Swedish composer Maria W. Horn was inspired by the Dies Irae from the Latin requiem, which for centuries has accompanied the Catholic dead on their way to the grave. The Dies Irae (‘day of wrath’) describes the Last Judgment – for many believers the moment of truth, and therefore in most requiems an orchestral ‘hellfire and damnation’.
But Horn makes this terrifying moment serene, pure and heavenly. Four singers seem like angels, transcending the earthly. Maria W. Horn herself supports the vocal quartet with subtle, dreamy, live electronic sounds.
An exceptional element is the improvisation for four tuned glasses of water, which the musicians make sing by running their fingers around the rims. This is an homage to The Tuning Meditation by American twentieth-century pioneer Pauline Oliveros.
Viola Cheung, soprano
Josefin Bölz, soprano
Jikke van der Velde, alto
Hella Termeulen, alto
The online magazine The Quietus interviewed Maria W. Horn about her work. Read the summary of the interview here.