An ode to suburbia (a chamber symphony in 2 movements)

Caput Ensemble

November 2nd in Breiðholtskirkja the Caput Ensemble premiered my new piece Stífluhringurinn.

The Caput woodwing section: Þórunn Björnsdóttir bass recorder, Steinunn Vala Pálsdóttir Alto Flute, Guðni Franzson on Clarinet and all the way on the right, Emil Friðfinnsson, French Horn.

The piece works with screen scores or animated notation, as does most of my work. It is rhythm without pulse or music without measure. Lines such as glissando lines, are never straight, everything is always on the move. There are microtones in a sort of counterpoint. Harmonicas, banjo, mandolin, recorder, steel string guitars, harpsichord and electronics are blended in with the expected brass, strings and woodwinds of a more conventional chamber music or sinfonietta setting.

In the above video we can hear a moment in the middle of the first movement recorded in dress rehearsal in Breiðholtskirkja

The Caput string section keeping up with the big screen. Hildigunnur Halldórsdóttir, Herdís Anna and Sigurður Halldórsson.

The piece comes in 2 parts 1. Arabakki and 2. Klettabær. A piece by Lars Graugard was sandwiched in between them in the program, thereby encapsulating the event into one thing. Stífluhringurinn is a total of 35 minutes for 13 instruments and electronics.

Steef van Oosterhout owning it in Stifluhringurinn

In the below excerpt we see a moment from the dress rehearsal from the beginning of the first movement.

The piece takes its name from local lore. The Dam Circle – a path in a river valley between two Reykjavík Suburbs. It is a place where bikes, horses, geese, ducks, ponies and people walking by meet in an in between area. Once you cross the bridge on the dam you see the other side of the river.

Banjo seen in concert for the first time in the 30 + year history of the Caput Ensemble.

I’ve been working on the piece for one and a half year or so. I worked closely with members of the Caput Ensemble which I greatly admire and respect, as I’ve been attending their concerts since I was a teenager (last century). It was a joy working with them. This is the third project I do with them and they were kind enough to let me paint on an enormous canvas this time. The photos and videos were done by my dear wife Katelin Parsons

The composer of suburbia