Duration 14 min.
Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic Society with the generous support of The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music.
METACOSMOS was premiered in Lincoln Center's Geffen Hall by the New York Philharmonic April 4th 2018, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen.
"[Salonen] conducted the radiant premiere of a richly atmospheric piece by the Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir. ... I was captivated by the intricacy of the sounds and colors. Ms. Thorvaldsdottir did indeed take us on a dark journey, episodic yet clear. ... During a few wistful moments, short melodic phrases in a natural minor scale sigh atop mellow harmonies. These seemingly conventional passages actually came across as reflective stops on the promised odyssey through chaos and beauty. ... At Geffen Hall, “Metacosmos” was the highlight." - Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times April 6th 2018
"For a memorable night at the New York Philharmonic, there’s nothing like a spectacular world premiere or a dazzling debut. Exceptionally, Wednesday’s concert led by Esa-Pekka Salonen had both. ... Opening the program, Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Metacosmos made a powerful impression in its debut performance, evoking an enormous vista of space and time in a 12-minute span with broad, artfully blended strokes of orchestral color. ... Listening to [Thorvaldsdottir's] piece, one couldn’t help thinking of the saying attributed to the scientist J.B.S Haldane, that the Universe is not only stranger than we suppose, it is stranger than we can suppose." David Wright, New York Classical Review April 5th 2018
"Written for a large orchestra and taking full advantage of various timbral colorings, Metacosmos is an eerie, atmospheric piece... Cues in this musical tapestry, superbly laid out by Salonen, are almost seamlessly passed from one group of instruments to another. Growing tensions between strings, winds and percussion take the listener on a voyage imbued with amazement but also angst. At points, one has the impression of vistas without borders. Elsewhere, huge, unknown beings, heavily breathing, seem to be very close. Bursts of spiraling energy alternate with moments of supreme calm. ... In Metacosmos, Thorvaldsdóttir proves again to be an artist of deep originality." - Edward Sava-Segal, Bachtrack April 6th 2018
Metacosmos is constructed around the natural balance between beauty and chaos — how elements can come together in (seemingly) utter chaos to create a unified, structured whole. The idea and inspiration behind the piece is the speculative metaphor of falling into a black hole – the unknown – with endless constellations and layers of opposing forces connecting and communicating with each other, expanding and contracting, projecting a struggle for power as the different sources pull on you and you realize that you are being drawn into a force that is beyond your control.
The piece is in one movement and is approximately 14 minutes in duration.
A two-minute clip from rehearsal with the New York Philharmonic (April 3rd 2018)