Last Song Before the News is a collaborative venture for violinist and composer Una Sveinbjarnardottir and pianist Tinna Þorsteinsdóttir. Both are distinguished members of the Icelandic musical community, Sveinbjarnardottir as a founding member of the Siggi String Quartet and Þorsteinsdóttir for her performance art, installations and work with contemporary composers.
Last Song’s conceptual framework refers to the final moment before knowledge of a life-changing, irreversible event and the longstanding tradition on Icelandic radio station Rás 1 on which a “last song before the news” was always played immediately preceding the noon news hour. The resulting program is an utterly beguiling mix of innovative arrangements of works from the western classical tradition and works by Icelandic composers. These include Jórunn Viðar (1918-2017), described by Sveinbjarnardottir as “the grand lady of music in Iceland”, whose five-part Icelandic Suite is packed with contrasting ephemeral textures and melodies.
Other highlights include the stately
I Ensomme Stunde
by Norwegian violin virtuoso Ole Bull (1810-1880) and