Two masterful symphonies and a new Icelandic violin concerto, with Una Sveinbjarnardóttir performing.
Sergei Prokofiev: Symphony no. 1
Þuríður Jónsdóttir: Violin Concerto, premiere
Johannes Brahms: Symphony no. 2
This programme pairs two enduringly popular symphonies with the premiere of a new Icelandic violin concerto. The young Sergei Prokofiev dubbed his first symphony the “Classical”, referring to his generous use of gestures from Haydn and Mozart, despite the work’s overall 20th-century flavour.
Johannes Brahms’ lyrical and upbeat Symphony no. 2 is regarded as his most cheerful symphony. Icelandic composer Jón Ásgeirsson described it as “chock-full of melodies that sing themselves straight into one’s soul.” These two bright and optimistic symphonies provide the perfect prelude to a lovely summer.
Þuríður Jónsdóttir explores novel soundscapes in her works, which have garnered international attention in recent years. Many of her pieces are supported by electronic sounds, while others feature theatrical elements, sounds from nature, or participation from the audience. One of her most recent works was premiered in Walt Disney Concert Hall in February 2020, to rave reviews. On this programme is a brand-new violin concerto she wrote for Una Sveinbjarnardóttir, third concert master with the Iceland Symphony. Una is nationally known for her inspired playing, both as soloist and as a member of the Siggi String Quartet, which has drawn deserved acclaim. On her solo performance with the orchestra a few years ago, the music critic from Fréttablaðið said it was characterised by “exemplary professionalism, lyrical expression and artistry, and technical brilliance.”
Daníel Bjarnason has developed an outstanding reputation as composer and conductor in recent years. He recently conducted a concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and he conducted the Iceland Symphony on its tour of Germany and Austria in autumn 2019, with splendid results.
Further information on the concert can be found on the Iceland Symphony Orchestra website.