In Focus: Anna Thorvaldsdottir – Chamber Works
We’re delighted to have Anna in Manchester for this special event and tonight, she chats to Radio 3’s Elizabeth Alker about her life and work, followed by performances of her chamber music by RNCM students.
Anna Thorvaldsdottir Transitions for cello solo
Clara Hope Simpson cello
Anna Thorvaldsdottir Sequences for wind quartet
Matthew Jones bass flute
Robyn Saunders bass clarinet
Daniel Gribbin baritone saxophone
Bia Carvalho contrabassoon
Xinjie Yang conductor
Heléna Walsh Squirming in River Head for string quartet and electronics
Blair Taylor, Chris Newton violins
Conrad Ihering viola
James Young cello
Anna Thorvaldsdottir Hvolf for soprano and piano
Emily Brown Gibson soprano
Evi Wang piano
Eve Vickers Saxophone Quartet
Martha Cullen soprano saxophone
Ellen Pointon alto saxophone
Daniel Gribbin tenor saxophone
Ben Jackson baritone saxophone
Anna Thorvaldsdottir Rain for soprano, flute, guitar and electronics
Emily Brown Gibson soprano
Matthew Jones flute, bass flute
Ravi Nathwani guitar
Transitions (2014) for cello solo
Transitions was commissioned by cellist Michael Nicolas, who suggested the work’s theme of ‘man and machine’. These characteristics are embodied by the solo cello in sharply contrasting musical material. As its title suggests, the piece focuses on the transition between these states and the blurring between them.
Sequences (2013) for wind quartet
This piece for bass flute, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone and contrabassoon was written for International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) for the ICEcommons Project and the New York Public Library and first performed in 2013 at Kaldalón Hall, Harpa Centre, Reykjavik. In her preface to the score, Thorvaldsdottir writes to the performers: “with tranquillity and expressive pulsation”.
Squirming in River Head (Heléna Walsh)
This short piece for string quartet and electronics guides you through a snippet of a larger landscape.
Short pieces of string have been tied around specific strings on the instruments, and the electronics feature electronic organ sounds.
Programme note by Heléna Walsh
Hvolf (2009) for soprano and piano
me! útbreiddan faðm
© Sigurbjörg ƥrastardóttir
a friendly tree
on a limestone wall
Night choir under oath
shivering harp string
© Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir
from Blálogaland (Land of Blue Flames)
Translated from the Icelandic by Sarah Brownsberger
Saxophone Quartet (Eve Vickers)
This is a piece concerned with relationships of time. Rapid strings of double tongued notes emphasise the idiosyncracies between the different performers, and these too are contrasted with statements of more regular rhythmic language. The sense of temporality across the piece shifts accordingly with the balance between air and pitch. Soon, the two temporal are drawn together into a new system; a constant feedback loop of acceleration that gradually drains the energy from the piece.
Programme note by Eve Vickers
Rain (2010) for soprano, flute, guitar and electronics
Rain was first performed at the Skálholt Summer Concerts in Iceland in 2010 by Tiffany DuMouchelle (soprano), Berglind María Tómasdóttir (flute) and Pablo Gómez Cano (guitar). Rather than using a text, the vocal part is formed from vowel sounds intended to communicate on a purely musical level beyond language.