In Focus: Anna Thorvaldsdottir – RNCM New Ensemble

Matthew Martin Refract for ensemble*
Anna Thorvaldsdottir Spectra for string trio^
Anna Thorvaldsdottir Entropic Arrows for ensemble
Anna Thorvaldsdottir Aequilibria for ensemble

Mark Heron, Phil Trudgeon* conductors
Nathan Fenwick violin^
Susanna Ward viola^
Neil Sild cello^

RNCM New Ensemble:

Daniel Jacob-Ormson flute/alto flute
Robyn Saunders bass clarinet
Beatriz Carvalho bassoon
Tom Hutchison French horn
Ross McDonnell trombone
Tom Hall percussion
Evi Wang piano
Nathan Fenwick, Dylan Edge violin
Susanna Ward viola
Neil Sild cello
Marcus de Oliveira F da Silva double bass


Refract (Matthew Martin)

As a white light enters a new material, it both changes direction and disperses into a spectrum of colour, a process known as refraction. The material that makes up this piece is put through a similar process, expanding into colourful collisions of sounds as it enters new sonic territories. This piece is of two characters, therefore; slower, restrained material that refracts into these vivid bursts. On a larger scale, the material itself is dispersed by the process, and as time goes on, the harmonic colour of the piece becomes clearer and clearer.

Spectra (2017) for string trio

Spectra was commissioned by the NJORD New Nordic Music Biennale in Copenhagen, Denmark and premiered there by members of the Copenhagen Piano Quartet in 2018. The piece is in six short movements that are performed in a seamless flow from one to the next.

Entropic Arrows (2019) for mixed ensemble

Entropic Arrows was commissioned by the New European Ensemble and first performed by them as part of a portrait concert in the Hague in March 2020.

Aequilibria (2014) for mixed ensemble

When I take inspiration from nature in my music it is not something I am trying to describe through the music – to me, the qualities of the music are first and foremost musical. When I am inspired by a particular element or quality, it is because I perceive it as musically interesting, and the qualities I tend to be inspired by are often structural, like proportion and flow, as well as relationships of balance between details within a larger structure, and how to move in perspective between the two — the details and the unity of the whole. In the case of Aequilibria, this piece was inspired by various states of balancing forces – the natural breath between expansion and contraction, and the perspectives of translucence and opacity.

Aequilibria programme note by Anna Thorvaldsdottir