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As a concert programme for a sacred space, this seems perfectly conceived. Opening with James MacMillan and John Tavener, interleaving Eric Whitacre and closing with Arvo Pärt (though a bit odd to have two consecutive Nunc Dimittis – Hreidar Ingi’s as well) gives the programme an air of familiarity and opens the way for works by Icelandic composers who’ll be less well-known away from home. The singers have a distinctive timbre, with strength held in reserve on almost every item. It creates an impression, familiar from the Icelandic church, of sacred power as well as mystery. Hör ur Áskelsson includes a piece of his own, one of two in the set called Hvíld, that helps to establish an air of wakeful rest and spiritual readiness.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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