Lim Fantasy of Companionship for Piano and Orchestra
Tedd Joselson (piano); London Voices; London Symphony Orchestra/Arthur Fagen
Signum Classics SIGCD 670 32:36 mins
This rather baffling collaboration was sparked, unusually, by a conference paper on AI given by the surgeon Susan Lim. Lim’s presentation imagined a world of ‘artificially intelligent companions’ and culminated in a musical duet with a hologram named ALAN. Inspired by the apparent success of this idea, Lim commissioned a full musical from composers Joi Barua, Ron J Danziger and Matthieu Eymard (with Lim credited as co-lyricist), exploring the journey of ALAN from ‘inanimate’ to becoming a ‘plush inanimate baby lion with a soul’. ALAN: The Musical remains ‘in development’ however, so this disc instead comprises a Fantasy for solo piano, orchestra and voices which strings with material from the musical, newly arranged and orchestrated by Manu Martin.
- We named London Symphony Orchestra one of the best orchestras in the world
It’s hard not to view The Lim Fantasy of Companionship as something of a vanity project. The score itself is a schmaltzy Disney-esque affair that is agreeable enough in sound (and is well-performed by the LSO) but also touches on some deeply uncomfortable sentiments in its movement titles, including a heavy-handed reference to ‘Tribal Bushman’. It’s hard to say quite who this disc is for, but perhaps ALAN: The Musical will one day rise to power and make sense of this otherwise curious release.