Trio Reykjavikur | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Trio Reykjavikur 

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Bjork may be Iceland's best-known musical product, but the country also has a lively classical music scene. Violinist Gudny Gudmundsdottir and cellist Gunnar Kvaran, the married couple who formed Trio Reykjavikur in 1988, are among that nation's most prominent musicians and teachers--Gudmundsdottir has been the Iceland Symphony Orchestra's concertmaster for almost three decades. Their playing is warm and vigorous, in the central European style, and is set off wonderfully by the romantic, expansive gestures of Czech-born pianist Peter Mate, who joined them in 1996. The trio is hardly known this side of the Atlantic; my only exposure to it is the top-notch CD it released in 1999 on Japis. The performances of Beethoven's Ghost Trio and Dvorak's Dumky Trio are brilliantly executed, though the interpretations aren't particularly inspired. But the group's impeccable reading of "Sighing on a Sleeping String" by Icelandic composer Jon Nordal is in a class by itself. Nordal's piece, written in 1998, is a throwback to mid-20th-century modernism, a lullaby disturbed by an undercurrent of anxiety. Trio Reykjavikur makes its local debut this weekend at North Park University, performing the Dvorak and Nordal pieces, and Beethoven's Trio in C Minor. Saturday, February 8, 3 PM, Anderson Chapel, North Park University, 3225 W. Foster; 773-244-5625.

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