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CD Review

Atli Ingólfsson

  • The Elves' Accent (1998) for quintet
  • Object of Terror (2000) for ensemble of 14
  • HZH: String Quartet #1 (1999)
  • La métrique du cri (1996) for ensemble of 11
  • Flecte Lapis II (1998) for clarinet and keyboard sampler
Massimiliano Viel, keyboard
Gudni Franzson, clarinet
Atli Ingólfsson, electronics
Arditti String Quartet
Caput Ensemble
BIS CD-1298 71mins
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A major discovery and a true original, an Icelandic composer (b.1962) whose CD gave us pleasure enough to play it straight through twice. He was a student of Grisey and his studies led to his becoming intrigued with the world of spectral music. Atli Ingólfsson explains however: "I don't know where I am heading with my music, but it is quite clear that I am increasingly alien to the normal musical standards of classical chamber music".

He has a keen aural imagination and the textures are always alive and vibrant, whatever the instrumentation. There is a lightness and humour too (try his piece for clarinet and keyboard sampler) though impossible to put into words. The titles are not explained at all in the programme notes; he seems more interested in telling about the recording processes and the difference, as he perceives it, between live and recorded performance. I would rather he had shared some thoughts about his obscure titles and the music itself. He seems to imply that he might find that difficult and that he works to large extent intuitively.

No matter; it is an accessible and enjoyable disc and Bis should be congratulated on giving Atli Ingólfsson this extensive exposure.

Copyright © 2005, Peter Grahame Woolf