Haflidi Hallgrímsson: Music for Solo Piano

Haflidi Hallgrímsson: Music for Solo Piano

by Simon Smith
     
 
Although composer Haflithi Hallgrímsson is Icelandic, he has spent most of his years in Scotland where he was a longtime member of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, leaving his post in 1983 to concentrate on composing. The British Isles also have proven a major source of influence on Hallgrímsson's music, and his studies with

Overview

Although composer Haflithi Hallgrímsson is Icelandic, he has spent most of his years in Scotland where he was a longtime member of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, leaving his post in 1983 to concentrate on composing. The British Isles also have proven a major source of influence on Hallgrímsson's music, and his studies with Peter Maxwell Davies and Alan Bush are a significant part of the bedrock that informs Hallgrímsson's impressive skill set as a composer. Hallgrímsson is primarily known for his "Cello Concerto, Op. 30," and for his works for string orchestra, but he has also composed a not inconsiderable body of music for solo piano, which is heard as performed by young Scottish pianist Simon Smith on Delphian's Haflithi Hallgrímsson: Music for Solo Piano. The works chronologically range from 1971's "Five Pieces," composed while Hallgrímsson was still a student with Maxwell Davies, to 2008 for the last composed movement in "Homage to Mondrian," although some of the material in "Bagatelles" (2007) goes back to 1963. One problem with this collection is that so much of the music is derivative, an aspect of his work to which Hallgrímsson admits, although the extent to which his music sounds like something heard before might well rest with each individual listener. Certainly the approach of Béla Bartók is evident in many of the short movements that typically make up the sets here, and Hallgrímsson's reliance on scalar motion in some passages almost approaches the point where one thinks, "alright, now we're practicing scales." While the back cover blurb informs us that "Hallgrímsson is a master of the epigrammatic miniature," some of these very brief pieces seem a bit undernourished, as if they had somewhere further to go, but Hallgrímsson lopped them off early. On the upside, there are individual movements that have properties of charm and demonstrate that Hallgrímsson is more than a mere dabbler or composer of teaching pieces, such as the inspired and jazzy "Ávalit saman" that concludes "Fley" (1968-2007). So Delphian's Haflithi Hallgrímsson: Music for Solo Piano is a mixed bag, though Smith's performances appear to be authoritative; Delphian's sound is clear and direct, though a little glassy sounding in loud passages.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/25/2008
Label:
Delphian
UPC:
0801918340512
catalogNumber:
34051
Rank:
312353

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Fley, for piano  - Hafliði Hallgrímsson  - Simon Smith
  2. Sketches in Time, for piano  - Hafliði Hallgrímsson  - Simon Smith
  3. Bagatelles, for piano  - Hafliði Hallgrímsson  - Simon Smith
  4. Pieces (5), for piano  - Hafliði Hallgrímsson  - Simon Smith
  5. Pieces (10), for piano  - Hafliði Hallgrímsson  - Simon Smith
  6. Icelandic Folksongs (4), for piano  - Hafliði Hallgrímsson  - Simon Smith
  7. Homage to Mondrian, for piano  - Hafliði Hallgrímsson  - Simon Smith

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