Colors of Resonance | Feb. 22


As part of our February 22 concert: Colors of Resonance, we will be performing a short piece by Icelandic award-winning composer Hildur Guðnadóttir. The work, Fólk fær andlit (People Get Faces), showcases her precise use of timbre—whether piercing whistles, ominous drones, or exquisitely tender string tremolos—is deeply penetrating and expressive.

Hildur Guðnadóttir is well-known for her other works, particularly her GRAMMY- and Academy-Award winning soundtracks to recent movies and TV shows. We breakdown some of her greatest hits:

Joker (2019)

In Joker, we follow failed Gotham City stand-up comedian Arthur Fleck as he is driven insane and becomes the infamous Batman villain the Joker.

"He's trying to actually bring joy to the world, and just doesn't really succeed because of outer circumstances that really affect his inner turbulence," the composer said in an interview with NPR. "I was just really sympathetic towards that that. It's very tragic. So, I thought it was important that he was allowed to kind of have this softer side."

Chernobyl (2019)

A five-part HBO series, Chernobyl tells a dramatized story of the 1986 nuclear disaster near the city of Pripyat in what was the Ukrainian SSR, based in part on recollections of the residents in that city. The music includes field recordings from an actual power plant in Lithuania, incorporating the sounds of the pumps, turbines, and reactors at the now-defunct plant.

“It’s such a complicated story to tell. How does that sound? Like [what] does a catastrophe really feel like and how does it sound…" Hildur Guðnadóttir said in an interview with Score: the Podcast. “We associate certain sounds of a nuclear disaster and those emitters, but there are so many other sounds that are there that were just so interesting to observe.”

Tom of Finland (2017)

This biographical drama that tells the story of Touko Laaksonen (who later gains the titular moniker), a Finnish homoerotic artist.

Side note: Eugene-based Wolf Spirit Distillery carries Tom of Finland Organic Vodka™, donating a percentage of the profits to the Tom of Finland Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to promoting tolerant attitudes toward sexuality and the preservation of erotic art.

TÁR (2022)

A movie near to our hearts, TÁR stars Cate Blanchett as the highly respected conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. The movie, which takes us through glass ceilings and an inside look into the dynamics between orchestra and baton-holder (although Eugene Symphony Music Director & Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong has never chewed someone up and spat them out).

"Whenever you start working on music for a film, you have to understand how the score can help the story that’s being told. It was clear that this score would have to support the otherworldly journey of this character, or the otherworldly elements that follow her around, where we’re not really sure if they’re real or not. Then it was a trial-and-error process, coming to the conclusion that it was best for the music to work subconsciously," she said in an interview with Pitchfork. "The film works on such a delicate level—it manages to be very dry and slow, but also unsettling and eerie and exciting, without you really understanding why. And all of the subjects that we come across in the film, like power structures and #MeToo—they’re uncomfortable. So the music is working in a very present and affective way, without you really noticing."

Fólk fær andlit (People Get Faces) (2016)

We couldn't make this list without including the piece we'll be performing on Thursday, February 22: Fólk fær andlit (People Get Faces). Although this is the choral version, the music is just as haunting with instrumentalists.

"In December 2015 we followed a series of events that touched most of us there: Albanian children with terminal illnesses were deported from Iceland along with their families who had been denied residence permits," she said." It was deeply distressing to watch the series of events unfold; how people divided into two separate oppositions, for or against — people."

Video by Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir