CATAMORPHOSIS, the latest orchestral composition by Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir will be premiered by the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Kirill Petrenko on January 29th 8pm (MET) at Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall. This 20-minute work has been commissioned by the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker, New York Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Iceland Symphony Orchestra.
CATAMORPHOSIS is a meditation on the fragile relationship we have to our planet. The aura of the piece is characterized by the orbiting vortex of emotions and the intensity that comes with the fact that if things do not change it is going to be too late, risking utter destruction – catastrophe. The core of the work revolves around a distinct sense of urgency, driven by the shift and pull between various polar forces – power and fragility, hope and despair, preservation and destruction.
For Anna Thorvaldsdottir, “it was inevitably quite surreal to be working on such a large piece at the same time as performances were continuously being postponed and cancelled, especially for larger ensembles and orchestras”. She goes on to explain, “I had started to write the piece well before the pandemic so the instrumentation and the core energy and structure for the piece was already in place and I am quite thankful for this as it might otherwise have affected for example the instrumentation, as I might have been tempted to reduce the size of the orchestra given all the restrictions that were in place”.
Thorvaldsdottir’s “boundless textural imagination” (NY Times) and “extraordinary and captivating” (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) sound world has made her “one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary music” (NPR). “Never less than fascinating” (Gramophone), her music is written as an ecosystem of sounds and is composed as much by sounds and nuances as by harmonies and lyrical material.
The world premiere of CATAMORPHOSIS will be followed by the German premiere of Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s 2019 composition Entropic Arrows at Schwere Reiter, Munich performed by Ensemble risonanze erranti on February 9th.
Learn more about CATAMORPHOSIS in this Q&A with Anna Thorvaldsdottir.