Thorvaldsdottir: In the Light of Air
Label: Sono Luminus
Composer Anna Thorvaldsdottír’s pieces rely on repeated gestures (like a delicately plucked ostinato, or a subtle pitched-percussion figure). At first it can feel like slow going, though when she unveils a big change—as happens at the climax of each movement in the four-track suite that opens this album—the impact is profound. (Listen for the raw piano chords that crown “Remembrance.”) The International Contemporary Ensemble players pull off Thorvaldsdottír’s extended-technique requirements with poise (as with the steely scrapings of “Serenity”). It’s a triumph for composer and ensemble alike.