- Audio CD (April 7 2017)
- Number of Discs: 2
- Label: Sono Luminus
- ASIN: B06XD1KGQ5
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #59,725 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Recurrence [1 CD + 1 BluRay Audio Disc]
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The Iceland Symphony Orchestra is widely praised for its performances and recordings and concerts devoted to modern music. Since 2011, the orchestra's home has been Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik. Daniel Bjarnason is the orchestra's Artist-in-Residence and is active in a variety of roles as conductor, composer, and educator. Daniel Bjarnason's composer and conducting takes him around the world working with amongst others the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Rambert Dance Company, Britten Sinfonia, So Percussion and the Calder Quartet. Daniel's first opera for the Danish National Opera in Aarhus, Brothers, will be premiered in August, 2017. As well as composing her own music, Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir has performed music around the world with her band, amiina, as well as recorded and collaborated with a range of other bands and artists. Anna Thorvaldsdottir works with large sonic structures that reveal the presence of a vast variety of sustained sound materials, reflecting her sense of imaginative listening to landscapes and nature. Thurídur Jónsdóttir has frequently tacked the relation between acoustic and electronic sounds. In that regard we might mention INNI - musica da camera for baroque violin and sound curtains of an infant murmur, Flutter for flute, orchestra and field recordings of insects and Winter for voice and electronics. Hlynur A. Vilmarsson has enjoyed a diverse career in music, be it as a member of Icelandic rock bands or the composers' collective s.l.a.t.u.r. Infused with a passion for experimentation, his work has also extended to the realm of technology within the platform of LornaLab.
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I wondered what would come from this part of the world. While I believe it fits, and I didn't really know what to expect, it doesn't match my expectation either. Sounds contrary, but it is the best explanation I can give.
Now, let me be practical. What will most people hear if they listen to this? My prediction would be: is this a movie soundtrack? Considering many were raised on WB and H-B cartoons that used orchestral work in the background, that is not a stretch. To be more specific though, many passages were evocative of 80's era sci-fi. Alien and some Jerry Goldsmith work in Star Trek in particular. Not the bolder action sequences, but in the build up phases of the movies. I hope that doesn't sound like criticism. I always liked that music.
If you want the 1812 overture or the William Tell overture, this may not be for you. If you want to relax in the evening and let yourself be absorbed into the imagery, then consider it.
Wow! Even as a writer with an avowed fondness for music from the Nordic regions I am pleased to say that I am just stunned at this recording. This is all new music written in the last few years by Icelandic composers and performed by the Iceland Symphony which seems well prepared to handle these large works.
These seven tracks document five works by living composers and, I dare say, rising stars in the classical orchestral realm as well. Only one of these composers is likely to ring a bell in all but a few listeners and that is Anna Thorvaldsdottir, probably the best known musician from Iceland since Björk. And it is worth noting that three of the five works are by female composers.
There is a consistency in the large orchestral sounds from these composers that provide a unity for the listener and a challenge for the recording engineers. In fact this is ideal to show off the sonic facility of the Sono Luminus label and the skills of producer Dan Merceruio and recording engineer Daniel Shores. This is the sort of album that stereo salons use to show off the range of their amps and speakers. It is indeed thrilling to hear and the better your sound system, the more exciting this will be. Those blessed with Blue Ray Audio capability will doubtless get the best sound of all. Both standard CD and Blue Ray Audio discs are included in this package.
In order of appearance the composers are: Thurídur Jónsdóttir (1967- ), Hlynur Vilmarsson, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir (1980- ), Daniel Bjarnason (1979- ), and Anna Thorvaldsdottir (1977- ). Bjarnason is also the very capable conductor of the Iceland Symphony in this recording.
The music, Flow and Fusion, bd, Aequora, Emergence (three movements), and Dreaming are not given composition dates but are presumably recent compositions by these young artists. There are liner notes which are useful to the listener but the main point here seems to be the glorious sound. One hears influence and/or homage to some of the great sonic experimenters of the late 1950s and 60s like Penderecki, Xenakis, Lutoslawski and probably some Icelandic composers whose works have yet to be heard outside of Iceland.
The album has the notation below the title of "ISO Project 1" so here's hoping that there will be at least a second volume and that we be given the opportunity to hear more from the rich musical landscape of Iceland. Bravo! Brava! Keep it coming.