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Strauss and Bruckner

Iceland Symphony Orchestra

Enchanting songs from Strauss and a landmark work from Bruckner.

Outi Tarkiainen: Songs of the Ice
Richard Strauss: Four Last Songs
Anton Bruckner: Symphony no. 2

Eva Ollikainen

Marita Sølberg

Late Romantic intensity and lyricism set the tone for this Iceland Symphony Orchestra concert. Symphonic master Anton Bruckner wrote a total of 11 symphonies, but the second marked a turning point in his career. In Symphony no. 2, he found a world of sound that is like no other — thick and powerful. This magnificent work is now performed in Iceland for the first time.

Norwegian soprano Marita Sølberg has captivated audiences on both sides of the Atlantic in recent years. On her performance of La bohème in Oslo, Opera News called her “an unforgettable Mimì of the highest international standard.” She has appeared at festivals in Salzburg and Glyndebourne, and her performances at the Vienna Opera and La Fenice in Venice brought the house down. Another Norwegian critic called her “absolutely fantastic, her voice has such a wealth of nuance and fervency that she could make a stone move.” In Iceland she sings Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs, the last work Strauss completed, his reputation damaged after his struggles with the Nazi government during World War II. His compositional
gifts remained intact, however, and the Four Last Songs are among the most beautiful farewells to earthly life ever written.

The programme begins with a new work commissioned jointly by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Lapland-born Finnish composer Outi Tarkiainen has been highly praised for her music and was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2018. Her most recent work is inspired by Arctic ice and the slow rhythm of the changing seasons. Its sister work, Midnight Sun Variations, premiered in 2019 at the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, met with an enthusiastic response. ”It bursts with energy,” said the critic from The
Times in London, ” … very beautiful … her voice comes through strongly.”

Further information on the concert can be found on the Iceland Symphony Orchestra website.