The light will return. This is the promise of Eydís Evensen, epitomized in the early videos for “Anna’s Theme” and “Tephra Horizon” ~ the first reflecting inner light, the second outer light. Iceland is a dark place in the winter, its landscape lending itself well to symbolism. As the world tilts back toward the sun, so might we, and by extension, our society. If the harsh winters amplify our appreciation of spring, so might hard times lead to resolve.
In the opening “Anna’s Theme,” the pianist sits at a church piano, playing reverently and alone. One has the sense that she has already found her inner light – her expression tranquil and serene. The final note is allowed a natural decay. Surprising for an Evensen album, but not for the album itself, is the subsequent piece, written for the Schola Cantorum Reykjavicensis and containing the lines “a beautiful light that froze / the beautiful light still survives.” The choir spreads shimmers of light across the sonic field like dawn beams on snow. By “17.03.22,” the strings are involved, the continuation of a slow reveal and further evidence that the young composer is growing exponentially in talent.
One of the album’s subthemes is that light is available, even when not apparent. “Disturbance,” a reset of sorts, hints at the idea of darkness as a cyclical force. The art of “Tephra Horizon” suggests that those in darkness may create their own light, harnessing the power of lava. The sun sets, and another orb arises, twirled in the arms of Evensen. The album circles back again from solo piano to triumphant accompaniment. When the cycle repeats a third time, starting with “Fragility,” the distance traveled is shorter, suggesting that those who live through one period of darkness may emerge swifter from the next. After coming “Full Circle,” Evensen shares a surprisingly natural singing voice, framing “Dreaming of Light” as a lullaby of hope.
“Resolution” is the culmination of all that has come before. To hear so many instruments back in play is to recall the ebullience of spring, the hope that follows despair, the dream of light fulfilled. (Richard Allen)