Joanna Bailie's 1979: The crown jewel of Rainy Days Festival

About Joanna Bailie's 1979 at The rainy days Festival: review in TEMPO magazine

The crown jewel of the festival, however, was the co-premiere of Joanna Bailie's 1979, which captures the first year the composer has clear memories of from her childhood. This Proustian endeavour to seize the essence of one's early years through sound and image is not an easy one, but Bailie champions this with her typical slowly unfolding and evocative soundworld, perfectly captured by Ictus’ sensitivities. The warm, sonic embrace from omnidirectionally swelling strings and slowly descending antiphonal chains of thirds by the flute and clarinet lull us into a different feeling of time, readying us for the video element introduced to us at the midway point. Projected onto a large, hitherto concealed screen are subsequent black-and-white images of the composer's memories, glowing, blurring and fuzzing each in their own way. Almost dreamlike, they feel just on the cusp of reality, encapsulating the complex set of emotions one feels when recalling early childhood. Just like a child's word, the work is unabashedly honest in its simple and direct means, and of course its unapologetic yet always tasteful use of diatonicism. Through it, one has the sense of having peered into the composer's soul. Not often can that be said of contemporary composers!

Thierry Tidrow
Full article:
Rainy Days 2023, Philharmonie Luxembourg

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From the Ictus Press-Book