History freely dilates and collapses on Valgeir Sigurðsson’s Dissonance, his first solo release since 2012. Its three large-scale works are haunted by the old Western tradition, infused with the ethereal workings of electronics and sound manipulation.Dissonance treads elegantly along a fine line between traditional symphonic organicism and the fissures of the faltering structures of reality. It takes forward Sigurðsson’s typically expansive, panoramic writing, and elevates it to a perpetual construction and deconstruction of time and space.
These are hardly his first experiments with the archaic technology of classical instruments, but here the distance between past and present is precisely what the music itself is designed to explore, and to distort.
Recorded and produced between September 2015 and November 2016 at Greenhouse Studios, Dissonance is disarmingly human, reflecting the most extreme four years of Sigurðsson’s life full of ecstatic joy and deep sorrow. Dissonance is a personal and collective musical treatise to explore and question a world that is collapsing under its internal dissonances.
The recording process on Dissonance incorporates an orchestral recording technique that Sigurðsson has been developing for some years now, where he breaks up the orchestra and records each of its sections separately. Layer after layer he records performances by collaborators Liam Byrne and Reykjavík Sinfonia. A handful of string players and just one of each of the orchestra’s instruments are then multiplied to create an imaginary orchestra. This method enables Sigurðsson’s complete control over all the details and nuances, and the trade-off for the time-consuming process is a truly unique sounding ensemble that is at the composer’s disposal for further electronic manipulation. This also results in an elastic palette of sound for the live performance version of Dissonance which Sigurðsson will take to the stage in 2017, alongside Liam Byrne (on strings) and visuals created by the Antivj collective.
released April 21, 2017
Written by Valgeir Sigurðsson
Dissonance arranged by Liam Byrne and Valgeir Sigurðsson (after W.A. Mozart)
Additional production and electronics on * by Paul Corley
Liam Byrne played the manifold Viola da Gamba on Dissonance
Electronics by Valgeir Sigurðsson
No Nights Dark Enough & Eighteen Hundred & Seventy-five Performed by Reykjavík Sinfonia:
Flute, Piccalo Flute: Melkorka Ólafsdóttir
Oboe: Daði Kolbeinsson
Clarinet & Bass Clarinet: Rúnar Óskarsson
Bassoon: Michael Kaularts
Trumpet: Guðmundur Hafsteinsson
French Horn: Stefán Jón Bernharðsson
Trombone: Sigurður Þorbergsson
Tuba: Ron Nimrod
1st violin: Ari Þór Vilhjálmsson
2nd violin: Pálína Árnadóttir
Viola: Þórunn Ósk Marínósdóttir
Cello: Sigurður Bjarki Gunnarsson
Contrabass: Borgar Magnason
Harp: Katie Buckley
Percussion: Frank Aarnik
Piano: Tinna Þorsteinsdóttir
Produced, Mixed & Mastered by Valgeir Sigurðsson
Engineered by Paul Evans and Valgeir Sigurðsson
Edited by Paul Evans
Executed at Greenhouse Studios, Reykjavík
Photography: Brendan Canty & Colm O’ Herlihy,
Graphic design by Francis Redman
No Nights Dark Enough commissioned by Spitalfields Festival, London. First performance by City of London Sinfonia & Hugh Brunt 2014
This recording contains a portion of the work.
Eighteen Hundred & Seventy-five commissioned by Winnipeg New Music Festival. First performance given by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra & Alexander Mickelthwate 2013
The all hearing advisory board; Paul Corley, Liam Byrne, Paul Evans, Ben Frost, Nico Muhly.
Thank you, Bedroom Community & Greenhouse teams, & every single intern, past and present.
Robin Rimbaud, everyone at Spitalfields Festival, everyone at New Music Festival Winnipeg,
Published by Faber Music Publishing Ltd.
This is a Bedroom Community record.
℗&© 2017 Bedroom Community