Unique church concert and tribute to an acclaimed Icelandic (film)composer
Please note: this concert takes place in the Church of Saint John the Baptist at the Béguinage (Begijnhof 2062, 1000 Brussels). This is 10 minutes walking distance from AB.
Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson is known to the general public for his soundtracks, including the acclaimed ‘The Theory of Everything’. Jóhannsson won a Golden Globe and a series of Oscar, BAFTA and Grammy nominations for it.
His tried and tested combination of classical compositions with electro was to be heard on highly-praised albums like his debut ‘Englabörn’ (’02), ‘Virðulegu Forsetar’ (’04), ‘IBM 1401, A User’s Manual’ (’06), ‘Fordlândia’ (’08) and more recently ‘Orphée’ (’16).
Jóhannsson passed away unexpectedly earlier this year, in his apartment in Berlin, at the age of 48.
TRIBUTE: IN REMEMBRANCE OF JÓHANN JÓHANNSSON
Together with AB regular Adam Wiltzie (A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Stars of the Lid) – who belonged to Jóhannsson’s inner circle of close friends – and under the approving eye of Jóhannsson’s management, the greatest care has been taken in selecting a programme, line-up, location and date.
THE PROGRAMME: ‘VIRÐULEGU FORSETAR’ (Touch. ’04)
On the programme: a complete performance of ‘Virðulegu Forsetar’, Jóhann Jóhannsson's second album, which was released in 2004 as the successor to his debut ‘Englabörn’. ‘Virðulegu Forsetar’ means as much as ‘eminent presidents’ and also served at the time as soundtrack for an expo about … euh … presidents. ‘Virðulegu Forsetar’ is a stately, minimalistic composition in four parts with a duration of about 60 minutes. The instrumentation consists of 11 brass players, percussion, organ and piano. Until now, the album has only been performed live twice. The première took place in the famous Hallgrímskirkja (Reykjavik, Iceland), the place where Jóhann’s funeral was also held.
THE LOCATION: THE CHURCH OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST AT THE BÉGUINAGE
For the location of the concert, it was a deliberate choice to opt for a church, and then specifically the Church of Saint John The Baptist at the Béguinage. No coincidence, as Adam Wiltzie fell for the acoustics there after a previous successful concert with his band Stars of the Lid.
Adam Wiltzie (electro/organ) – who is also to be heard on diverse soundtracks by Jóhannsson – put together the line-up with the greatest of care. Although it is still a work in progress, aside from Wiltzie, Skúli Sverrisson (bass/electro) and conductor Guðni Franzson will join the band. Both were to be heard on ‘Virðulegu Forsetar’. Belgian Brass was selected for the wind instruments, they had already been invited by Jóhannsson for the live performance of his album ‘The Miners’ Hymns’.
There’s no such thing as coincidence, as even the date has been chosen with care. On September 19 Jóhannsson would have turned 49.
SOUNDTRACK BY MIKE HARDING (TOUCH.)
Britain’s electro-label Touch. (see too: Fennesz, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Chris Watson ...) was the first to believe in the power and beauty of Jóhann's work and released his first two albums. Founding father Mike Harding will provide the soundtrack for the evening.
JÓHANN JÓHANNSSON & AB
Finally: Jóhann Jóhannsson was no unknown to AB. He already shared the prophetic bill at the Domino festival in 2009 with the now great Jon Hopkins. Jóhannsson performed twice in the series Silence Is Sexy – whereby the focus was upon contemporary classic. In 2011, as curator of his own evening, he was here when his album ‘The Miners’ Hymns’ saw the light of day and in 2012 he was here in the good company of Hauschka and Dustin O’Halloran.