead as solo pianist”.
The recording was released on 23rd April 2021