Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The Pink Rose
I collaborated with a performance artist friend of mine, Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir, on a new work in Hólavallagarður cemetery in Reykjavík. It was also a piece that, from its inception months ago, almost did a complete turn around from its original idea, changed to something else entirely, almost got canceled, and then surprisingly was reborn close to the original concept! It forced me (in a good way) to be very flexible about form and organization, and try things that I haven't done before.
Several colleagues from my choir at Neskirkja helped me in walking around the cemetery with bells, singing fragments of a song I wrote for them; we came back together and sang the song as a group, and also shared some stories and special moments. It was quite a magical effect; the evening sun even poked through the clouds and onto the trees a couple times. The weather forecast suggested it might snow, but it held off for the evening.
This was my first piece with a more open form for the musicians as they walk around- I had written a piece for Brass Quintet with the players marching a short way, but their music was all written out ahead of time. This piece created more of a mood, an atmosphere. I heard lullabies being sung, folk songs, people chatting intimately, and calling out of the names of people in the graves and on the stones. It was a bit of a thank-you work to the cemetery, as I've walked through it so many times now and find it quite inspiring. And it was a bit like a call to springtime- let's hurry up, Reykjavík, I'm ready for some warmer sun!
This was also the first time I've composed pre-recorded music for the performance, and had multiple CD players playing the different tracks facing different directions. The wind would carry sound snippets through the cemetery, and you'd hear some melodies colliding, and here and there some bell-chimes, and birds in the trees.
Ásdís looked pretty fabulous as well.
Even my microphone got a new outfit. It now has a fuzzy Russian hat to wear to protect it from some the breezes.