Following an exclusive preview at Amado’s San Francisco on December 7, 2016 — attended by adoring supporters from across the United States — Gretchen Menn is now releasing her new conceptual work, Abandon All Hope, world wide.
With music by Menn, imagery by Max Crace, and a libretto by Guitar Player Editor-in-Chief Michael Molenda, Abandon All Hope is not just another guitar-instrumental album from a talented guitarist. This visionary and cinematic project is based on Dante Alighieri’s epic 14th-century poem, Inferno, and it tasked Menn with undertaking a rewarding, yet grueling study of classical orchestration to fully realize the album’s 15 pieces.
“Abandon All Hope marks a significant evolution for me as a composer, as well as guitar player,” says Menn, who produced the album along with Italian composer/guitarist Daniele Gottardo. “I immersed myself in a deep study of composition and orchestration. I poured over scores of Stravinsky, Beethoven, Mozart, and Debussy. I listened to Kate Bush, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin. I took elements from classical, romantic, and 20th-century composition, and I combined them with the visceral energy and backbone of rock and progressive music. I also wanted to fully incorporate the guitar into the ensemble, merge it with classical instruments, and keep it as an essential character without marginalizing the other instruments. And, above all, I wanted to be true to the concept, and create a work that felt like an epic journey through the underworld.”
Recording for the project took place in San Francisco (Get Reel Productions, engineered by Robert Preston) and Rovigo, Italy (New Frontiers Recording Studio, engineered by Ugo Bolzoni). Some of the featured guest performers include Menn’s sister, Kirsten Menn (soprano vocals, organ, keyboards), Daniele Gottardo (bass), Thomas Perry (drums and percussion), Salome Scheidegger (piano), and Glauco Bertagnin (first violin).
Menn, who plays guitar in the popular Led Zeppelin tribute band Zepparella, released her debut instrumental album, Hale Souls, in 2011.
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