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Lance G. Hill
The Classical Music Guide Forums, January 2008

How many composers from Iceland do we know or hear about with any regularity?. None that I can think of immediately. There is so much talk about hearing the new music of our time, and then one discovers a disc by this largely Romantic-period composer that is totally unknown, and one finds music that is at once delightful, highly individual, and music that leaves a distinct, positive impression in one's ears and mind.

Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson is Iceland's first composer. It is said the composer's music is "reflective of his personality, described by his contemporaries as vivacious and affectionate but temperamental at times.

This collection of Sveinbjörnsson's music is Naxos' tribute to the 160th anniversary of the composer. He was a student of Carl Reinecke in Leipzig for a couple of years, and it is felt this composer was highly influential in Sveinbjörnsson's own music. The pianist in this recording, Nína Margrét Grimsdóttir gives specific examples of comparisons along with excellent but brief liner notes.

Those who love unknown chamber music, somewhat in the melodic style of Felix Mendelssohn, will find piano trios and a violin sonata, not to mention piano pieces that are most rewarding. Again, all music that should be discovered by performing artists who are looking for something new to give their audiences from one of the greatest periods of musical writing.

Highly recommended for those who continue to search for fine treasures!

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