Timbre Cierpke’s newest composition, Gullfoss, perfectly showcases her romantic minimalist expression. Written for Nashville’s Alias Chamber Ensemble, SONUS choir, and Vox Grata Women's choir, the tone poem paints a picture of Iceland’s treasured waterfall, Gullfoss.
The work features string quintet, flute trio, and 2 choirs, with an original text by Timbre, sung in Icelandic. Timbre says of the piece:
“I saw Gullfoss while traveling in Iceland with my family and found myself standing still in rapture, hearing the beginnings of this piece take shape in my mind. I literally had to wave off my dad and sister to keep them from talking to me and interrupting the flow. It felt like the waterfall was singing the music to me. I heard the river at the base of the waterfall singing to the calm waters at the top, calling those waters to join the river, filling it with new life.”
The work begins at the top of the of the waterfall, represented by Choir 1, (8 part women’s choir, performed by Vox Grata,) with sustained chords moving slowly in and out of each other, like eddies of water. The water at the bottom of the waterfall, represented by Choir 2 (SSAATTBB choir sung by SONUS), interrupts this dreamy slow movement with percussive text, and the call and response begins, leading the voices of Choir 1 to leap off the ledge and become falling water.
“As I stood enraptured by the waterfall, I would try to follow one drop of water all the way down the falls. There is this magical timelessness that happens when you do this…time slows down and the water almost seems to float. The middle section of the piece creates this imagery with Choir 1 sliding through different dissonant notes, sometimes joining, then immediately separating again, like individual drops of water.
As the song progresses, the end of the piece is meant to represent the waters merging and becoming one in the river, flowing away as the piece ends. I see in this the metaphor that in the giving of oneself into love, one becomes apart of a greater whole. Love then becomes self-sustaining, flowing it and out of herself in constant life-giving.”
Gullfoss was premiered and recorded live Feb 24, 2019 at Vanderbilt University, conducted by the composer.
Recorded & mixed by John Hill.
Translation of text (written by composer):
I am your heart, You are my blood
Come to me
I am coming, I am falling
Love flows in and out of herself
There is nothing that divides us
Ég er þitt hjarta, Þú ert mitt blóð
Kom til mín
Ég kem, Ég fell
Kærleikurinn flæðir um hana
Ekkert aðskilur vor
released April 10, 2020
String quintet, flute trio- Alias Chamber Ensemble
Choir 1- Vox Grata Women's Choir
Choir 2- SONUS choir
Nashville based harpist/songwriter Timbre has been enchanting audiences across the world with her unique harp-based folk
rock. Though featured playing harp with bands/artists such as Jack White, Ricky Skaggs, mewithoutYou, and the Chariot, her solo music is even more breathtaking. Her ensemble of musicians bring complete stillness to crowded bars and festivals, silencing audiences of thousands....more
This is the band that backed me for two years, recording most of Little Flowers with me. This music is simply beautiful, but incredibly intricate and intense. They are one of my favourite bands. Timbre