The piano music of Icelandic composer Thorkell Sigurbjörnsson, most of which is recorded on this album, encompasses a wide range of concepts and technical procedures, but, as Icelandic-American pianist Kristin Jónína Taylor put in her her booklet notes, "Within these works, it is undoubtedly Thorkell's voice that we hear." The music embodies abstract concepts such as a unique set of variations in which the theme is atomized into sections, picked up by the variations in turn. There are pieces based on anagrams, as well as loosely representational music. Sigurbjörnsson has written basically serial music such as the Chaconette (track 26), music based on Bartók-like repeated notes, and music using extended pedal techniques (Sindur, track 28). All of it displays a tendency toward short, sharp phrases, combined polyphonically in textures that (as the album title suggests) are reminiscent of Bach's inventions. Almost every piece reflects a conciseness and cleverness that occasionally spill over into outright humor, not an easy thing to accomplish in some of the idioms Sigurbjörnsson uses. A nifty find from the Iceland Music Information Centre, apparently recorded by Taylor under the supervision of the composer himself.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|The Well Tempered Pianist|