Featuring Music by Icelandic Composers Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Hildur Gudnadóttir, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, Hafdís Bjarnadóttir, and Thurídur Jónsdóttir
New York, NY – Sono Luminus announces the July 31, 2015 worldwide release of Icelandic ensemble Nordic Affect’s debut album on the label, Clockworking, featuring the music of five Icelandic women composers – Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Hildur Gudnadóttir, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, Hafdís Bjarnadóttir, and Thurídur Jónsdóttir. The album was recorded by Georg Magnússon at The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, with mastering and post-production by Valgeir Sigurdsson.
This week, Headphone Commute is featuring the exclusive premiere of the video for the title track, Clockworking by María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, well known for her work with Icelandic band amiina. Watch now at http://bit.ly/HCVideoPremiere.
Clockworking represents collaboration, connection, and passionately fierce creativity. As put by Nordic Affect’s artistic director and violinist Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir: “Clockworking, inhaling, exhaling; through music we immerse ourselves in creativity. We find moments of community and of individuality as we shape sounds from gut and wood. We encounter new spaces and interact with technology, which in turn affects how we play. We meet listeners with whom we connect and at times it feels as though we’re breathing as one.” At the core of each of Nordic Affect’s commissions on this album was the desire to explore the possibilities of their instruments (violin, viola, cello, and harpsichord) within a 21st century aesthetic while at the same time creating their own.
Hailed for its “affectionate explorations” (BBC Music Magazine) and “commitment to their repertoire” (Classical Music), Nordic Affect is Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir, violin and artistic director; Gudrún Hrund Hardardóttir, viola; Hanna Loftsdóttir, cello; and Guðrún Óskarsdóttir, harpsichord. The ensemble was formed by a group of period-instrument musicians who are united in their passion for viewing familiar musical forms from a different perspective, and for daring to venture into new musical terrain. Since the group’s inception in 2005, Nordic Affect has played repertoire ranging from the dance music of the 17th century to electronic compositions of today.
The album’s title track, Clockworking for violin, viola, cello and electronics, is by María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir. The piece was written for Nordic Affect and premiered at Iceland Airwaves in 2013.
2 circles for solo violin was written for for Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir by Hildur Gudnadóttir in 2013. The piece is a part of an ongoing observation of the relationship between a musician and her instrument, in which one person becomes two sound sources.
From beacon to beacon for violin, viola, cello and electronics by Hafdís Bjarnadóttir is a “conversation” between two lighthouses. The trio plays notation based on a weather forecast for the Gardskagaviti lighthouse. Electronic sounds were recorded outside the Gardskagaviti lighthouse in wintertime and inside the Galtarviti lighthouse in mid-summer. The piece reflects the vagaries of the Icelandic weather – storms have a beauty of their own that can bring calmness despite howling winds and unruly seas.
INNI - musica da camera for violin and electronics was written for Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir by Thurídur Jónsdóttir in 2013. The subtle and fragile harmonics of the baroque violin interact with a soundscape made of an infant's murmur, with an old lullaby woven into the texture.
Shades of Silence for violin, viola, cello and harpsichord was written for Nordic Affect by Anna Thorvaldsdottir in 2012. The work explores the subtle nuances of silence.
Sleeping Pendulum for violin and electronics was written for Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir by María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir in the winter months of 2010. The electronic part is based on a recording of Halla’s baroque violin playing combined with bell chimes. The solo part fluctuates between free writing and a stricter style. The work was shortlisted in 2012 at the International Rostrum of Composers.
About Nordic Affect: Nordic Affect can be heard on the Deutsche Grammophon (Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Aerial), Bad Taste Records, Musmap, and Brilliant Classics labels and has received glowing reviews in the international press alongside the Kraumur Award and Iceland Music Awards. Since its debut in 2005, Nordic Affect has performed to critical acclaim at festivals such as TRANSIT festival (BE), Dark Music Days (IS), November Music (NL), BRQ Vantaa Festival (FI), Skálholt Summer Concerts (IS), Copenhagen Renaissance Festival (DK) and Iceland Airwaves (IS). Its members have individually performed and recorded with Jóhann Jóhannsson, The English Concert, Concerto Copenhagen, Anima Eterna Brugge, Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, and Björk. In 2013, Nordic Affect was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize and in 2014 was named Performer of the Year at the Iceland Music Awards.