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At-A-Glance

Composed: 2019

About this Piece

An orange body that weighs as much as the tiniest needle pin. Yet, a brain equipped with a solar compass and a circannual clock, preserving memory through generations. Also steering the 3,000-mile distance, it flutters in for two months each autumn, all the way from Canada to Mexico. A trip it has been doing for millions of years and, hopefully but not at all certainly, for years to come. High up in a Mexican mountain forest, tens of millions of Monarch butterflies rest and chill during the wintertime. With the warmth of the sunlight in the spring, they wake up. As they start shivering, preparing to move back home again, this lot of fluttering bodies makes a subtle but overwhelming and incredibly beautiful sound mass.

The piece is inspired by this little mythic although real being. Studying its biography awakes various musical reflections and connections, not only to sound, flow, and figures, but time and memory as well.

Thurídur Jónsdóttir

Field recording of Monarch butterflies made at the Cerro Pelón Monarch butterfly reserve in March 2019 by Rob Mackay.