...moments of violence, struggle and deep peace....

Violinist Daniel Pioro and Viola de Gamba player Liam Byrne take two works for solo strings and electronics by Valgeir Sigurðsson around a host of venues in Germany this month. Dust and Dissonance will be performed at Schloss Elmau (March 5), the Elbpharmonie (March 9), Feinkost Lampe in Hannover (March 11) and Framed in Berlin (March 12), amongst others. They will also perform the pieces at the Zürich jazz club Moods im Schiffbau on March 15.

Dissonance expresses the way Sigurðsson’s work brings together esoteric contemporary electronica and music production with the classical tradition and repertoire. The piece gave his 4th LP its title, which won Album of The Year at the 2018 Iceland Music Awards. Dissonance, for viola de gamba, strings, and electronics, takes its starting point from W.A. Mozart’s String Quartet No. 19 in C Major, which begins with a remarkably uneasy chord, and extends it. “I took the bars” Sigurðsson has said, “and stretched the 40 seconds out to 23 minutes. The movement is the same as Mozart envisioned, only much slower.”

Dust is cast in three continuous movements, lasting 16 minutes. It reveals Sigurðsson’s fascination with using electronics to decompose and reassemble sounds with sounds, and the moods they conjure.

Pioro, who premiered and later recorded the work, has said of the piece: “Starting off sparsely, the violin sound and electronics thicken, following each other through moments of violence, struggle and deep peace. The score makes the most of the raw, unpolished, immediate sound of the strings, and of the air, and impurities created by the air.”