Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson pays tribute to the master of minimal music, Philip Glass, who turns 80 on January 31, 2017. Ólafsson was one of a handful of young pianists selected by Glass to perform all of his Etudes together in London, and the reviews were ecstatic. The Financial Times claimed, “Best of all was Ólafsson in the super sensitive stillness of Etude 5”. In addition to the Etudes for solo piano, the album includes reworks of the originals for piano and string quartet.
Ólafsson’s interpretations inhabit a unique, distinct and extraordinary world all their own. It is tempting to draw comparison with Glenn Gould here. Like Gould, Ólafsson possesses that rare gift of illuminating a familiar work in unexpected ways, revealing hidden depths and drawing out its best qualities. In Glass’s music, each repetition is enriched by subtle changes in colour, voice-leading, and articulation, as if Ólafsson were continually refreshing the page on his musical server.