In a bold new international project for the 2015/16 season, 12 ensemble's principal players visited the beautiful remote town of Seyðisfjörður, Iceland to rehearse intimate chamber music and record a series of live site-specific recordings. The project was partnered with Heima, an artistic residency programme in Iceland.
#1 October 2015
During the first trip in October 2015, Artistic Director and leader Eloisa-Fleur recorded an old folk song called 'Lilja' in the Tvísöngur sound sculpture hidden in the mountains. 'Lilja' is thought to be one of the oldest surviving Icelandic folk tunes. This tonally ambiguous melody was given to a religious poem called 'Lilja' meaning 'Lily', written by Eysteinn Ásgrímsson in the fourteenth century. The original poem contains over 100 verses. The audio and visuals were recorded at the Tvísöngur sound sculpture, Seyðisfjörður, on 23 October 2015. The five differently sized concrete interconnected domes each resonate to one of the five tones in Icelandic traditional folk song, working as a natural amplifier. Each layer of the multi-track is recorded in a different acoustic dome. The sculpture was built in 2012 by artist Lukas Khnes.
#2 January - February 2016
In January 2016 Eloisa returned to Seyðisfjörður with fellow Artistic Director Max to rehearse and record British and Icelandic contemporary violin and cello duo repertoire, alongside exploring Iceland's ancient folk tunes and early religious music. In the second of our series of recordings in the Tvísöngur sound sculpture, Max performs an ancient Iceland 'Tvísöngur' (twin-song), which utilises parallel fifths and reflects the Lutheran background of Icelandic music. The audio and visuals were recorded at the Tvísöngur sound sculpture, Seyðisfjörður, on 1st February 2016 at a temperature of -18ªC.
Eloisa-Fleur and Max recorded A Languorous Window Stands White from Hafliði Hallgrímsson's Seven Epigrams for violin and cello (1999) at Bláa Kirkjan, Seyðisfjörður on 29th January 2016. Hafliði Hallgrímsson is an Icelandic cellist and composer, currently living in Bath. Hafliði was the Principal Cellist of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for many years before leaving that position in 1983 to pursue a full-time career as a composer.
The collection of footage was shot in the mountains surrounding the town of Seyðisfjörður, East Iceland.
To close the week-long residency, Eloisa-Fleur and Max gave a performance at Skaftfell Arts Centre on 2nd February to share their work with the local arts community and Lunga School.
#3 March 2016
In March, six of the ensemble's musicians travelled to Seyðisfjörður for a week-long residency exploring Schoenberg's 'Verklarte Nacht' alongside British and Icelandic contemporary music, culminating in a performance at Bláa Kirkjan on 20th March.