Ólafur Arnalds, the 24-year-old Icelandic pianist and composer of trance-inducing, classically informed New Music, is bringing his string quartet to Cincinnati on Thursday to perform from his quietly beatific album …and they have escaped the weight of darkness.
You might assume, given the evident influences on Arnalds of composers like Eric Satie and Philip Glass, that he would be performing at Music Hall or Memorial Hall — or maybe at a CCM recital.
(He has performed with a symphony orchestra in Manchester, England.) Or maybe at a foreign-language institute, since his songs bear titles like “Loftio verdur skyndilega kalt,” Haegt, kemur ljosio” and “Pau hafa sloppio undan bunga myrkursins.”
Instead he’s at Newport’s Southgate House, a well-worn roadhouse that frequently is awash in booze, noisy bar patrons, cigarette smoke and loud Rock & Roll. It’s the antithesis of the streamlined, minimalist Modernism that Arnalds’ music exudes.�
Ólafur Arnalds performs Thursday. Go here for Steven Rosen's full interview.