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McCarthy, James: Codebreaker. The Alan Turing Story. Vocal Score

Ref: D108 ISMN: 9790220225628 Categories: , , , By:


For soprano solo, SATB chorus and orchestra

Libretto by the composer, with words selected and adapted from various writers

James McCarthy’s acclaimed cantata dramatically recounts key episodes in the story of Alan Turing, the Second World War codebreaker, brilliant mathematician, and ‘father of modern computer science’. In bold musical contrasts of dynamic energy and pathos, the score portrays Turing both as hero and outsider, a gay man of complex inner being inseparable from his genius, yet one who was destroyed by the unforgiving homophobia of his time.

Buy the Vocal score and CD together and get 10% discount off both using Coupon Code “BUNDLE”.

Orchestral material available for rental (full orchestra, ref. HL443, or chamber orchestra, ref. HL443A).

James McCarthy’s Codebreaker dramatically recounts key episodes in the story of Alan Turing, whose work at Bletchley Park decrypting the naval Enigma codes helped save countless lives during the Second World War, and whose legacy endures in our contemporary digital culture transformed by computer science. Turing is recalled as a brilliant mathematician, pioneer and prophet. Above all, in a score conceived in bold contrasts of pathos and dynamic energy, he is remembered as a suffering individual, an outsider destroyed by the unforgiving public prejudice of his time, yet whose complex and sensitive inner being was inseparable from his genius. On the cusp of a twenty-first century revolution in artificial intelligence, the passionate, accessible and visionary music of Codebreaker urges us all to regret past misunderstandings, be vigilant against lingering bigotries, and simply to hold in reverence Turing’s inspiring achievement, while wondering at the cruel betrayal of an ordinary-extraordinary man who was also a profound benefactor to humankind.

Profoundly beautiful, illuminating and touching
Benedict Cumberbatch

Codebreaker is an exceptional achievement on numerous counts … What really hits home is its warmth, compassion and emotional ardour. 
Rob Cowan, Classical Ear

A deeply moving work that showcases the composer’s ability to craft sumptuous melodies and build powerful climaxes
Rosie Pentreath, BBC Music Magazine

Codebreaker was commissioned by Hertfordshire Chorus and has been recorded on Signum Classics (SIGCD495) by Julia Doyle (soprano), Hertfordshire Chorus and the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by David Temple.

An excellent introductory video to Codebreaker was produced by Hertfordshire Chorus, who commissioned the work and gave its premiere in 2014:

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