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Anna Thorvaldsdottir

Publisher: Chester Music

Chester Music Ltd
Year Composed
13 Minutes
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Programme Note
Anna Thorvaldsdottir AERIALITY (2011)
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  • 14 MAR 2020
    Zeiterion Theater, New Bedford, MA
    New Bedford Symphony Orchestra
    Yaniv Dinur, conductor
  • 02 APR 2021
    Music Hall / Cincinnati, OH / USA
    Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
    Kahchun Wong, conductor

    Other Dates:
    3 April - Music Hall / Cincinnati, OH / USA

Many orchestras have a calling card – for the Iceland Symphony Orchestra that is Aeriality. A convincing abstract piece – a striking study in orchestral textures, with slowly shifting masses of sound that are sometimes enriched with quarter tones, pierced by solo woodwind lines or dissolved into Ligeti-like micropolyphony, before eventually fading away in a unison for the whole orchestra.
Andrew Clements, Guardian ,12/02/2020
There’s a primal, brooding quality to the music which almost seems to holds its breath, waiting for an eruption. Cluster harmonies and a host of percussion effects – bowed cymbals, bass drum “massaged” with brushes – gripped the attention in this enthralling performance.
Mark Pullinger, Bachtrack ,11/02/2020
'Aeriality' is a broad tapestry in which each instrument does its own thing on its own terms, contributing to the swirling stasis of the bigger picture … in this piece we also hear Thorvaldsdóttir expanding her language in the direction of quarter-tones and noise music while pushing the idea of a single monolith to breaking point as her characteristic pedal notes creak under the weight of the machinery they support.
Andrew Mellor, Gramophone,01/01/2019
Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s masterpiece Aeriality had the most magnetic and profound effect of all the music played, inducing a rare, extended silence in the cavernous Royal Festival Hall after its final notes had died away.
Andrew Mellor, Finnish Music Quarterly,05/10/2017
From the sinister first bar through to the glorious dissipation sound into silence at the end, Aeriality is spellbinding, the vast structure of the piece grasping the ear and demanding attention.
Dominic Lowe, Bachtrack,30/09/2017
In Aeriality, sounds bend and warp without rest over the 13-minute composition... The piece asks that the orchestra ride through moments of sweetness and austerity in a spectrum of timbres occasionally reminiscent of a whale’s muted croaks and the growling earth.
Jennifer Gersten, Bachtrack,27/05/2017
Thorvaldsdottir uses the orchestra to create a voluminous cloud of sound that grows, swirls and thins out in a haze shimmering with microtonal dissonances. Metallic percussion instruments add sputters and sparks. Toward the end, the music pools into consonance in a way that viscerally evokes a clearing of the air.
Corinna da Fonseca-Wohlheim, New York Times,21/05/2017
...Thorvaldsdóttir’s score evolves slowly, deliberately, in a constant surge of sound.
Bruce Hodges, New York Classical Review,20/05/2017
Aerality leans on sustained notes, yet its sonorities are so alive with ever-changing instrumental filigree that it simultaneously achieves a state of stasis and of transformation.
Alex Ross, The New Yorker,01/05/2017
It’s a striking piece of music, with a distinct and original style...the warm radiance of the strings a delightful textual contrast to earlier chilliness. Thorvaldsdóttir’s deployment of percussion that is often conversational against the low rumble of the strings is deftly done.
Dominic Lowe, Bachtrack,21/04/2017
This is a big spinning planet of a work that, to echo Whitman, contains multitudes of ideas within itself, pregnant with promise from the opening whipcrack of percussion and major-key chord that keeps reasserting itself as tendrils of other sounds curl off it like smoke.”
Anne Midgette, Washington Post,28/11/2014
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