Anna Thorvaldsdottir ~ Rhízōma

The brightest new composer in the Icelandic music community, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, will remind many of Daniel Bjarnason.  This should come as no surprise, as the exquisitely complex and occasionally atonal “Dreaming” features Bjarnason’s conducting work for the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra.  Rhízōma is modern composition at its very best, a welcome challenge to the ear.  The Icelandic Music Awards honored “Hrim” as the best composition of 2011, and has nominated the newer “Aeriality” (not found on this album) for 2012.  “Hrim” (performed by the Icelandic CAPUT Ensemble), is the best selection here, as it combines the intricacy of slow construction with a swelling symphonic center.  As such, it provides a handhold on an extremely dangerous cliff.  Thorvaldsdottir’s five-part “Hidden”, performed by Justin Dettart on processed piano, is darker and more minimal, like an uncertain branch.  Each piece starts as a stem before sending out roots, which is the very definition of rhizome, but the word could also be used to describe Thorvaldsdottir, an effervescent new presence whose every note sprouts leaves.  (Richard Allen)

Available here


  1. Fred Nolan

    Great eye, Richard, thank you for spotting this one. I love what I’m hearing. And it’s about time we revisited the expression “there’s something in the water.” It seems instead that there’s something in the Ice.

  2. Pingback: Anna Thorvaldsdottir ~ Aerial | a closer listen

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