Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Anna Thorvaldsdottir - Aerial (2014)

Second album from Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir (b. 1977), which saw her sign to Deutsche Grammophon and unleash these six brooding, dynamic pieces in all their eerie glory.  Opening the album is the striking, funereal gloom of Into - Second Self for brass and percussion, followed by the equally unsettling Ró for chamber ensemble.  For all the more accessible, melancholy Icelandic composers who I enjoy - Ólafur Arnalds, the sadly departed Jóhann Jóhannsson - this music is the stark, barren inverse, evoked by the wilderness expanse on the album cover above.

Thorvaldsdottir is currently composer-in-residence for the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, who perform the album's majestic centrepiece Aeriality.  Influences here - I've got lazy brain today, so will just go for Ligeti/Bartok in the strings, and perhaps even two favourites who I really should get back to posting soon, Avram/Dumitrescu - but more subtle and refined.  There's some respite afterwards in Tactility, for percussion and some nicely odd harp sounds, and Trajectories, a piano/electronics piece.  Lastly, Shades Of Silence is performed on baroque instruments, which just makes its droning textures sound even stranger and out of time.  All in all, a magnificent hour of modern composition, and really promising for her future endeavours.

mega / zippy

3 comments:

  1. All new to me but WOW thanks great stuff

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  2. This is a fascinating album, and your comments are very interesting as well — there does seem to be a two-sidedness to contemporary "serious" music from the Nordic countries. Maybe it's always been there. Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing this.

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  3. This is lovely. Thank you! (And yes, please, to the suggestion of more Avram/Dumitrscu!)

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