Feature by Anne Lanzilotti
Grounded in the reality of the concert hall and its traditions, Aeriality invites the audience to focus on different aspects of the soundscape—at times treating it as a sound installation, as Thorvaldsdottir suggests. She asks the audience to have the willingness to explore these perspectives—and the requisite “unease”—as they become a part of the resonant landscape of the hall. Thorvaldsdottir achieves the transition from “reality” to “aerial” by creating a clear progression of pitch away from its origin, and eventually through a timbral shift from pure tone to air sound. Sound itself is used as a way to change perspectives.
A feature by Anne Lanzilotti
Several years ago when I originally interviewed Norman (which happened to be the same summer that he was writing the wedge that made its way into Play), he lamented that orchestral musicians often have a negative view of contemporary music. “One thing I’ve heard over and over from orchestral musicians is that they don’t like playing new music because it makes them feel like automatons.” Hearing Norman use that word again in our most recent interview when speaking about the essential nature of Play, and his interest “for human beings to be human beings when they play music” makes me think he really listened, that he really cares about orchestral musicians as people, and that that narrative found its way into Play.
A feature by George Grella
It was music written with an X-Acto knife, with absolute precision and attention to the fine details of phrasing and orchestration. There was almost constant, chattering activity, and the unsettling thrill of ideas racing by just past the point of apprehension, each adding to a complex and constantly changing experience. And then, like a pendulum, the piece swung into a different, but related, structural concept. The level of activity remained the same, but the sense of time and motion was entirely different. The music was like a frothing suspension, holding still via sustained pitches, but simmering through tremolos, rebowings, flutter-tonguing. There was the feeling that the music contained some sort of strange, awesome power.