PRICE: $15.50
IN STOCK
ARTIST
TITLE
Processions
FORMAT
CD

LABEL
CATALOG #
HVALUR 007CD HVALUR 007CD
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
2/16/2010

This is the debut full-length release for Icelandic composer and conductor Daníel Bjarnason for Bedroom Community. "Blurring the line between electronic and chamber music -- a familiar style for the Icelandic Bedroom Community collective -- the constructions of this recording's emotional triggers are wholly unique. In Daníel Bjarnason's Processions, the composer marshals all the technical forces at his disposal to accomplish a musical goal rather than an ideological statement. Daníel Bjarnason is 'the other classical composer' on our label, a throne he now shares with the omnipresent Nico Muhly. Daníel and Nico may both conjure their magic and craft via black dots on manuscript paper and swinging of the arms & upper-body, but their music is as fundamentally different from each other's as it is from that of Ben Frost or Sam Amidon. If anything else connects it -- apart from allowing me to cast my own spell on it -- it is that it is all brand-new; taking nothing as given while being fully informed of the past and the possibilities of now." --Valgeir Sigurðsson, Reykjavík 2009; "Bow To String," composed for multi-tracked cello, was written for Sæunn Þorsteinsdóttir. This is a piece that not only evokes feelings of tension or tenderness, it dares to signal them. The unapologetically, relentlessly direct harmonic progression grounding "Sorrow Conquers Happiness" and the melody singing out in the concluding "Air To Breath" lay themselves bare, inviting the audience into the score by demonstrating an awareness of emotion without crossing over into irony. The violently percussive performance techniques, the moments of ghostly timbre or asynchronous attack, are not there as commentary on the piece's emotional vocabulary, but as an extension thereof. "Processions," Bjarnason's second concerto written for pianist Víkingur Ólafsson, performs a similar balancing act of self-consciousness versus earnest appeal in both its genre and harmonies. True to the archetype of the concerto form, "Processions" begins with an extravagant statement; a statement Bjarnason takes to new heights in his thunderous exposition "In Medias Res." Its subsequent development recalls a traditional Slavic concerto, remarkable for its virtuosic elements and deeply earnest melodies. The propulsive rhythms of the last movement ("Red-Handed"), like the syncopations in "Bow To String," project a certain quasi-primitive energy reminiscent of electronic or rock music. "Skelja," a darker, more introspective score for harp and percussion, in a sense suggests what might remain behind if the comforts of form and more overt forms of expression were somehow extracted from "Bow To String" and "Processions." The dense texture of the electronic cello choir and the massed resources of the orchestra are replaced with the strict economy of a plucked and e-bowed harp. But even here, glimpsed in the harp's obscurity and the percussion's subtle halos of color, the style of the composer, now introverted, persists.