Album info

Album-Release:
2022

HRA-Release:
06.10.2022

Label: Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Instrumental

Artist: Víkingur Ólafsson

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), Thomas Ades (1971), Bela Bartok (1881-1945), György Kurtag (1926), Robert Schumann (1810-1856), Snorri Sigfus Birgisson (1954), Sigvaldi Kaldalons (1881-1946)

Album including Album cover

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  • Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750):
  • 1J.S. Bach: Das Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644: Christe, du Lamm Gottes, BWV 619 (Arr. Kurtág) (Grand Piano)01:37
  • Robert Schumann (1810 - 1856):
  • 2Schumann: 6 Studies in Canonic Form, Op. 56: No. 1, Nicht zu schnell (Grand Piano)01:56
  • Johann Sebastian Bach:
  • 3J.S. Bach: Sonata for Solo Violin No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1005: I. Adagio (Arr. Víkingur Ólafsson) (Grand Piano)04:14
  • György Kurtág (b. 1926):
  • 4Kurtág: Játékok / Book 3: Harmonica (Hommage á Borsody László) (Grand Piano)00:59
  • Béla Bartók (1881 - 1945):
  • 5Bartók: 3 Hungarian Folksongs from the Csìk, Sz. 35a: I. Rubato (Grand Piano)01:11
  • 6Bartók: 3 Hungarian Folksongs from the Csìk, Sz. 35a: II. L’istesso tempo (Grand Piano)00:55
  • 7Bartók: 3 Hungarian Folksongs from the Csìk, Sz. 35a: III. Poco vivo (Grand Piano)01:15
  • Johannes Brahms (1833 - 1897):
  • 8Brahms: 7 Fantasies, Op. 116: No. 4, Intermezzo (Adagio) in E Major (Grand Piano)05:01
  • György Kurtág:
  • 9Kurtág: Játékok / Book 5: A Voice in the Distance (Grand Piano)01:51
  • Snorri Sigfús Birgisson (b. 1954):
  • 10Birgisson: Where Life and Death May Dwell (Icelandic Folk Song) (Grand Piano)01:53
  • Johann Sebastian Bach:
  • 11J.S. Bach: Trio Sonata No. 1 in E-Flat Major, BWV 525: I. (Allegro moderato) (Transcr. Kurtág) (Grand Piano)02:24
  • Sigvaldi Kaldalóns (1881 - 1946):
  • 12Kaldalóns: Ave María (Arr. Víkingur Ólafsson) (Grand Piano)03:37
  • György Kurtág:
  • 13Kurtág: Játékok / Book 1: Little Chorale (Grand Piano)01:07
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791):
  • 14Mozart: Vesperae solennes de confessore in C Major, K. 339: V. Laudate Dominum omnes gentes (Arr. Víkingur Ólafsson) (Grand Piano)04:56
  • György Kurtág:
  • 15Kurtág: Játékok / Book 1: Sleepily (Grand Piano)01:04
  • Robert Schumann:
  • 16Schumann: Kinderszenen, Op. 15: No. 7, Träumerei (Grand Piano)02:40
  • György Kurtág:
  • 17Kurtág: Játékok / Book 7: Flowers We Are (Grand Piano)01:19
  • Thomas Adès (b. 1971)
  • 18Adès: The Branch (Grand Piano)01:21
  • György Kurtág:
  • 19Kurtág: Játékok / Book 1: Twittering (Grand Piano)01:26
  • Robert Schumann:
  • 20Schumann: Waldszenen, Op. 82: No. 7, Vogel als Prophet (Grand Piano)03:53
  • Johannes Brahms:
  • 21Brahms: 7 Fantasies, Op. 116: No. 5, Intermezzo (Andante con grazia ed intimissimo sentimento) in E Minor (Grand Piano)03:31
  • György Kurtág:
  • 22Kurtág: Játékok / Book 3: Scraps of a Colinda Melody - Faintly Recollected (Hommage à Farkas Ferenc) (Grand Piano)03:20
  • Johann Sebastian Bach:
  • 23J.S. Bach: Das Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644: Christe, du Lamm Gottes, BWV 619 (Arr. Kurtág) (Upright Piano)01:45
  • Robert Schumann:
  • 24Schumann: 6 Studies in Canonic Form, Op. 56: No. 1, Nicht zu schnell (Upright Piano)01:57
  • Johann Sebastian Bach:
  • 25J.S. Bach: Sonata for Solo Violin No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1005: I. Adagio (Arr. Víkingur Ólafsson) (Upright Piano)04:01
  • György Kurtág:
  • 26Kurtág: Játékok / Book 3: Harmonica (Hommage á Borsody László) (Upright Piano)00:43
  • Béla Bartók:
  • 27Bartók: 3 Hungarian Folksongs from the Csìk, Sz. 35a: I. Rubato (Upright Piano)01:10
  • 28Bartók: 3 Hungarian Folksongs from the Csìk, Sz. 35a: II. L’istesso tempo (Upright Piano)01:01
  • 29Bartók: 3 Hungarian Folksongs from the Csìk, Sz. 35a: III. Poco vivo (Upright Piano)01:19
  • Johannes Brahms:
  • 30Brahms: 7 Fantasies, Op. 116: No. 4, Intermezzo (Adagio) in E Major (Upright Piano)05:01
  • György Kurtág:
  • 31Kurtág: Játékok / Book 5: A Voice in the Distance (Upright Piano)02:00
  • Snorri Sigfús Birgisson:
  • 32Birgisson: Where Life and Death May Dwell (Icelandic Folk Song) (Upright Piano)01:45
  • Johann Sebastian Bach:
  • 33J.S. Bach: Trio Sonata No. 1 in E-Flat Major, BWV 525: I. (Allegro moderato) (Transcr. Kurtág) (Upright Piano)02:31
  • Sigvaldi Kaldalóns:
  • 34Kaldalóns: Ave María (Arr. Víkingur Ólafsson) (Upright Piano)03:36
  • György Kurtág:
  • 35Kurtág: Játékok / Book 1: Little Chorale (Upright Piano)01:34
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
  • 36Mozart: Vesperae solennes de confessore in C Major, K. 339: V. Laudate Dominum omnes gentes (Arr. Víkingur Ólafsson) (Upright Piano)04:57
  • György Kurtág:
  • 37Kurtág: Játékok / Book 1: Sleepily (Upright Piano)01:18
  • Robert Schumann:
  • 38Schumann: Kinderszenen, Op. 15: No. 7, Träumerei (Upright Piano)02:41
  • György Kurtág:
  • 39Kurtág: Játékok / Book 7: Flowers We Are (Upright Piano)01:14
  • Thomas Adès:
  • 40Adès: The Branch (Upright Piano)01:19
  • György Kurtág:
  • 41Kurtág: Játékok / Book 1: Twittering (Upright Piano)01:13
  • Robert Schumann:
  • 42Schumann: Waldszenen, Op. 82: No. 7, Vogel als Prophet (Upright Piano)03:47
  • Johannes Brahms:
  • 43Brahms: 7 Fantasies, Op. 116: No. 5, Intermezzo (Andante con grazia ed intimissimo sentimento) in E Minor (Upright Piano)03:34
  • György Kurtág:
  • 44Kurtág: Játékok / Book 3: Scraps of a Colinda Melody - Faintly Recollected (Hommage à Farkas Ferenc) (Upright Piano)03:27
  • Total Runtime01:43:23

Info for From Afar



Celebrated for his innovative programming and award-winning recordings, Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson is offering a window into his musical life story with his new album, From Afar. Due for release on 7 October on Deutsche Grammophon, the highly personal double album reflects Ólafsson’s musical DNA, from childhood memories growing up in Iceland to his international career and contemporary inspirations.

The album was inspired by Ólafsson’s life-changing meeting with György Kurtág in Budapest in September 2021, which left him with “a feeling of lightness and joy” and sparked memories of music he loved as a child. From Afar (a title inspired by Kurtág’s Aus der Ferne) is both a tribute to his hero and a return to his musical roots. “It is more personal than my previous work,” says Ólafsson. “It connects very deeply to my childhood and it pays homage to one of my favourite composers of all time. Throughout the album, there are intimate conversations and messages from afar – closely knit canons, transcriptions and dedications, as well as distant echoes of nearly forgotten, ancient melodies.”

In a bold move, Ólafsson has recorded the album twice – on grand piano and on felt-covered upright, offering the same music with two different timbres. He captures the intimacy granted by the upright, as well as the full palette possible with the grand piano. Ólafsson’s own childhood was marked by his relationship with two such pianos: his parents’ grand piano (which they bought before they could afford a house!) and an old upright piano he was given at the age of seven and whose “warm, dreamy” sound he grew to love as he practised Schumann, Bach and Mozart in his bedroom. Kurtág himself often recorded on felted pianos for variations of dynamics and tone.

Exploring such evocative themes as home, childhood and family, the album features Hungarian and Icelandic folk songs, nature-inspired works, interwoven homages and three previously unreleased transcriptions by Ólafsson: the Adagio from Bach’s Sonata for solo violin in C major, Mozart’s Laudate Dominum – which he dedicates to Kurtág – and Icelandic composer Sigvaldi Kaldalóns’ Ave Maria (the first work Ólafsson ever transcribed). Ave Maria is the first single from the album – a musical prayer which Ólafsson performed as Lockdown Artist in Residence for BBC Radio 4’s Front Row in 2020, broadcasting live from an empty Harpa concert hall in Reykjavík and bringing solace to millions of listeners around the world.

Ólafsson performs with his wife, Halla Oddný Magnúsdottir, in Kurtág’s transcription of Bach’s three-handed arrangement of Trio Sonata No. 1, which the composer used to perform with his late wife, Márta. György Kurtág, in turn, recently dedicated this transcription to Ólafsson. Additionally, Magnúsdottir and Ólafsson duet on Kurtág’s Twittering. Also on the album is the world premiere recording of Thomas Adès’ The Branch, an otherworldly waltz written specially for Ólafsson.

From Afar is the latest recording from the “new superstar of classical piano” (Daily Telegraph) which has seen the Icelander achieve over 400 million career streams and top classical charts around the world; win Gramophone Artist of the Year (2019), BBC Music Magazine Album of the Year (2019) for Johann Sebastian Bach and the Opus Klassik Solo Recording Instrumental award (twice). He has performed at many of the world’s major international venues including the Royal Albert Hall and Carnegie Hall and, in the coming months, opens the classical music seasons at the Southbank Centre in London and Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and debuts with the Berlin Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic orchestras.

Vikingur Olafsson, piano



Víkingur Ólafsson
Possessing a rare combination of passionate musicality, explosive virtuosity and intellectual curiosity, Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has won all the major prizes in his native country, including four Musician of the Year prizes at the Icelandic Music Awards as well as The Icelandic Optimism Prize.

Víkingur’s 2016/17 season includes performances with NDR Elbphilhamonie Orchester and Los Angeles Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen, tour with Orkester Norden (Lawrence Foster) and concerts with Iceland Symphony Orchestra (Yan Pascal Tortelier) and MDR Sinfonieorchester (Kristjan Järvi). Since February 2016 he has taken over from Martin Fröst as Artistic Director of Vinterfest in Sweden while continuing in the same role for the award winning Reykjavík Midsummer Music, which he founded in 2012. In recital he will make his debut at Wiener Konzerthaus, Konzerthaus Berlin, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Louisiana Museum for Modern Art Denmark, La Folle Journée Festival as well in Leipzig and at the Istanbul Music Festival.

Víkingur signed an exclusive agreement with Deutsche Grammophon in November 2016. His debut album for DG will feature the piano works of Philip Glass and is set to be released in time for the composer’s 80th birthday in January 2017. In 2015 Víkingur recorded solo works by Igor Stravinsky for the company’s complete works edition of the composer and before that, he released 3 albums on his own label, Dirrindí Music. The first two were solo discs; ‘Debut’, (showing “exceptional perception and depth of maturity,” said EPTA Journal) and ‘Chopin-Bach’ (prompting Piano News Magazine to say “Immense talent … you must listen to this young pianist!”). His third album was a double CD/DVD release of ‘Winterreise’ with bass Kristinn Sigmundsson, which won the Album of the Year award at the Icelandic Music Awards 2012.

Víkingur has premiered five piano concertos to date and worked with composers including Philip Glass, Mark Simpson and Daníel Bjarnason. He has collaborated with leading artists from diverse fields, such as Roman Signer, Lillevan and Yann Malka, and appeared at festivals such as Busoni and Transart (Bolzano), MITO SettembreMusica (Milano) and Nordic Cool (Washington DC). When it comes to his relationships with other musicians, Víkingur has worked with Sayaka Shoji, István Várdai, Martin Fröst, Pekka Kuusisto and Björk.

Away from the concert stage, Víkingur is the driving force behind numerous innovative musical projects. Most recently the classical music television series, Útúrdúr (Out-of-tune), produced for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service in 2013-14, was broadcast to unanimous critical and public acclaim.

Víkingur grew up in Iceland where he studied with Erla Stefánsdóttir and Peter Máté. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal and Robert McDonald.

This album contains no booklet.

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