Bára Gísladóttir: VÍDDIR
The works of Bára Gísladóttir (b. 1989) are characterised by a deep and self-reflective calm, at times producing an almost meditative state in the music. Bára Gísladóttir is nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize for her work VÍDDIR (2020) an hour-long work composed for nine flutes, percussion trio, bass guitar and double bass.
VÍDDIR presents a sonic landscape where textures, layers and dimensions are in focus. Bára Gísladóttir has explained about the work: “My main idea behind the work is to create a unison texture between the different instruments.
The Icelandic adjudication committee nominated Bára Gísladóttir and motivates the nomination: “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. In her enthralling large-scale chamber piece VÍDDIR, Bára shapes the sounds and structure of the music in an organic way with focus on textural and timbral progressions through various portals of possibilities of the instruments.”
As a trained double bassist herself, Gísladóttir has performed many of her own works on stage, and this I also the case with VÍDDIR. The work was premiered in 2020 in Grundtvig’s Church in Copenhagen, and Bára Gísladóttir describes the space itself as an important “extra performer” in the work.
Following the premiere, the critic from the Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad wrote: “With trembling pedal points and extreme frequencies as the natural point of departure, the 14 musicians created a burgeoning mystery which took on a physical dimension in the impressive church room, where the flautists were spread out among the audience.”
Learn more about Bára Gísladóttir here >>
Read the score and listen to VÍDDIR here >>
Line Tjørnhøj: enTmenschT
Line Tjørnhøj (b. 1960) has made her mark as a composer who often deals with painful and cruel subjects in powerful vocal works. She is nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize for her work enTmenschT (2018) which was premiered by the vocal ensemble Theatre of Voices and Paul Hillier in 2018.
"I have worked with the full spectrum of the human voice ever since I started writing music, and the scream is completely essential to me. It is my leitmotif," Line Tjørnhøj explains.
Line Tjørnhøj is nominated by the Danish adjudication committee, who writes in their motivation: “ENTMENSCHT was created before the pandemic hit, and before what we never thought would happen in our time took place: War in Europe. It tackles two of the most extreme and expressive artist personalities in the history of art, both from the turn of the 20th century, and it was perhaps exactly there that the foundation of our modern fears had been laid: The fear of destructive inhumanity [...] ENTMENSCHT is a touching and shocking musical work whose themes and expressions are frightfully relevant at this time.“
In enTmenschT, Line Tjørnhøj creates a retrospective look at our own time through the filter of history. History is represented by four people and their unusual and inhumane actions and destinies: The artist Charlotte Salomon and the singing teacher Alfred Wolfsohn, the painter and poet Oskar Kokoschka and composer Alma Mahler. enTmenschT is a musical artwork that also unfolds visually, and it is created in close collaboration with the artist Signe Klejs, the vocal ensemble Theater of Voices and conductor Paul Hillier. Following the premiere in 2018, the critic from the Danish newspaper Politiken wrote: "The screams and moans from the singers made 'Entmenscht' into a concentrated, musical Maggi cube that isn't dissolved into easy, free flowing theatre.”
Learn more about Line Tjørnhøj here >>
Watch a video recording of enTmenschT here >>