In the Light of Air

For viola, cello, piano, harp, percussion, fixed electronics & installation
Duration approximately 40 minutes
Written for the International Contemporary Ensemble


In The Light Of Air is a tetralogy of works that together form a structure of a single piece. The four movements, bare the titles Luminance, Serenity, Existence and Remembrance and are connected by short transitions to form a seamless flow throughout the work.

The work streams from one movement to the next through a flowing texture of sound materials and harmonies. The music material is constructed with focus on subtle nuances and poetic textures that form lyrical gestures throughout the work. Melodies are generated just as much by sounds, gestures and nuances as by pitched lyrical material. Parts of the work are constructed around the idea of each performer being a "soloist" in the setting of a chamber ensemble, in the sense that - throughout the work - the performers alternate between traveling through fields of collective instrumental alliances and moving into soloistic approaches.

The piece incorporates a lighting constellation that is a part of the work and is designed in collaboration with ICE. The lights enhance the atmospheric experience during a live performance by visually portraying certain aspects of the performance. The performers directly contribute to the performance of the lighting figures through their breath as well as through their instrumental performance.

For the work Anna has also designed an installation of metallic ornaments that are used in live performance. The installation contributes to the visual atmosphere of the music as well as to the audio experience. The ornaments, called Klakabönd in Icelandic, which translates as “a bind of ice”, are created by Svana Jósepsdóttir.

The piece is written for the International Contemporary Ensemble in 2013/2014. In the Light of Air was premiered by ICE at the Reykjavik Arts Festival on May 25th 2014. The work will be featured at Mostly Mozart Festival in NY on August 19th 2014.

Parts of the fourth movement - Remembrance - insisted on echoing the theme of a song that my husband - Hrafn - wrote and dedicated to me in 2000. I am deeply thankful for this presence in the work.

"Internally I hear sounds and nuances as musical melodies and enjoy weaving various sounds together with harmonies and lyrical material. Structurally I like working with perspectives of details and the unity of the whole and the relationship between the two." - Anna Thorvaldsdottir

Here is a clip from the premiere at the Reykjavik Arts Festival in May 2014. This is the first movement, Luminance

Here is a short video documenting the workshop that took place in March 2013.