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Works

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This page contains four main sections giving an overview of Ingvarsson's work output: classical contemporary, After the Fall chamber opera, Find the Squirrel - a collaborative outreach composition, and Singer-Songwriter. For Ingvarsson's DMus research, Opening Opera, click here.

 

classical contemporary

CASTLE IN AIR, Helgi R. Ingvarsson's debut album, celebrates solo string instruments, their multifaceted shades and beauty, and especially the unique sonority of the cello. Recorded in Harpa Music Hall in Reykjavík, Iceland Castle in Air received a 4 star review from the renowned Icelandic classical music critic Jónas Sen after its launch concert on September 6 2015:

"Helgi's music carries the composer's strong personal style." "…all sorts of clever nuances were introduced and the narrative was exciting and surprising." "Helgi had a lot on his mind, and he went his own way in delivering his message. The frame echoed the past, but the inspiration was completely unique." -Jónas Sen

After having been welcomed into the repertoire by renowned cellists and performers like Guðný Jónasdóttir, Clare O'Connell of the Chroma Ensemble and Martin Johnson section leader at RTE National Symphony Orchestra, Ireland, Helgi's music is available for streaming on Spotify and as a download from CDbaby.

"Vetrarþoka [Winter Fog] finished the evening with another vocal accompaniment [...] It was illuminating, delicate and beautiful." - Lou Clement

 
 

After the Fall

a chamber opera

This is a story of musical perception; physical, neurological, emotional.

            A bright red light comes up on stage, a recording session is about to start. Eva Ende stands alone on stage in front of a studio style microphone with headphones on. She sings with great passion and skill her signature aria “Ecco mormorar l’onde”. It’s a perfect take. As the recording session nears the end, we hear the actual recording of Eva singing the aria superimposed on top of the live recording session. Slowly, the live music fades out, until all we are left with is the faint output of a spinning record player from somewhere else. Simultaneously to this sonic transition, the stage turns, revealing the office of The Doctor. The office contains a desk, a blackboard and a hospital bed. He is listening to his own personal copy of Eva Ende’s “Ecco mormorar l’onde” as he prepares his notes. He is expecting a very interesting patient any minute now who will, he hopes, help guarantee his academic legacy.

Below are excerpts from the premiere of After the Fall chamber opera by Helgi R. Ingvarsson and Rebecca Hurst, premiered at The Lion and Unicorn Theatre, Camden in May 2017. The successful career of opera singer Eva Ende has been cut short by an accident, and the resulting brain injury has caused her to lose the ability to comprehend music. The Doctor is also experiencing his own loss of musical sense following the death of his mother. Frozen by grief he is cut off from his emotions, and unable to 'hear' music. While the Doctor's condition has a chance of a cure, the Singer's own musical ability might never be repaired. 

After the Fall discusses, in both words and music, the neurological and emotional effects that music sometimes has on us. After reading the works of renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks, Ingvarsson was inspired to create an opera where the music not only describes the emotional state of the characters, but also tries to interpret their jarred neurological perception of music. For instance, after having workshopped pre-composed material with the composer, the performers semi-improvise a few of the scenes in order to create an interpretation of the said jarred perception. The audience will hear music from several different angles, so to speak. Sometimes from the perspective of Eva Ende either as a patient, or from before she had her accident. Sometimes you will hear it from the perspective of The Doctor, who, unlike Eva, struggles with music on an emotional level. Sometimes we will hear the music in its literal form. And sometimes, the borders between these perspectives will be blurred.

After the Fall was premiered by, and developed with, Rannveig Káradóttir soprano, Nicholas Morton baritone, Alisdair Kitchen director, and members of the ALDAorchestra: Helen Whitaker on flute, Katherine Tinker on piano and Adam Bushell on percussion.

 

find the squirrel

ALDAorchestra, where Helgi Ingvarsson is co-director alongside flautist Helen Whitaker, hosted composition workshops at two Brighton state primary schools late 2016. Notation and perceived notions of chamber music can be a barrier to children's engagement, so in the workshops we wanted to help them explore their environment using graphic scores to get their musical ideas on to paper. We assisted the children in creating a nature-inspired collaborative piece using graphic notation. Some of the local phenomena we worked with during these workshops were: pigeons, seagulls, sea, chatty people, The Downs, Devil's Dyke, clock towers, wind, rain, trees, sun, pebbled beach, storm, cliffs, and of course squirrels. We then demonstrated to the children how these things could possibly be represented in music. Afterwards they took to the paper and created their contribution to this piece which has now been titled “Find the Squirrel”. You can access the score HERE.

 

singer-songwriter

Song: Trees. Singer and composer: Helgi Rafn Ingvarsson. Quartet: Tessa Ho, Lauren Forder, Ricardo Gaspar, Guðný Jónasdóttir. Backing vocals: Edda Björk and Björg Birgis. Design: Arnar Ingvarsson. Video: Good Shelter Productions.