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Icelandic Violin Duos / Duo Landon

Davidsson / Icelandic Violin Duos / Steinsson
Release Date: 03/12/2013 
Label:  Msr   Catalog #: 1449   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Elias DavissonElias DavidssonThorkell SigurbjornssonFinnur Stefánsson,   ... 
Performer:  Martin FrewerHilif Sigurjónsdóttir
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Landon
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



ICELANDIC VIOLIN DUOS Dúó Landon (vn) MSR 1449 (61:10)


DAVÍDSSON Violin Duets. SIGURBJÖRNSSON Icelandic Folksongs. STEFÁNSSON Dísulag III. RÚNARSDÓTTIR Ten Images for Two Violins. TÓMASSON Read more class="ARIAL12bi">Furioso. SVEINSSON Spring is Here


Violinists Hlif Sigurjonsdottir and Martin Frewer, the members of Dúó Landon, live in Iceland and play instruments made by French luthier Christophe Landon. In 1941, Elias Davidsson was born in Palestine to German Jewish parents. His father’s name was David Kahn. Many years later, when Elias became an Icelandic citizen, he changed Kahn to Davidsson in accordance with Icelandic tradition. He wrote the duets on this disc to be teaching material, but they are much too charming not to grace the concert hall. Iceland has a long tradition of folk music and some of it has remained almost unchanged since the 14th century. Some of its best-known folk dances, called Vikivaki, are still performed at holiday celebrations. Thorkell Sigurbjörnsson arranged a collection of these songs and dances for two violins. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find the stories behind many of them. There are two versions of the best-known text, Ólafur Liljurós, on tracks 13 and 16, each of which dates back into antiquity. The story tells of a young man who rides out on horseback to meet his mother. En route, he is seduced, kissed, and eventually stabbed to death by an elf woman. Despite the sad ending, the music invites people to stay warm by whirling around in an energetic dance.


Dísulag III provides a change of pace. Composed by Finnur Torfi Stefánsson, a lawyer and former member of the Icelandic Parliament, it is an eloquent, sad song with astringent harmonies, played in a minor key. Hildigunnur Rúnarsdóttir, a student of Thorkell Sigurbjörnsson, wrote Ten Images for Two Violins . She gives the listener some 21st-century versions of the usually upbeat traditional Icelandic folk music. Some of the Images are slower and more tranquil works, but it is the spirited and lively ones that are the most fun to hear. Her Allegretto is played pizzicato and has the sound of melting icicles dripping onto the ground in a thaw. Her Andante starts out as a canon but evolves into dissonance, while her Moderato e Dolce brings us back to the inviting world of folk dance. She caps Images off with a fast and melodious finale that makes you want to hear more of her work. I found the next piece, Jónas Tómasson’s Furioso , a bit of a disappointment because instead of being an inviting dance that causes the participants to whirl until they drop, its music is simply acerbic and dissonant. Atli Heimir Sveinsson’s Spring is Here is a six-movement window into Icelandic life. Obviously, there is a serious reason to celebrate the coming of warmer weather in Iceland. The two pieces that he labels Quasi Folk Music are surprisingly slow, but their delicious harmonies are shot through with bright, glinting tones. Other movements marked Vivo and Con Brio have much more energetic tempos. The most interesting movement is the third. In it the composer tells the players to start together and finish independently. It’s all a bit wild and a great deal of fun. The finale, said to be nameless by the composer, is almost a dark lullaby for adults. It lulls the listener into a calm state and then simply drifts away. I loved the clarity of the sound on this disc and I recommend it to lovers of folk music and nature lovers who, like me, have enjoyed a visit to that fascinating island in the far north.


FANFARE: Maria Nockin
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Works on This Recording

1. Thousand and One Nights by Elias Davidsson
Performer:  Martin Frewer (Violin), Hilif Sigurjónsdóttir (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Landon
2. Flirtation by Elias Davisson
Performer:  Martin Frewer (Violin), Hilif Sigurjónsdóttir (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Landon
3. Diver’s Ragtime by Elias Davidsson
Performer:  Martin Frewer (Violin), Hilif Sigurjónsdóttir (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Landon
4. Dance of the Veils by Elias Davidsson
Performer:  Martin Frewer (Violin), Hilif Sigurjónsdóttir (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Landon
5. Children’s Game by Elias Davidsson
Performer:  Martin Frewer (Violin), Hilif Sigurjónsdóttir (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Landon
6. Mikis & Yannis by Elias Davidsson
Performer:  Martin Frewer (Violin), Hilif Sigurjónsdóttir (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Landon
7. Winter’s Hardship by Elias Davidsson
Performer:  Martin Frewer (Violin), Hilif Sigurjónsdóttir (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Landon
8. Disa's Song by Finnur Stefánsson
Performer:  Martin Frewer (Violin), Hilif Sigurjónsdóttir (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Landon
9. Images (10) for 2 Violins by Hildigunnur Rúnarsdóttir
Performer:  Martin Frewer (Violin), Hilif Sigurjónsdóttir (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Landon
10. Furioso by Jónas Tómasson
Performer:  Martin Frewer (Violin), Hilif Sigurjónsdóttir (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Landon
11. Spring is Here by Atli Heimir Sveinsson
Performer:  Martin Frewer (Violin), Hilif Sigurjónsdóttir (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Landon
12. Icelandic Folk Songs (4) by Thorkell Sigurbjörnsson
Performer:  Martin Frewer (Violin), Hilif Sigurjónsdóttir (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Landon
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; Iceland 

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