Reykjavik Chamber Orchestra
Ragnhild Heiland S¢rensen (soprano), Pórunn Osk Marinósdóttor (viola), Thorleif Thedéen (cello)
Much of Haflidi's most characteristic output deploys strings alone, as in the three concerto-like works here. The oldest is Rima (1993), where concerto and cantata merge in an atmospheric setting of a Michelangelo sonnet. The distinct tinge of the Italianate in some of the vocal writing is achieved via suggestion rather than quotation and is beautifully sung by Ragnhild Heiland S¢rensen, accompanied by the Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra under Bernhardour Wilkinson.
Herma (1994; the name derives from a bust of Hermes used in ancient Greece as a good luck charm) and Ombra (1999; 'shadow') are both single-span concertos, for cello and viola respectively, both constructed compellingly from chains of inter-related episodes. Once again, Haflidi's lyrical gift and sheer facility for string writing shines through (no surprise for so accomplished a cellist). Both soloists wear the music like a glove and the accompaniments are again splendid, as is Smekkleysa's sound. An excellent disc.
Guy Rickards, Nordic Sounds, 8/1/2005