Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson is widely known for his film soundtracks, including the acclaimed ‘The Theory of Everything’, for which he won a Golden Globe and was nominated for Oscar, BAFTA and Grammy awards.
His tried and tested combination of classical compositions with electronic music was to be heard on highly-praised albums; his debut ‘Englabörn’ (Touch, 2002), ‘Virðulegu Forsetar’ (Touch, 2004), ‘IBM 1401, A User’s Manual’ (4AD, 2006), ‘Fordlândia’ (4AD, 2008) and more recently ‘Orphée’ (DM, 2016).
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 Adam Wiltzie (A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Stars of the Lid), a close friend, and under the approving eye of Jóhannsson’s management, great care has been taken in selecting a programme, line-up, location and date. Touch is honoured to have been invited to provide the soundtrack (live) either side of the main event.
THE PROGRAMME: ‘VIRÐULEGU FORSETAR’
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 first was at Ultima, Oslo and then in the famous Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik, the place where Jóhann’s funeral was 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’ (130701, 2011).
There’s no such thing as coincidence, as even the date has been chosen with care. On September 19 Jóhannsson would have turned 49