Composer:   Anna Thorvaldsdottir
Arranger:   NA
Publisher:   Chester Music
Edition:   CH86922
Voicing:   SSAATTBB
Setting:   Soprano Solo, Strings (


Michael McGaghie
Macalester College
R&R Chair College & University

In English; also available in Icelandic

This compelling work serves as homage to Dietrich Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri, a set of cantatas meditating on Christ’s crucified body. Thorvaldsdottir’s compelling piece resembles a slow, ten-minute-long prostration to the floor, returning over and over to the text “I fall.” The soprano solo sings a simple melody, imitated at length by the choral voices, while a string quintet creates a harrowing mood with multiple extended techniques.

The piece’s magic sits in how the music blurs in and out of the A minor mode, especially at the dramatic tutti recapitulation. The denser, dissonant passages offer the opportunity to teach/refine chromatic solfege. The soprano solo requires a musician with excellent intonation who can remember and maintain the A minor foundation during the dissonant episodes.

Listen to The Crossing’s recording 1st Link Below
Preview the full score and the composer’s program note 2nd Link

Performance Link:

Performance Link: