- “Elevation” from Without Sinking by Hildur Guðnadóttir (2009)
Hildur Guðnadóttir’s score for Nacre, a 2009 piece for church organ and light organ.
Nacre’s score is in the shape of a 360 degree helix of a double strand DNA. This form was chosen as a connection to Margrét’s passionate work as a virologist. DNA forms the basis of inheritance in all organisms, except viruses, although DNA can be found in a few viruses such as herpes. DNA also connects grandmother and granddaughter, whereas it holds genetic information to be passed on from one generation to the next.
It uses Newton’s color circle to translate sounds to visuals.
The basis of the light organ is Newton’s color circle. He was the first person to connect colour to wavelengths of light and made the colour circle based on that theory. His circle consists of 7 colours and he assigned musical notes to each colour. Newton’s scale starts with red, to which he assigned the note D. The scale continues as a diatonic scale from D (also known as the Dorian mode); E=orange, F=yellow etc.
A light system was made specially for Nacre, which reads the frequencies being played on the church organ and triggers coloured lights for each note in Newton’s color circle. When the note D is played on the organ, for example, a red light shines in the light organ.
The light organ hangs above the audience. 70 LED lights are arranged in mirror modules that are held up by giant balloons. The floating lights are therefore multiplied and create a slight spatial distortion.
You can listen to the premier here.