Black Castles

Black Castles


brass partout,
conducted by Hermann Bäumer (BIS-CD-1354)
By kind permission of Bis Records

Composed in April 2002, this work was commissioned by the German virtuoso brass ensemble brasspartout and is dedicated to them.
The music was stimulated by a visit to Dimmuborgir (“black castles”), an extraordinary and remote place in the north of Iceland. Formed a mere 2,000 years ago, it is a lava field full of strange, twisted rock formations. Some of the shapes are evocative: a mountain peak with a hole in the middle; a vaulted Gothic cathedral…

Though stark in appearance, these formations create a natural shelter from the harsh Icelandic wind and rain and its craggy splendour is softened by abundant vegetation. The place is therefore both forbidding and inviting; harsh and comforting.

This piece attempts to convey some of those contrasting impressions.


John Pickard