Last month, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood premiered his latest orchestral piece, “Doghouse,” at the Maida Vale studios as the BBC Concert Orchestra’s Composer-in-Association. On Friday, the piece finally aired on BBC 3, and will be streaming online for a week here. Sprawled across five movements, “Doghouse” begins with a simple melody that builds into a dissonant wall of sound. In a short interview that precedes the piece, Greenwood explained the childhood origins of the title:
A lot of the music is quite symmetrical and I was once told when I was a kid that the way to remember where D was on a piano is its a dog living in a house, and everything seemed to be falling in around there. That’s one of the reasons, anyway.
This certainly isn’t Greenwood’s first foray in modern classical music. “Popcorn Superhet Receiver,” a piece he had written for the BBC, premiered in 2006 and eventually informed his critically-lauded score for There Will Be Blood. Greenwood and conductor Robert Zeigler revealed that “Doghouse” will also play a role on the silver screen, as part of the score for Anh Hung Tran’s film Norwegian Wood, an adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s best-selling novel.
It will be interesting to see how “Doghouse” fits into the film. Murakami’s novel begins with a protagonist hearing an orchestral version of the Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood,” a musical theme that weaves through the story. The melodies in “Doghouse,” on the other hand, sound a whole lot darker.