Anna Heflin ’17 releases debut album

Anna Heflin SFCM '22 headshot

Photo Credit: Molly Heller

The SFCM alum’s work is now available digitally.

Composer, writer, and violist Anna Heflin (MM ’17) has released her debut album entitled “The Redundancy of the Angelic: An Interluding Play,” featuring violin, viola, and spoken text.

The album explores the interplay between music and text. From scratchy dissonant swells created by indistinguishable violin and viola lines that recall Bartok’s first string quartet to intimacies read by a close-miked Heflin beginning with: “I’m sitting on a galaxy. Stars and moons blanket the deep red spa chairs. I rest on constellations. Space itself supports me. Luna lifts me,” this interluding play delves equally into the lofty and banal, the uncanny and mundane. Text and sound wind around themselves with each line, whether spoken or bowed, in constant dialogue and of equal importance, with spoken and played narratives never overlapping. Indeed, this form of an interluding play is an invention of Heflin herself.

The combination of violin and viola represents friendship, recalling the underrated Mozart violin/viola duos K. 423-424. It’s a self-referential work, which oscillates between the serious and absurd, and springs from many observations Heflin took while quarantining in Los Angeles, like the way spiders build webs, how various birds flock, as well as breath patterns from hot yoga breathwork. In “Redundancy” Heflin investigates the “repetitions in our daily lives that we use to create our own space,” those most ordinary tasks that make up our day-to-day, and the interactions with those closest to us. She connects those daily patterns to larger historical cycles to contemplate the way things repeat again and again, on both myopic and monumental scales.

Featuring Heflin as narrator and on viola, the work also features violinists Shannon Reilly and Emily Holden. It was written from November 2019 to September 2020, in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles, with the bulk composed in Los Angeles this past summer, the text referring to this apocalyptic angel of oceans, freeways, fires, and nail salons.

Learn more and hear moments from the album.