‘34 Scores for Piano, Organ, Harpsichord and Celeste’ has been in the works for six years and spans the Icelandic artist’s career
Björk is releasing a career-spanning book of sheet music. As FACT report, 34 Scores for Piano, Organ, Harpsichord and Celeste has been in the works for the past six years and features arrangements that cover the Icelandic artist’s studio albums from Debut to Vulnicura, as well as her scores Drawing Restraint 9 and Selmasongs.
Published by Wise Publications, the book is a collaboration between Björk and pianist Jonas Sen. According to the book’s listing on the One Little Indian web store, the book “expands the possibilities of traditional notation using unique, custom fonts and artwork and a triple-layer approach devised by Björk and Sen.” Design house M/M Paris (who created the singer’s moth mask) helped devise the notation system for transcribing the songs to sheet music, while engraving company Notengrafik Berlin consulted on the book’s design.
“In the autumn of 2009, I sat down and wanted to decipher and reevaluate what musical education meant to me,” Björk explains in a statement, published in full below. “I started working with Jónas Sen on gathering together my string, choir, vocal, and brass arrangements through the years and arranging them for different keyboards such as organs, pianos, celestas, and harpsichords.”
Sen adds: “There are three levels to these keyboard arrangements. In one we simply transcribed the songs from the original to the keyboard. In the next level we arranged them so they sound different from the originals, yet convincing for the keyboard instrument in question. On the third level, the songs are radically different from the original, almost like they are new compositions.”
Though the book gets a general release on June 5, fans will be able to pick it up early at the Björk Digital exhibition when it runs in Los Angeles from May 19. The singer will perform selections from the book with 32 string players at LA’s Walt Disney Concert Hall on May 30.
Check out the tracks featured in the scorebook, and the unedited statement from Björk about the book, below.
The Anchor Song (Debut)
Venus As A Boy (Debut)
Cover Me (Post)
I’ve Seen It All (Selmasongs)
New World (Selmasongs)
Mother Heroic (b-side to “Hidden Place”) (Vespertine)
Pagan Poetry (Vespertine)
Sun In My Mouth (Vespertine)
Desired Constellation (Medúlla)
Pleasure Is All Mine (Medúlla)
Where Is The Line (Medúlla)
Gratitude (Drawing Restraint 9 OST)
Declare Independence (Volta)
The Dull Flame Of Desire (Volta)
My Juvenile (Volta)
Vertebrae by Vertebrae (Volta)
Atom Dance (Vulnicura)
Black Lake (Vulnicura)
Björk on 34 Scores for Piano, Organ, Harpsichord and Celeste:
in the autumn of 2009 i sat down and wanted to decipher and reevaluate what musical education meant to me . the frustrated musicologist in me went ahead and completed the educational biophilia which since has been tought all around the world and is now a permanent part of scandinavias curriculum
i also wanted to question how i felt about musical documentation , when cds were slowly becoming obsolete , i was curious about the difference of midi ( digital notation ) and classical notation and enthusiastic in blurring the lines and at which occasions and how one would share music in these new times . what is the difference of karaoke and the lyrical recitals of the 19th century ? can one meet at bonfires and sing techno songs ? ( well icelanders do obvs ) maybe i should share digital notation that people could connect to their synths or do harpsichord versions of electronic beats to enjoy in the living rooms and hopefully families singalong to
100 years ago most music was shared through scores , does that even apply to today ? and if so how ?
from these questions i started working with jónas sen on gathering together my string , choir , vocal and brass arrangements through the years and arranging them for different keyboards such as organs , pianos , celestas and harpsichords .
i also talked to my longtime collaborators m/m and asked them to design a font for notes in the same way they would for letters . that of course became technically almost impossible but we believe we have now somehow found a program were everyone can design their own fonts to align gracefully to their music
and last but not least : as a soft feminist stance i decided to put importance on my arrangements through the years ( i feel still today most people are not aware of i have done the majority of the choir , brass , string and vocal arrangements myself through the years ) by doing concerts where we have transformed all these arrangements over to strings to emphasizing that part of my work . so far we have played albert hall , harpa hall in reykjavík , the auditorio in mexico city and will be playing the disney hall on the 30th of may . and i will be singing on top
hope you enjoy it !!