AEQUA

AEQUA

14.99 17.99

Artist: International Contemporary Ensemble

Composer: Anna Thorvaldsdottir

Format: 1 CD + 1 Pure Audio Blu-ray

DSL-92227

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AEQUA presents a varied constellation of recent chamber pieces for smaller forces by composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir—ranging from solo piano to string ensemble—orbiting the large ensemble work “Aequilibria.” The album takes the listener on a journey through Thorvaldsdottir's distinctive soundworld, where sounds and nuances are as much part of the meticulously structured tapestry of the music as harmonies and lyrical material. The works are performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, with two works conducted by Steven Schick and a work for solo piano performed by Cory Smythe.

“Internally, I hear sounds and nuances as musical melodies and in my music I weave various textures of sounds together with harmonies and pitched lyrical material. The music is written as an ecosystem of sounds and materials that are carried from one performer—or performers—to the next throughout a progress of a work. As a performer plays a phrase, harmony, texture or a lyrical line it is being delivered to another performer as it transforms and develops, passed on to be carried through until it is passed on again to yet another. All materials continuously grow in and out of each other, growing and transforming throughout the piece.

My music is often inspired in an important way by nature and its many qualities, but I do not strive to describe or literally incorporate elements from nature in my music. To me, the qualities of the music are first and foremost musical—so when I am inspired by a particular element that I perceive in nature, it is because I perceive it as musically interesting. 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.”

—Anna Thorvaldsdottir

 

Anna Thorvaldsdottir
Anna’s music is frequently performed around the world, and has been featured at several major venues and music festivals such as Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, the Leading International Composers series at the Phillips Collection in Washington DC, Big Ears Festival, ISCM World Music Days, Nordic Music Days, Beijing Modern Music Festival, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Her works have been nominated and awarded on many occasions — most notably, Anna is the recipient of the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize, The New York Philharmonic’s Kravis Emerging Composer Award, and Lincoln Center’s Emerging Artist Award and Martin E. Segal Award.

annathorvalds.com

International Contemporary Ensemble
The International Contemporary Ensemble is an artist collective that is transforming the way music is created and experienced. As performer, curator, and educator, ICE explores how new music intersects with communities across the world. The ensemble’s 35 members are featured as soloists, chamber musicians, commissioners, and collaborators with the foremost musical artists of our time.

iceorg.org


Track List

1. Scape 7:44
2. Spectra     9:12
3. Aequilibria     12:22
4. Sequences     6:09
5. Illumine     7:21
6. Reflections     8:25
7. Fields     5:51


Total time: 57:10
Release date: November 16, 2018
UPC: 053479222725


Quotes & Reviews

The 25 Best Classical Music Tracks of 2018
This collection of Thorvaldsdottir chamber works is a tour of vivid sound worlds nimbly navigated by members of the International Contemporary Ensemble. At the album’s heart is “Aequilibria,” a piece with rich contrast and surprising balance between spaciousness—conveyed through airy fifths—and knotty smallness.

Joshua Barone, The New York Times

NPR Music's Best Classical Albums Of 2018
With these vibrant performances by the International Contemporary Ensemble, Thorvaldsdottir once again proves to be among the most distinctive voices today.

Tom Huizenga, NPR

Tempo may be the crucial factor in this instance and throughout the ICE players seem to hit on just the right speeds and pace for each work.

…The opening piano solo Scape (2011), with its Cowell-like sonorities playing directly on the strings (rivetingly rendered here by Cory Smythe), is one such, as is Sequences (2016) – my favourite track, a quartet for the unlikely combination of bass flute, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone and contrabassoon.

Guy Rickards, Gramophone

Mostly, her works are dark meditations that first tap into a sense of melancholy desolation, but then gradually and relentlessly morph into strange, otherworldly structures. You hear that most directly in “Aequilibria” for large chamber ensemble (2014), the biggest work on “Aequa.” A cello drone gives way to busy, distant- sounding string and wind passages; brass writing moves between ominous, sustained tone, textured buzzing and Wagnerian heft, and a mournful alto flute line hovers briefly over a bleak ensemble texture. Shortly before the piece ends, unexpected percussion bursts and delicate piano tracery push the music toward an eerie landscape— a musical equivalent of magical realism.

Allan Kozinn, The Wall Street Journal

The more I hear of Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s music, the more impressed I am. Each piece on this superb disc has something new to say. Spectral and special, her work revels in its conjunctions of the earthy and the ethereal. The International Contemporary Ensemble (under Steven Schick in the pieces requiring larger forces here) clearly know where she is coming from; their dazzling performances provide the best possible advocacy for her singular North Atlantic inspirations.

Richard Hanlon, MusicWeb International

In its own way, each piece on the album feels as though you’re walking through the forest or staring into the depths of the ocean, observing the peaceful and violent ways creatures and plants coexist. The complex interplay of melodies, harmonies, and rhythms as they develop—both working together and clashing—creates a kind of beauty that, like the natural world, is at times unsettling and overwhelming, but endlessly captivating.

Gabriela Tedeschi, Second Inversion

Anna Thorvaldsdottir possesses a uniquely powerful compositional voice that synthesizes ecological processes and structures into cohesive, yet timbrally detailed pieces... Sensitively interpreted by the musicians of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), these works coalesce to form a remarkably engaging musical journey through soundscapes that are, quite simply, breathtaking.

Jacob Kopcienski, I Care If You Listen

★★★★★
Performances are superlative – sensitive, idiomatic and enthralling – and the sonic engineering is wide-ranging and masterful, a crucial element in the success of such an atmospheric album. ICE, conducted in the larger works by Steven Schick, prove ideal advocates, but what stands out front and centre are the works themselves. If you already know Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s work you’ll need no persuading. If not, AEQUA is the perfect place to start.

Clive Paget, Limelight

Aequa is one of the year’s standout new-music albums.

Jonathan Blumhofer, The Arts Fuse

The performances from the members of ICE and Cory Smythe are admirable in the extreme, as each piece is given its own particular character with a sense that the players are profoundly at ease with Thorvaldsdottir's style.

Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill

…music for contemporary deep thinkers…

Chris Spector, Midwest Record

Thorvaldsdottir seems a central aspect of what is happening today. If Iceland has a sound, it is Anna's sound? Probably, yes! An exemplar yet also a joy. Highly recommended.

Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

This collection of Thorvaldsdottir chamber works is a tour of vivid sound worlds nimbly navigated by members of the International Contemporary Ensemble.
— Joshua Barone, The New York Times
With these vibrant performances by the International Contemporary Ensemble, Thorvaldsdottir once again proves to be among the most distinctive voices today.
— Tom Huizenga, NPR
…beautiful hues on the horizon at dusk.
— Winston Cook-Wilson, SPIN
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Performances are superlative—sensitive, idiomatic and enthralling—and the sonic engineering is wide-ranging and masterful, a crucial element in the success of such an atmospheric album.
— Clive Paget, Limelight

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