The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ludovic Morlot will present the first UK performances of CATAMORPHOSIS by Anna Thorvaldsdottir at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, on June 15 and the Aldeburgh Festival, Suffolk, on June 18.
The 20-minute work, winner of the 2021 Ivors Composer Award for Large-Scale Composition, was first performed last year by the Berlin Philharmonic, the Guardian describing it as ‘a single movement of restrained power, a continuum of shifting, colliding layers of sound, which… manage to seem simultaneously massive and delicate’. Composed between 2019 and 2020, the piece takes one of the defining issues of our time as its starting point. Anna Thorvaldsdottir writes:
‘The core inspiration behind CATAMORPHOSIS is 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.’
CATAMORPHOSIS was commissioned by the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker, New York Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Iceland Symphony Orchestra. The work’s North American premiere performances will be given by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Santtu-Matias Rouvali on January 12-14.
Summer/Autumn performance highlights
Among the performances of Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s music taking place in the coming months are the Icelandic premiere of Enigma by Spektral Quartet at Reykjavik Arts Festival on June 19 and AIŌN featuring Iceland Dance Company and the Arctic Philharmonic at the Arctic Arts Festival in Harstad, Norway, on June 25. Thorvaldsdottir's latest orchestral piece, ARCHORA, will be premiered at the BBC Proms on August 11 with further performances taking place in Reykjavik, Klangspuren Schwaz Festival, Munich and Los Angeles during the 22/23 season.
AERIAL album re-release
A newly-remastered edition of 'AERIAL', the 2014 album that helped bring Anna Thorvaldsdottir to wider public attention, has just been re-released on the Sono Luminus label. Thorvaldsdottir’s landmark orchestral work AERIALITY is at the heart of the album, which also features music for percussion and mixed ensemble.