A New York Times 25 Best Classical Track Selection for 2019
“I am both very proud and excited to bring out the second volume of this recording project dedicated to bringing the orchestral sound world of Icelandic composers to the ears of the world. This album also represents the ongoing wonderful collaboration between the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and Sono Luminus. These recordings, with the orchestra sat in a circle and me conducting in the middle, have been an unusual adventure for us all; challenging and exciting at the same time. The whole team at Sono Luminus have been extremely dedicated and ambitious throughout, working hard to bring this music to recording in the best and most immersive way possible today.”Read more (Daniel Bjarnason) “Can you hear a country in its music? I posed that question only a few years ago, while contemplating the five recent orchestral works by leading young Icelandic composers that comprised Recurrence, the previous volume of this invaluable, illuminating Sono Luminus series. Pondering those pieces with a visit to Iceland still vivid in my mind’s eye, I likened aspects of the music at hand to elements of land and sky, climate and atmosphere—an approach not without merit, but surely not the sole dimension worth contemplating. Two of the composers featured on that previous album are also present in this second collection, Concurrence. Hearing Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Metacosmos and María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir’s Oceans in close proximity, it’s hard not to consider once more the natural features of Iceland…” (Steve Smith)
The Sono Luminus follow-up to the 2017 CD Recurrence affords listeners an invaluable preview and a golden opportunity to hear new works from Anna Thorvaldsdóttir, Haukur Tómasson, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir and Páll Ragnar Pálsson as performed by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Daniel Bjarnason. Concurrence reminds us of Daniel Bjarnason’s consumate skill as a conductor. In his capable hands, the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra triggers its own tectonic shift. This album is where to turn to hear tomorrow’s music today.
– A Closer Listen (A Home for Instrumental & Experimental Music)
In this quartet of contemporary works, you’ll find Haukur Tomasson’s Second Piano Concerto (the best way to hear Vikingur Olafsson on an album this year). And it offers a recording, at last, of Ms. Thorvaldsdottir’s “Metacosmos” (2017), which in its brief running time seems to ebb and flow on a cosmic scale.
Another winnerDecember 20, 2019By Paul R. (Warwick, NY)See All My Reviews"I loved Volume 1, and this new one picks right up. I love the last track, Quake. Made my speakers dance when I listened to in 5.1"Report Abuse
More outstanding orchestral music from IcelandDecember 3, 2019By Dean Frey See All My Reviews"Five years ago we moved from the Prairies to Canada's Banana Belt: Southern Vancouver Island. That means horrific cold weather and tornados are a thing of the past, but we don't live a worry-free life by any means. No one here can (or at least should) ignore the very good chance of a devastating earthquake happening at any time. Indeed, Victoria is right in the sweet spot for the coming Big One. So Páll Ragnar Pálssons Quake scared the bejesus out of me. It's performed here, by Daniel Bjarnason and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, with such urgent presence that even someone on more solid ground is apt to feel at least uncomfortable. All four of these fairly long pieces present the primeval forces that made, and continue to re-make, this amazing island in the North Atlantic. Besides its outstanding physical beauty, Iceland is well known for an astounding range of world-class artists of all sorts, in the performing, literary and visual arts. The painter Gudrun Kristjansdottir is a good example; her 1999 painting "Red Hillside" is featured on the cover of this new 2-disc release, the second in Sono Luminus's ISO Project of Icelandic orchestral music. The only composer I know of the four on this album is Anna Thorvaldsdóttir. Her Metacosmos was premiered by the New York Philharmonic in 2018, and was also featured in last summer's Proms. This new recording is another step on the way to its becoming a 21st Century orchestral classic. María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir's Oceans is a natural extension of Thorvaldsdóttir's schema into the vast seas. Finally, Haukur Tómasson's Piano Concerto No. 2 fits well with the other three works. The piano part has more of an obligato role than a virtuosic one, and the music textures have so much interest, which it shares with the rest of the entire hour-plus in this fascinating release."Report Abuse