Cycle Festival, Iceland will feature a concert of six new works of mine bundled in the title ‘Reflections over Verisimilitude’. The South Iceland Chamber Choir will be singing alongside their own echoes diffused over multiple speakers as if you’re standing in various fictional landscapes. These echoes navigate through space, history and fiction.
The initial concept for this Moving Classics commission was that a choir would be singing live on a breakwater in the sea. Their sounds would reflect back from cliffs and mountains in the far distance over the ocean surface. This idea was inspired by ferry hooting I could hear from my cliff top house every afternoon at half two, the ferry from Fishguard to Rosslare, with echoes reflecting back from cliffs from over 20 miles away. Given the chance, seals are very good at finding the sonic sweet spot where their calls resonate loudest on the steep cliff walls and seagulls know how to make use of natural reverberations with their loud vocalisations, as well.
We adapted the concept to be able to tour it around in venues, moving slightly away from the mad and quite risky initial outdoors idea. Together with film maker Jakob Tekiela we filmed the choir singing on location instead, in two frantic filming days end of June. Twelve members of the South Iceland Chamber Choir drove for three hours to the Snaefellsness peninsula to sing wildlife calls next to a very loud flock of kittiwake gulls at Hellnar and on Djúpalóns Beach …at midnight.
The stunning surrealistic landscapes Jakob has created from the video footage and the soundscapes I’ve edited from the field recordings will accompany the live concert. At times the choir will sing alongside themselves on screen.
‘Djúpalónsdóttir & Hellnarsson’ are the sons and daughters of Verisimilitude, perched on the lush green of rocks and cliffs, calling to each other in our intrinsic mother tongue.
This is one of the first amazing sketches Jakob Tekiela made for the Djúpalónsdóttir & Hellnarsson scenery.
It sounds a bit like this short mock-up example
Lines and dots on paper is how I sketch out my music, to visualise natural textures I hear. These drawings are not necessarily an impression of the landscape I see, they are more of a translation of how I hear it.
When I was in Iceland the mountains were all snowy and I imagined the snow to be white paper, with the darker details to be my music sketches. There are a lot of movements in the scenery, rises and decents, dots and lines. Now the landscape is notating my music literally. I don’t know how I mean this yet.
As per definition of the creature I am, I got totally obsessed one car drive and couldn’t stop shooting pictures. My nice camera wasn’t available, as such I shot on my iPhone – which ended up to be perfect for the job. Crappy photos but perfect sketches.
Day 1 – Tuesday 26.01.2016
MEETING HILMAR, BJÖRG AND THORUNN
Arrived late afternoon in Reykjavik BSI station by plane and then coach, about 16:15, to be picked up by my fabulous hosts Hilmar Örn Agnarsson and Björg Þórhallsdóttir by car to bring me to my AirBnB stay at Fossegata 11. It’s a wonderful apartment with piano. This is the first time I meet Hilmar in person, we’ve been e-mailing and Skyping before. Hilmar is organist and choir director, running …..