The Sono Luminus label is home to many thrilling, acclaimed recordings featuring music written and performed by Icelandic artists, as well as spectacular recordings of more traditional fare by the Baltimore Consort, Jory Vinikour, and Bruce Levingston. Some of our favorite Sono Luminus releases of 2020 and 2021, featured below, are on sale right now for a limited time.
(Sale ends at midnight ET, 8/17/21.)
No country on earth has reinvented the language of the symphony orchestra on such distinctive and locally relevant terms as the Iceland Symphony’s now complete, three-disc survey (‘Recurrence’, ‘Concurrence’, and now ‘Occurrence’) reveals.
Kristinsson’s style blends elements of tonality, atonality, New Simplicity, and postmodernist techniques. The recorded sound matches the often coruscating textures and the luminous virtuosity of the performers. You will not regret investigating this music.
The inclusion of both vocal and instrumental tracks makes for a satisfyingly balanced presentation. Played with historical performance accuracy and 21st century pizzazz, this is a revealing and often toe-tapping thing to treasure.
This is wonderful, sometimes even great, Bach playing. There is no doubting the brightness and breeziness of the Italian Concerto's opening Allegro, but what is most impressive is Vinikour’s ability to create a convincing Adagio.
This album's program is delightfully varied, the music ranging from John Dowland to the Allman Brothers, and beyond. Falling into a class of pandemic-time recordings where musicians rediscovered the enjoyment of home music-making, this is an unusually satisfying example of the genre.
His playing is, as ever, exquisite, his touch and phrasing impeccable. The greatest pleasure, however, lies simply in witnessing Levingston's artistry in play and attending to the music's nuanced unfolding in his hands.
Caeli is all-encompassing and astonishing in a literal sense; at once it can be monolithic and elastic, dark and luminous, purposeful and daydreaming, bold and terrified, triumphant and sad. It’s all on these discs.
This re-boot of Rhízōma is unmissable. Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s music might well oscillate between extremes of sensitivity and ferocity, but hers is an utterly independent and authentic voice.
In this quartet of contemporary works, you’ll find Haukur Tomasson’s Second Piano Concerto, featuring Vikingur Olafsson. And it offers a recording, at last, of Ms. Thorvaldsdottir’s “Metacosmos”, which in its brief running time seems to ebb and flow on a cosmic scale.
Though the depth and beauty of these works are unmatched when heard on cello, as heard here on viola their brighter elements are particularly well highlighted, resulting in a disc that cannot supplant the many fine cello versions but supplements and complements them to excellent effect.
A deeply cinematic score at times, this album is often transporting with great lift, giving the listener long opportunities to soar, bird-like, over the Icelandic landscape and beyond.
There is genuine intrigue in hearing how, in "Stara", a work inspired by the accordion, the composer uses string instruments to replicate the sounds of distinctive extended contemporary accordion techniques.
The quiet virtuosity of both the writing and playing is a joy to hear. Quietly spectacular scores, beautifully played and recorded; a most desirable issue.
These five understated works are extremely delicate, finely detailed affairs. Collectively they provide evidence of a composer as sensitive to the microscopic as he is awed by the monolithic, and whose deft craftsmanship shines through in every bar.
These are wonderful works; the structure and emotional heft they possess are explored by the duo with remarkable sensitivity and thoroughness — and with instrumental sound that is, in and of itself, a real joy to hear.
This EP contains less than 10 minutes of music, but what beautiful music it is!