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Gubaidulina and Rachmaninoff II – Iceland Symphony Orchestra

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An assembly ban has been imposed in Iceland due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and all concerts by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra are cancelled until April 13. Please note that ticket holders can exchange their tickets for other orchestra concerts later in the season. Should this not be feasible, the tickets can be refunded through the Harpa Ticket Office. See here.

One of Sofia Gubaidulina’s newest works, the Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Bayan (a Russian chromatic button accordion) was written in 2017 for the Boston Symphony. The performance of Iceland Symphony Orchestra in Eldborg hall features the premiering soloists for the piece, which was lauded by critics who called it one of Gubaidulina’s most remarkable compositions. Gubaidulina says the work is inspired by the number three, including the concept of the Holy Trinity, both in form and in its triadic texture.

Violinist Baiba Skride has previously performed twice with the Iceland Symphony, with outstanding results. About her spring 2018 appearance, the critic from Fréttablaðið said, “her tone is exceptionally beautiful and her technique awe-inspiring.” Dutch cellist Harriet Krijgh, a faculty member at the Music and Arts University in Vienna, has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras. Swiss accordionist Elsbeth Moser has specialised in performing the works of Gubaidulina, who often writes for the bayan, a Russian chromatic button accordion. Her recordings have been highly praised in the world media.

The music of Rachmaninoff preserved the spirit of the Late Romantic until well into the 20th century. Rachmaninoff is best known for his impassioned piano music, but his orchestral works are no less magnificent. The Symphonic Dances were the last piece he completed before his death, a spirited, brilliantly orchestrated work inspired in part by Russian church music.

Tonight’s Russian-themed programme is prefaced by a string composition by Páll Ragnar Pálsson, who studied in Estonia. Yfirráðandi kyrrð [Supremacy of Peace] was premiered by the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra to rave reviews and went on to be selected for submittal to the International Rostrum of Composers — on behalf of Estonia.

Páll Ragnar Pálsson Yfirráðandi kyrrð
Sofia Gubaidulina Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Bayan
Sergei Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances

Olari Elts

Baiba Skride
Harriet Krijgh
Elsbeth Moser