Balloon Ballad

When Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson premiered his piece Virthulegu forsetar in a large towering church in 2003, the country's biggest newspaper raved that it was the most memorable musical event of the year. The musicians (playing brass, percussion, organs, piano and electronic instruments) were positioned all throughout the church for stereo effect. While a simple melody transformed throughout the piece, blue helium balloons were timed to fall slowly from the ceiling as the light transformed during that late summer evening. Tonight we hear this transporting piece, along with music of Toumani Diabate and Bill Whelan.

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