[one] and the Backstage Door

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Contempo Flux contemporary chamber music class’s final concert of the term out at UCLA. It was a diverse program full of interesting pieces — many of which were new to me — and the level of playing was, on the whole, phenomenal, but there was one piece in particular that stuck in my mind: Anna Thorvaldsdóttir’s [one] [YouTube] for piano and percussion inside said piano.

It’s not the sort of piece I would normally be drawn to. Misty and atmospheric, it unfolds slowly and freely, with little sense of melody or rhythmic pulse. If I’d only been listening to a recording of it, I honestly would’ve been kind of bored — it’s just not my jam. But watching it happen in person was a deeply engrossing experience, and one that I’d very much like to have again. In thinking about why, I realized that it was because [one] is very close to being a theatre piece.

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