The Redundancy of the Angelic: An Interluding Play is the debut recording from Anna Heflin, a composer, writer and violist who voraciously 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 voices represent 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 in from in nature from her window in Los Angeles, like the way spiders build webs, how various birds flock, as well as breath patterns from a 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 Nov. 2019 to Sept. 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. Heflin graduated with a Master’s in music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Since 2018, she’s studied composition with Eric Wubbels, a co-director of the innovative composer-performer collective Wet Ink Ensemble, which was named “Best Classical Music Ensemble of 2018” by The New York Times. Her compositions have been performed at Bang on A Can, Banff Centre, the San Francisco Conservatory and elsewhere. Before COVID-19 she maintained an active career as a NYC-based freelance violist performing at wide-ranging venues including the Metropolitan Opera, National Sawdust, Roulette Intermedium and Carnegie Hall. She also writes about  music and is the owner and co-editor of the site Which Sinfonia. She lives in Brooklyn.

The album artwork by Los Angeles-based artist Nichole Fitch was commissioned by Heflin specifically for this project, who writes: “While Nichole has gone in the direction of the visual arts and has always been immensely talented in that area, as a kid she also played the cello. We were close friends as children and she was my first duet partner, we spent many afternoons finding fairies in our backyards and playing string duos. When I saw one of her red fairies after completing the album, I knew that she would be the perfect person to collaborate with for the cover. Upon listening to the album, she shared that it was ‘full of sweet dreams and nightmares, like the pulling of taffy.’ I feel that this stunning piece of art captures those same sentiments.”

Anna Heflin pc Molly Heller

Heflin_pc Brittany Beljak

IMAGES: To download, click above. Portrait photo credit to Molly Heller. Landscape photo credit to Brittany Beljak.


Infrequent Seams
Which Sinfonia