Line Tjørnhøj: enTmenschT
Line Tjørnhøj has made her mark as a composer who often deals with painful and cruel subjects in strong vocal works. She is nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize for the work enTmenschT (2018) with the following words from the jury: ”enTmenschT is a touching and shocking musical work whose themes and expressions are frightfully relevant at this time.”
In enTmenschT, Tjørnhøj uses the filter of history to create a restrospective look at our own time. History is represented by four human destinies from the time around the two world wars: Artist Charlotte Salomon and singing teacher Alfred Wolfsohn, painter and poet Oskar Kokoschka and composer Almer Mahler. The subject of the work tackles the foundation, on which "our modern fears had been laid: The fear of destructive inhumanity", wrote the jury.
Line Tjørnhøj works with the full spectrum of the human voice and enTmenschT is created in close collaboration with the conductor Paul Hillier and the singers in Theatre of Voices, who sing, squeal, sigh, groan and scream the inhumanity out. Soprano Else Torp describes working with the piece:
”enTmenschT is of another world. At times inhumanely difficult to sing and to listen to. Alienating. But performed by voices, gates to the human essence, which open up the strange and makes it near […] At times the music borders on madness, but with openings through the madness into a world of new meaning.”
Theatre of Voices has recorded enTmenschT, which will be released on Dacapo Records in the spring 2023. You can already now listen to an extract of the work here.
Bára Gísladóttir: VÍDDIR
Bára Gísladóttir is nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize for VÍDDIR (2020) written for nine flutes, percussion, bass guitar and double bass.
VÍDDIR is an unbroken hour in length, again and again returning to its own dark light. The work opens with the five bass flautists screaming, ‘as strong as possible’, into their instruments. From the first sounds it is clear that VÍDDIR – "dimensions" in Icelandic – is a black night of a piece.
The Icelandic adjudication committee nominated Bára Gísladóttir with the following words: “Her highly creative and uncompromising works project personal and distinctive textural narratives which, as she notes, are based on thoughts regarding the approach and concepts of sound as a living being.”
An active double bassist, Bára Gísladóttir has performed several of her own works, including VÍDDIR. The work was premiered in 2020 in Grundtvig's Church, Copenhagen, and Gísladóttir has stated that the church with the vast acoustic was central to the work's conception.
On Friday 28 October VÍDDIR will be released by Dacapo Records as a digital album in a live recording from the festival Dark Music Days Reykjavik.