New Music Premiere:
Words: Steve Smith
Image: Shervin Lainez
Via e-mail, Thorsteinsdóttir described the composition and her connection to it:
As a performer, much of my attention is focused outward, looking to express something to an audience, but Þuríður Jónsdóttir’s “48 Images of the Moon” turns its focus inward. Set in the middle of the Westfjords in Iceland, it is an intimate meditation, an aural snapshot of rich internal life, accompanied by surrounding nature. In this piece, the cello breathes steadily, with endless variation, an emptying of the conscious mind, a focus on our most fundamental survival mechanism and incidentally reacting to the natural sounds of the setting. To achieve this cello-breath, Þuríður uses the bow to make unpitched sounds, such as vertically scraping the string, or brushing in circular motions, so that a pitch might get caught for a second but gets swept away by the whirlwind of white noise. The team at Sono Luminus captured these sounds brilliantly, putting the listener inside my cello and giving us a glimpse into this distinctive moment of stillness.
The piece, Thorsteinsdóttir adds, includes field recordings made by Magnús Bergsson, recorded at night close to Holtstangi in Önundarfjörður, Iceland.
You can read complete details about Vernacular on the Sono Luminus website. And be sure to check Thorsteinsdóttir’s own website for details of upcoming recitals in Seattle and Chicago marking the album’s release.