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This is a fascinating but ultimately frustrating glimpse into new Icelandic music. The oldest composer here is 61-year-old Ragnhildur Gísladóttir, who has emerged recently as a significant artist, and the youngest is Snorri Hallgrímsson, who is only 28. All were allowed to work with the choir right through the rehearsal/concert/recording process. The problem is that one wants to hear a whole set of pieces by each of them. Stylistically, the music is very diverse, with inputs from folk, film and electronic backgrounds, and, apart from the psalm-derived title piece by Páll Ragnar Pálsson, mostly secular. Texts come from the national bard Halldór Laxness (winner of the 1955 Nobel Prize for literature) but also, in Bára Grímsdóttir’s A Young Man’s Song, from William Blake. This is the fifth CD by SICC and they’re best when they focus on a single composer, whether Guðmundur Gottskálksson or Sir John Tavener. Great singing, though.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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