Today’s track premiere features Icelandic ensemble Nordic Affect performing Hildur Guðnadóttir‘s Point of Departure from their upcoming album He(a)r. Nordic Affect is Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir, violin and voice; Gudrún Hrund Hardardóttir, viola and voice; Hanna Loftsdóttir, cello and voice; and Gudrún Óskarsdóttir, harpsichord and voice.
Halla says of the album:
He(a)r is an ode to hear, here, hér (the Icelandic word for here) and her. It springs from treasured collaborations with each other and with these composers that have allowed us to “send sound and receive sound,” as Pauline Oliveros says. We now extend it to you, this meditation on embodiment, acoustics, and ecology. An album which rides on the wave of questions that rise and rise–Whose sounds? Whose bodies? Whose voices?
He(a)r features seven world premiere recordings of works by Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir, Anna Thorvaldsdóttir, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, Mirjam Tally, and Hildur Guðnadóttir. Here’s what Hildur had to say about today’s premiere, Point of Departure:
In Point of Departure, I continue to explore the delicate relationship between a person and her instrument, with the addition of the tuning together with other musicians and their voices. The musicians need to play as one instrument. One voice.
He(a)r is out on Sono Luminus Friday, October 26, 2018, and you can pre-order the album here.
About Nordic Affect
Icelandic ensemble Nordic Affect has been hailed as a “multi-disciplinary force of nature” (A Closer Listen), and for its “ineffable synergy between the performers” (San Francisco Classical Voice). Founded in 2005, Nordic Affect was formed by a group of period instrument musicians who were united in their passion for viewing familiar musical forms from a different perspective and for daring to venture into new musical terrain. Believing that music knows no boundaries, Nordic Affect has brought its music-making to contemporary and rock audiences alike. The commissioning and performance of new works is integral to Nordic Affect’s mission as it has, from the group’s inception, combined new compositions with the music of the 17th and 18th centuries. In addition, the group emphasizes educational programming and highlight’s women’s role in music history. In 2013 the ensemble was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize and was named Performer of the Year at the Iceland Music Awards in 2014.
Since their debut album in 2007, Nordic Affect’s performances can be found on the Deutsche Grammophon, Bad Taste Records, Musmap, Brilliant Classics and Sono Luminus labels. He(a)r (out on October 26, 2018) is Nordic Affect’s third release on the Sono Luminus label, following the group’s acclaimed 2017 Raindamage recorded with producer Valgeir Sigurðsson and their 2015 debut Clockworking, which was featured on NPR’s Songs We Love on The New Yorker‘s best-of-year list. In the U.S., Nordic Affect was featured in 2017 on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Reykjavik Festival, and also performed at National Sawdust in New York, Constellation in Chicago, and at the UC Berkeley Art Museum. Nordic Affect is currently in residence at Dark Music Days, Iceland’s leading contemporary festival. The group has been chosen as part of the 2019-20 Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Tours Program.
About Hildur Guðnadóttir
Hildur Guðnadóttir (b. 1982) is an Icelandic composer, cellist, and singer at the forefront of experimental pop and contemporary music (e.g. with the band múm). In her solo works she draws out a broad spectrum of sounds from her instrument, ranging from intimate simplicity to huge soundscapes. Gudnadóttir began playing cello as a child, entered the Reykjavík Music Academy and then moved on to musical studies/composition and new media at the Iceland Academy of the Arts and Universitat der Kunste in Berlin. She has released four critically acclaimed solo albums: Mount A (2006), Without Sinking (2009), Leyfðu Ljósinu (2012) and Saman (2014). Her records have been nominated a number of times for the Icelandic Music Awards. She has composed music for theatre, dance performances and films. The Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, Icelandic National Theatre, Tate Modern, The British Film Institute, The Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm and Gothenburg National Theatre are among the institutions that have commissioned new works from her. She was nominated for the Nordic Music Council Prize as composer of the year 2014. Hildur Guðnadóttir has composed a number of film scores for films such as Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018), Mary Magdalene (2018) and Strong Island (2017). She has performed live and recorded music with Skúli Sverrisson, Jóhann Jóhannsson, múm, Sunn O))), Pan Sonic, Hauschka, Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Sylvian, The Knife, Fever Ray and Throbbing Gristle, among many others.