Threnody (Sikuigvik)

version for open instrumentation ensemble and glacier ecoacoustics (2015)

Threnody (Sikuigvik) was composed at the request of the US State Department for performance during President Obama’s 2015 visit to Alaska. The work was first presented as an installation in the Anchorage Museum of Art as music emanating from inside an 800lb block of glacier ice, a sonic sculpture installation created by a team led by architect, Garrett Burtner. The electronic sound was also used as interstitial music during Obama’s GLACIER conference. The original electroacoustic version of the piece, without live instruments, was published on the “Glacier Music” album by PARMA Records. The ensemble version, featuring the Threnody (Sikuigvik) melody, was created later so that the music could have a concert life performed by live musicians. Sikuigvik, an Inupiaq word meaning “the time of ice melting” is the title of one of Burtner’s first ecoacoustic pieces, “Sikuigvik” (1997), a work for piano and large ensemble. This “threnody” commemorates the unprecedented and brutal loss of ice since the late 1990s, a scale of melting we did not imagine was possible at the time.

The audio excerpt above includes the electroacoustics, but no instruments. The score is performed by any ensemble of pitched instruments separated into three groups. The first group plays a melody in heterophony, and the second two groups play contrupuntal heterophonic textures. A timeline (musicians use a timer) helps organize the instrumentalists in relation to the electronic part.

ThrenodyExcerpt

Sku
MB-ThrenodySikuigvik-2015
Description
instrumental score and electronics
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