The Height of the Reeds
A world premiere live performance of the celebrated sound installation on the Humber Bridge will be performed at Punkt by the trio of Arve Henriksen, Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang featuring a string ensemble with arrangements by Alexander Waaktaar.
For the year 2017, Hull, a northern port on the east coast of England, was selected as the UK City of Culture. This led to the city commissioning or organizing a series of artistic and cultural events throughout the year. One such event was the commissioned work "The Height of the Reeds" which celebrated the long seafaring relationship between Hull and Scandinavia.
The epic ‘sound walk’ opened in April in 2017 was a unique interactive artwork that could only be experienced on the Humber Bridge. The longest single-span suspension bridge in the world that can be crossed on foot, the Bridge’s 2,220-metre length helped to define the form of The Height of the Reeds for its composers, Norwegian musicians Arve Henriksen, Jan Bang and Eivind Aarset, and Hull-based field recording artist Jez riley French. The title and each of the compositions were pulled from the original poems by Norwegian poet Nils Christian Moe-Repstad.
The installation was fully booked for its duration, which was extended through May and June 2017 due to overwhelming demand. The album released on Rune Grammofon in 2018 was nominated for the Norwegian Grammy and on Richard Williams best of the year list.
Composer, musician and producer Jan Bang comments:
"This large-scale commission from Opera North proved a wonderful opportunity to explore new working methods for Arve, Eivind and myself as composers and performers. Working closely with arranger Alexander Waaktaar and the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North under conductor Justin Doyle, not to mention Hull-based and internationally-respected field recordist Jez riley French, has given the work a specific identifiable character as a whole. The goodwill and close support we received from the Hull UK City of Culture volunteers and staff made it all a joyful ride.”
Arve Henriksen: trumpet/voice
Eivind Aarset: guitars
Jan Bang: live sampling, electronics
Pål Svensberget: violin
Ariel de Wolf: cello
Anne Camilla Furre Thomessen: viola
Roar Brostrøm: oboe/French horn
Arrangements: Aleksander Waaktaar
Field recordings: Jez riley French
Originally commissioned by Opera North for Hull 2017 UK City of Culture
Humber River. Photo: Richard Williams
Top Photo: Humber Bridge. Photo: Opera North
Videos courtesy Opera North: