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The National’s Bryce Dessner Announces New Classical Album

The National’s Bryce Dessner has announced a new classical music album: El Chan is out April 5 (via Deutsche Grammophon). The record consists of three Dessner-composed pieces: Concerto for Two Pianos, Haven, and El Chan. All three pieces are performed, at least in part, by pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque. The second piece, Haven, features the Labèque sisters on piano with Dessner and David Chalmin on guitar. It will premiere on April 7 at the Philharmonie de Paris. (That same night, the Labèque sisters will also debut a new Thom Yorke composition.)

Bryce Dessner arranged the title composition, El Chan, for two pianos, performed by the Labèque sisters. It’s dedicated to director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu and his wife Maria Eladia Hagerman. (Dessner previously contributed to the score for Iñárritu’s The Revenant.) It’s “inspired by the mythical guardian spirit, ‘El Chan,’ of a pool of water nestled in the canyons close to Iñarritu and Hagerman’s hometown of San Miguel de Allende,” according to a press release.

On May 17, the National will release their next album I Am Easy to Find. Read Pitchfork’s Family Matters feature interview “The National Are a Band of Brothers—But Not Like Oasis.”

El Chan:

01 Concerto for Two Pianos: First Movement
02 Concerto for Two Pianos: Second Movement
03 Concerto for Two Pianos: Third Movement
04 Haven
05 El Chan: El Charco del Ingenio
06 El Chan: Points of Light
07 El Chan: Four Winds
08 El Chan: Ballade d’Allende
09 El Chan: Coyote
10 El Chan: Pool of El Chan
11 El Chan: Mountain

Watch Bryce Dessner with the National on Pitchfork’s “Over/Under”:


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