Bow to String

for Cello and Ensemble

17 Mins
Violoncello solo, Clarinet, Horn, 2 Pianos, Strings


Music of both furious energy and haunting beauty, Bow to String was originally composed as a studio piece for multi-layered cellos, all played by Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir on the album Processions. “Actually, it all started with Saeunn asking me to write a piece for solo cello, which I said yes to, but then sort of chickened out and started adding more and more voices.  By then I was only thinking about the studio and I never really thought about how we would perform it live, but then after the album was released, of course we wanted to be able to perform it somehow.  So I started making some different versions of it that were performed in various settings, from concert halls to tiny bars. I probably have eight or ten different versions of it already,” Bjarnason says.

“The first movement refers to an art installation by Ragnar Kjartansson in which he continually sings this song with the lyrics ‘Sorrow conquers happiness’ accompanied by a small orchestra. That’s the song (the chord progressions) you can hear in the first movement. So that movement is some kind of a remix of that song. The whole piece in its three movements is moving from loud to quiet, from the earthly to the ethereal.”

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