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Bel Air Glamour / Vinyl Factory / Krunk  
October 28, 2016

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der klang der offenbarung des göttlichen

Kjartan Sveinsson, former member of Sigur Rós, releases his first solo project, a four act opera, ‘Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen’- which translates as ‘The Explosive Sonics of Divinity’.

Sveinsson composed the score for his and Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson’s opera inspired by Nobel Laureate Halldór Laxness’ novel ‘World Light’.

‘Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen’ premiered at Berlin’s Volksbühne theatre in February 2014 where Sveinsson was joined by The German Film Orchestra Babelsberg and the Filmchor Berlin for the 50-minute show.

The live performance sees each of the four movements set to a different theatrical tableau; with scenery changes and slight weather events sweeping in and out of the set, all of which occurs without a single actor gracing the stage. Kjartansson says that “Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen’ is a banally romantic opera inspired by Halldór Laxness’s cunning texts about the longing for beauty”.

Since 2011 Kjartan Sveinsson has collaborated with Ragnar Kjartansson on various projects including the durational performance installation ‘Take me Here by the Dishwasher’ performed by ten troubadours and ‘S.S. Hangover’ a brass sextet for a sailing boat, as well as the globally acclaimed installation ‘The Visitors’. These projects have been performed in museums around the world, as well as undertaking multiple film score work, also with the Icelandic director, Rúnar Rúnarsson – Sparrows, Volcano and The Last Farm.

Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen is released via Bel-Air Glamour Records, a joint label between Kjartansson, artist Ingibjörg Sigurjónsdóttir and The Vinyl Factory, as a double gatefold 10” vinyl with artwork by Kjartansson.

 

DER KLANG DER OFFENBARUNG DES GÖTTLICHEN

1A. Teil I

1B. Teil II

2A. Teil III

2B. Teil IV

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KJARTAN SVEINSSON

Kjartan Sveinsson is a composer, musician and performer. He first came to prominence as a member of Sigur Rós, the Icelandic band – sometimes characterized as ‘post-rock’ – of which he was a member from 1997 to 2012, releasing five studio albums, a film and a host of side projects, selling several million records around the world in the process. 

Sveinsson played keyboards and guitar in Sigur Rós, as well as being responsible for the band’s frequent arrangements for strings, brass, choir and orchestra. In 2002 he was involved in the creation of the still unreleased 70-minute work Odin’s Raven Magic, in which a disputed chapter of the Icelandic Edda* was set to an apocalyptic score for orchestra and choir.  The work was performed several times in concert halls around Europe, including a production at London’s Barbican theatre, which featured the London Sinfonietta and Kjartan’s first collaboration with the Sixteen Choir.

In 2003 Sveinsson and the band – alongside Radiohead – composed music for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s production Split Sides, in which choreography, set design, costume changes and music were all decided on a random throw of dice.  The band performed this live in New York, Paris and Seoul.

Sveinsson and Sigur Rós toured the world many times over during the 00’s, playing at many prestigious events and venues, including New York’s Carnegie Hall and MOMA, LA’s Hollywood Bowl, the Budokan in Tokyo and headline stages at Glastonbury and Roskilde festivals, and many, many more. 

In 2008 he played his final show with Sigur Rós in the band’s hometown of Reykjavík, although he continued to write and record with the band until 2012’s Valtari album. 

Since leaving Sigur Rós, Sveinsson has broadened his horizons to score movies and expansive collaborations with foremost Icelandic performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson, while also continuing to write his own new orchestral and choral works.  With Kjartansson he has been closely involved in the creation of many new works that have been exhibited in galleries and major institutions internationally.  

The pair’s first collaboration was 2011’s Take Me Here by the Dishwasher, for which Sveinsson wrote a cod-folk song that was performed by a band of troubadours in the gallery for six hours a day for seven weeks straight, while a film of Kjartansson mother and father acting in an 80’s soft-porn movie played on a huge screen.

The following year, 2012, he was a performer in multi-screen installation, The Visitors, in which nine musicians, sited in different rooms of Rokeby, a crumbling upstate New York mansion, separately contribute to a mesmerizing and repetitive soundtrack over the course of an hour.  In 2013 he wrote another endurance piece for Kjartansson at the Venice Biennale. For four hours a day, six brass players toured the city’s canals in a ‘viking longboat’ playing Sveinsson’s composition for S.S. Hangover.

Then in 2014 Sveinsson and Kjartansson collaborated on Der Klang Der Offenbarung Des Göttlichen, an opera in four movements for Berlin’s Volksbühne Theatre. Translated as “The Explosive Sonics of Divinity”, the piece combined Kjartansson theatrical set designs for an empty theatre, with Sveinsson’s sweeping and romantic orchestral score.  Der Klang is the first of Sveinsson’s post-Sigur Rós work to be released, with a double vinyl 10-inch on Bel-Air Glamour records.

Other collaborations with Kjartansson include The Palace of Summerland, a 4 screens film installation with improvised score, and Krieg, a second opera, also premiered at Volksbühne earlier this year. 

Sveinsson has also extensively worked with Icelandic film director Rúnar Rúnarsson, scoring the Oscar-nominated short The Last Farm and Volcano and Sparrows

In terms of his own work, Credo was premiered at the Lincoln Center’s White Light festival in 2010, performed by the Latvian Choir and Wordless Music Orchestra at St Paul the Apostle church on New York’s Upper East Side.  The same night also saw a performance of You Can Cage A Swallow, But You Can’t Swallow a Cage, which set the poetry of Anne Carson to a vocal arrangement for the Hilliard Ensemble. 

Sveinsson lives and works in Reykjavík, where he continues to write music, produce other artists, including Ólöf Arnalds and Kristín Anna, and own and operate Sigur Rós’s former Sundlaugin studio.

November 2016

PAST WORKS

Orchestral and
choral work

Credo
Performed 2010
(unreleased)

You Can Cage A Swallow, But You Can’t Swallow A Cage
Performed 2010    
(unreleased)

Artworks with Ragnar Kjartansson

Take Me Here by the Dishwasher
2011

SS Hangover
2013

Der Klang Der Offenbarung Des Göttlichen
2014

Film scores with Rúnar Rúnarsson

The Last Farm (Síðasti bærinn)
2004

Volcano
2011

Sparrows
2015

Sigur Rós

Ágætis byrjun
1999

Odin’s Raven Magic
performed 2002
(unreleased) 

( )
2002

Takk..
2005

Heima
2007

Hvarf/heim
2007

Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
2008

Inni
2011

Valtari
2012

 

OTHER SCORE WORK

Plastic Bag
2009
Directed by Ramin Bahrani

 

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