Johann Johannsson's Drone Mass | Duke Campus: Baldwin Auditorium | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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Johann Johannsson and ACME

Photo by Wojciech Wandzel

Johann Johannsson and ACME

Johann Johannsson's Drone Mass 

When: Sat., March 25, 8 p.m. 2017
Price: $10-$32

Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson is best known for his award-winning The Theory of Everything soundtrack (he's scoring the forthcoming Blade Runner reboot, too), but he can't be pigeonholed as simply a film composer. He arrives in Durham with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble for a performance of his 2015 piece Drone Mass, which is neither a drone, a mass, nor a mass of drones. It contains bits of each but is not beholden to any of them. Over the course of ten movements, the hourlong work uses a strange, vowel-only text from the Coptic Gospel and other Gnostic texts to update various traditions of medieval and Renaissance counterpoint. Eight singers, a string quartet, and electronics cultivate a fair share of drones, but Jóhannsson variously evokes the sprightly interlocks of David Lang, the ecstatic depths of Arvo Pärt, and the buoyant explorations of Meredith Monk, all while keeping to an appropriately ritualistic theme. —Dan Ruccia

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