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Three of Iceland Symphony’s concerts this season will feature pairings of two Russian masters. Sergei Rachmaninoff was one of the leading composers of the Late Romantic, and Sofia Gubaidulina ranks among the most respected composers of today.
The Friday Series kicks off with chamber music performed by members of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. The programme includes two early works by the featured composers — pieces that put their musical gifts on full display. Rachmaninoff’s first piano trio, written when the composer was only 19 years old, is in many respects a harbinger of his later work. The music is mystical and melancholy but full of passion as well.
This is the first Icelandic performance of Gubaidulina’s masterful Piano Quintet, composed in 1957 under strong influence from Shostakovich and Prokofiev. A powerful, eminently accessible work, it is considered by many to be the most interesting Russian chamber work of the 20th century. Shortly after its premiere, Gubaidulina was reprimanded by examination judges at the Conservatory for having abandoned the “correct path” of Soviet orthodoxy in her music. She had hardly put a foot out the door of the classroom when Shostakovich drew her aside and whispered: “My wish for you is that you should continue on your own incorrect path.”
Concerts in the Friday Series are about an hour long and provide the perfect warm-up to a relaxing weekend.
Sergei Rachmaninoff Trio élégiaque no. 1
Sofia Gubaidulina Piano Quintet
Nicola Lolli, Sigurgeir Agnarsson and Anna Guðný Guðmundsdóttir Piano Trio
Sigrún Eðvaldsdóttir, Gregory Aronovich, Bryndís Halla Gylfadóttir and Anna Guðný Guðmundsdóttir Piano Quintet