Hallgrímur Vilhjálmsson (b. 1963)

Serenade for six German Sirens, op.43

Serenade for six German Sirens, op.43
written by Hallgrimur Vilhjálmsson

in memoriam Karlheinz Stockhausen

Date of Composition: 2008
Total timing: 32'50

1st movement: sferico 8:56
2nd movement: pensoso 9:04
3nd movement: frullanto 14:43

Premiere: 2008-10-13
Asbach-Uralt-Werke, Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany
Sound-Engineer: Holger Brochhaus

In spring 2008 I finished my composition „russando“ at Kürten, where Karlheinz Stockhausen had lived. Originally conceptualized as a serenade for 7 emergency sirens and one human voice, it has been reduced in the number of instruments for musical reasons. On the one hand a human voice (stricty speaking: a snore) had been thought of as a counterpoint (therefore the title of my work), constantly growing into never-ending sequences (a conception which will result in a more suitable form for future compositions). Yet the combination of the musical indications of both the highest alarm and complete rest turned out to be too overwhelming for the audience. The multi-voiced powerful sirens would have rendered the crescendo of the snore impossible to hear. On the other hand I thought the use of six instead of seven sirens quite sufficient. Within the three movements of the serenade operating with the unreliability ot the sirens' doing (even when handled by skillful musicians), I have tried to shape three different moods to enter a new, undiscovered world of sounds far from the usual alarming noise which looses quickly its fascination when heard in the streets. There, if I pay them any attention at all, I do it with regard to the emergency sirens are a reaction of and I don't listen to their musical aspect, as they sound always quite bombastic. The monotonic rhythm has been made the predominant element of style, being but rarely accentuated. I rather cared for sound constellations developing and bringing into effect the characteristics of the sirens yet undiscovered as an orchestra instrument.

""russando" has been dedicated to Karlheinz Stockhausen, to whom I am very grateful as he has greatly influenced my musical development. Hallgrímur Vilhjálmsson

SCHMITT et al. (Georg Joachim Schmitt) is a german artist, born 1963. He lives in Cologne. His work includes almost every branch of artistic activity, such as poetry, films, compositions, drawings, paintings, photography, design, conceptual art, happenings, performances and intermedial projects. His coup d'etat against cultural establishment was the founding of his own art biennale in 2006. One of the 42 imaginary participants of his "cologne contemporary – international art biennale 08" is Hallgrímur Vilhjálmsson, an icelandic composer. Hallgrímur Vilhjálmsson
* 1976 Reykjavik

Worked together with Gibral Nadir. Studied in Helsinki, Cologne and Sao Paulo. Acquaintance with Karlheinz Stockhausen. Took part in master courses given by Maurizio Kagel. Strongly influenced by modern popular music, especially punk music. His works reflect the unfractured, unrestrained features of his native country – together with all the characteristic reservedness of a Scandinavian.

His works can "bring to life emotions of an all-embracing power within our daily experiences, without any mythical fuss" (F.Kloppotek), being therefore quite solitary among contemporary music works. Some people consider him to be the future Edward Munch of the musical art of our times.

""russando", a serenade of three movements for six German sirens, has been composed by Vilhjálmsson especially for "cologne contemporary".

Further works:

Blue Blossom (1998)
Tölva (2001)
Lundi (2004)
inversions (2008)