Anatomy of Sound Song Circus

Cover Anatomy of Sound

Album info



Label: 2L

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Modern Composition

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)


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  • 1Landscape with Figures, scene 101:37
  • 2Landscape with Figures, scene 204:16
  • 3Landscape with Figures, scene 302:18
  • 4Landscape with Figures, scene 403:55
  • 5Landscape with Figures, scene 502:35
  • 6Landscape with Figures, scene 609:47
  • 7Landscape with Figures, scene 702:32
  • 8Landscape with Figures, scene 803:24
  • 9Landscape with Figures, scene 902:09
  • 10Landscape with Figures, scene 1002:14
  • 11Landscape with Figures, scene 1108:13
  • 12Landscape with Figures, scene 1201:39
  • 13Persefone12:22
  • Total Runtime57:01

Info for Anatomy of Sound

Anatomy of Sound is not only the name chosen for the record, but also the concept that permeates all of Song Circus´ artistic work during the period 2014-2018. Anatomy of Sound contains eight projects and fifteen composers.

The repertoire focuses on the expansion of the register of expression and sound available to the human voice. In addition, Anatomy of Sound suggests a multitude of potential historical, theoretical, phenomenological and artistic angles.

Through minutiae explorations into the very microlevels of sound anatomy, through vocal investigations into, as well as the activation of, spatial premises and through the discovery of timbral qualities of objects, Song Circus masters an unusual audial vocabulary that expands the idea of what music can be. The Stavanger-based chamber ensemble Song Circus consists of five professional Norwegian singers, led by Liv Runesdatter, who specialise in contemporary music and improvisation. Song Circus has enduring relationships with several composers and creating artists. The ensemble has given life to an unusual and fascinating vocabulary of sound combined with rare musical precision.

For more than four years, Song Circus has collaborated with Ruben Sverre Gjertsen on the development of his Landscape with Figures. The human voice is a central part of the instrumental palette of this project and much of the music is the result of the joint efforts of the ensemble and the composer. Landscape with Figures is partially open in its form; the music is tremendously detailed and intricately notated and requires considerable musical and vocal technique and virtuosity. The composition stretches the limits of tonal flexibility and microtonal precision. Landscape with Figures IIa is composed for performance with eight or sixteen sound channels. A related piece, written for Song Circus and Sinfonietta, was performed with Oslo Sinfonietta during the Ultima Contemporary Music Festival in Oslo in the fall of 2013.

The composition marked the end of Gjertsen’s scholarship through the University of Bergen’s scholarship program for artistic development, with the project “Between instrument and everyday sound”. As part of the process, Gjertsen studied the academic work of Wishart and Ferneyhough, their systems of notation and compositions. He also studied overtone and throat singing under David Hykes. Another main aspect of Gjertsen’s research is intonation and microtonality with extensive use of overtone intervals and Javanese pentatonic tunings.

Ole-Henrik Moe’s Persefone is an acoustic piece written for five female voices and wine glasses. It is a textural study of vocal sound, dynamics and microtonality. Moe took inspiration from Morton Feldman when he wrote Persefone and, in the first part, he stretches silence and slowness so far that any sense of a horizontal timeline dissolves into a music of state.

Stine Janvin Motland, voices
Maria Norseth Garli, voices
Liv Runesdatter, voices
Anita Kaasbøll, voices
Rønnaug Bakke (Moe), voices
Eva Bjerga Haugen, voices
Liv Runesdatter, artistic director
Jonas Skartveit Rogne, batonist
Ruben Sverre Gjertsen, electronics
Carl Anders Nilsen, batonist, persefone

Recorded at Uranienborg Church, Norway, April 2015 by Lindberg Lyd

Ole-Henrik Moe
(1966) has studied violin and composition in Norway, France and Germany. One year studying under Iannis Xenakis at the Sorbonne in Paris has been of particular importance to him. For many years, Ole-Henrik Moe worked closely with Arne Nordheim and assisted him on several compositions. As a violinist, Moe has been part of diverse orchestras and chamber ensembles and participated in the founding of Oslo Barokkorkester. He is also a very active improvisational musician. He has composed for the Arditti Quartet, Münchener Kammerorchester, Ensemble Laboratorium, Ensemble Recherche and Klangforum Wien. Kari Rønnekleiv, Moe’s wife, received a Spelleman award in 2007 for her publishing of Moe’s works for violin and in 2012. Ole-Henrik Moe was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize.

Ruben Sverre Gjertsen
(1977) has studied composition at the Grieg Academy in Bergen with Morten Eide Pedersen and James Clapperton and has attended master classes with guest composers such as Brian Ferneyhough, Klaus Huber, Salvatore Sciarrino, Philippe Hurel, Luca Francesconi and Helmut Lachenmann. In 2013, the Universty of Bergen awarded Gjertsen a doctorate through the program for artistic development (program for kunstnerisk utviklingsarbeid) where he currently teaches composition. His work has been performed at five Young Nordic Music (UNM) festivals in addition to the Luzern Festivalakademi og Voix Nouvelles at Royaumont. “Rituals II” for 59 musicians was chosen for ISCM 2004 in Switzerland. Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Vortex, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart and Oslo Sinfonietta all count among the ensembles that have performed his music. The publication Grains on +3dB records received the Spelleman award 2009 in the category “contemporary composer.” Ruben Sverre Gjertsen was awarded Arne Nordheim´s Price for Composers in 2010.

Booklet for Anatomy of Sound

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