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Anna Thorvaldsdottir

Publisher: Chester Music

Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic Society with the generous support of The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music.
Work Notes
Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic Society with the generous support of The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music. The first performance was given on 4th April 2018 at the Lincoln Center, New York City by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Chester Music Ltd
Year Composed
14 Minutes
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Programme Note
Anna Thorvaldsdottir METACOSMOS (2017)
Metacosmos is constructed around the natural balance between beauty and chaos — how elements can come together in (seemingly) utter chaos to create a unified, structured whole. The idea and inspiration behind the piece is the speculative metaphor of falling into a black hole – the unknown – with endless constellations and layers of opposing forces connecting and communicating with each other, expanding and contracting, projecting a struggle for power as the different sources pull on you and you realize that you are being drawn into a force that is beyond your control.

Programme note © 2017 Anna Thorvaldsdottir

Performance restrictions apply to this work until April 2019. Please contact for further details.

Preview the score

  • 20 JAN 2019
    Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA
    San Francisco Symphony
    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

    Other Dates:
    18,19 January - Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA
  • 24 JAN 2019
    METACOSMOS European Premiere
    Berlin, Germany
    Berliner Philharmoniker
    Alan Gilbert, conductor

    Other Dates:
    26,25 January - Berlin, Germany
  • 31 JAN 2019
    METACOSMOS Country Premiere
    Dark Music Days
    Harpa, Reykjavik, Iceland
    Icelandic Symphony Orchestra
    Daniel Bjarnason , conductor
  • 01 FEB 2019
    METACOSMOS Country Premiere
    Concerto for Two Pianos Country Premiere
    Musica Nova Helsinki
    Musiikkitalo Concert Hall, Helsinki, Finland
    Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
    Katia and Marielle Labèque, piano; Peter Rundel, conductor
  • 01 FEB 2019
    METACOSMOS Country Premiere
    Winnipeg New Music Festival
    Centennial Concert Hall, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
    Daniel Raiskin, conductor

Written for a large orchestra and taking full advantage of various timbral colorings, Metacosmos is an eerie, atmospheric piece, from its Rheingold-evoking initial pianissimo to a finale that might be considered serene if it wasn’t for all the equivocal harmonies one can perceive. Cues in this musical tapestry, superbly laid out by Salonen, are almost seamlessly passed from one group of instruments to another. Growing tensions between strings, winds and percussion take the listener on a voyage imbued with amazement but also angst…. In Metacosmos, Thorvaldsdóttir proves again to be an artist of deep originality.
Edward Sava-Segal, Bachtrack,06/04/2018
Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Metacosmos made a powerful impression in its debut performance, evoking an enormous vista of space and time in a 12-minute span with broad, artfully blended strokes of orchestral color.
David Wright, New York Classical Review,05/04/2018
[Salonen] conducted the radiant premiere of a richly atmospheric piece by the Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir. ... I was captivated by the intricacy of the sounds and colors. Ms. Thorvaldsdottir did indeed take us on a dark journey, episodic yet clear. ... During a few wistful moments, short melodic phrases in a natural minor scale sigh atop mellow harmonies. These seemingly conventional passages actually came across as reflective stops on the promised odyssey through chaos and beauty. ... At Geffen Hall, "Metacosmos” was the highlight.
Anthony Tommasini, New York Times,05/04/2018
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