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Robert Markow
Fanfare, January 2017

Langnaetti (Winter Darkness) in particular sticks in the memory for its air of bleak austerity, menacing gestures and tough, astringent harmonies, much like what William Schuman was writing in his later years (even to the extent of incorporating extended timpani solos).

Performances by the Iceland Symphony are first-rate, and Ondine’s sound is predictably outstanding. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Tom Moore
American Record Guide, January 2017

This is important, serious, deep thinking; and the performances are as fine as could be wished. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Stephen Greenbank
MusicWeb International, October 2016

Johannes Gustavsson has utter commitment to Nordal’s music and directs the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in visionary performances, where the rewards are immense. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Mellor
Gramophone, October 2016

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra offers eloquence, focus and quality… © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2016

Born in Iceland in 1926, but with his mature musical education taking place in central Europe, Jón Nordal has followed a career as composer, pianist and teacher. It would be easy to classify his works as mainstream post-Second Viennese School, and he would welcome a reference to the influences of Hindemith and Webern. The disc covers his orchestral works over a sixteen year period starting in 1966, and is described in the accompanying booklet as the core of his creative life, a life that has so often been overcome with self-doubt. The earliest work is the Adagio for flute, harp, piano and strings from 1966, and shows a free use of atonality, the ‘solo’ parts used as a decoration of the already thinly scored orchestral part. The early 1970’s opens with Leiosla, a transcendental score inspired by an ode to the sun whose brilliant rays can break through clouds. Scored for a large orchestra, only momentarily used as such, it is a transparent vision whose warmth never develops. Epitafion is a long and slow lament at the loss of a dear friend, and here Nordal returns briefly to the world of tonality and melody. The trio from that period is completed by Langnætti (Winter Darkness) a work that moves even closer to yesteryear with discernible thematic melody. The disc opens with his most internationally acclaimed score, Choralis, from 1982, his tonal palette having become more mellow and accessible, the orchestral writing both brilliant and outgoing. Nordal will be delighted with the assured playing of the Iceland Symphony directed by the Swedish conductor, Johannes Gustavsson. The sound quality is superb. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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