Maria Huld Markan SIGFÚSDÓTTIR (b. 1980)
Clockworking, violin, viola, cello, electronics (2013)[7:37]
Hildur GUðNADÓTTIR (b. 1982)
2 Circles, violin (2013)[5:20]
Hafdis BJARNADÓTTIR (b. 1977)
From Beacon to Beacon, violin, cello, harpsichord, electronics (2011)[5:43]
Thurídur JÓNSDÓTTIR (b. 1967)
Inni – Musica da Camera, violin, electronics(2013) [8:09]
Shades of Silence, violin, viola, cello, harpsichord (2012) [7:34]
Maria Huld Markan SIGFÚSDÓTTIR
Sleeping Pendulum, violin, electronics (2010)[10:06]
Nordic Affect (Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir (violin), Guðrún Hrund Harðardóttir (viola), Hanna Loftsdóttir (cello), Guðrun Óskarsdóttir (harpsichord))
rec. RÚV studios. No dates given
SONO LUMINUS SLE-70001 [44:31]

Nordic Affect is an Icelandic group of period instrument musicians. They appear with a diverse range of artists including The English Concert, Concerto Copenhagen and Björk. Here they perform newly written works by five youngish female compatriots. The music is experimental and involves electronics in four of the six works, but roots in tradition are easily detectable.

In Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir’s Clockworking, those roots are derived from Nordic folk music fiddling. The music is repetitive but hypnotic. At times it sounds Medieval. The title, I believe, refers to a ticking sound that runs through the composition. Hildur Guðnadóttir’s 2 Circles is for solo violin with vocals and when the violin plays double-stops, which happens every so often, we hear three-tone chords: beautiful.

In Hafdis Bjarnadóttir’s From Beacon to Beacon we are taken on a sailing tour. We hear dramatic water and wind sounds, and there are also birds. The harpsichord creates interesting sounds and the string instruments are at times played pizzicato, and sometimes with glissandi. There are short repeated motifs. Inni – Musica da Camera is written for solo violin and electronics and the electronics are apparently “made of an infant’s murmur”, against which the baroque violin weaves frail threads. This is music where silence is an important ingredient. The title, Inni, is Icelandic and means “inside”. It is a fragmentary piece with very little in the way of movement and dynamic contrast.

Shades of Silence, on the contrary contains very little silence. It is the most “busy” of the six works. Silences appear just at the end. A drone is heard practically throughout Sleeping Pendulum. The solo violin part is intense and alive and sometimes embellished in baroque fashion.

I have returned to this disc on a couple of occasions and I can’t honestly say I have digested it completely but it has grown in stature and I hope to hear more of these composers. The playing is top-notch and the recording ditto. The playing time is rather short.

Göran Forsling

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