VIKTOR ORRI ÁRNASON CELEBRATES THE MUSIC OF ARVO PÄRT ON THE COMPOSER’S 88TH BIRTHDAY
“To me, this is a piece to experience and not to analyse,
it’s a spiritual practice of acceptance”
Árnason on Spiegel im Spiegel
The Icelandic artist presents a unique performance of Spiegel im Spiegel as his birthday homage
Árnason also announces his debut DG album, a collaborative project with soprano Álfheiður Erla Guðmundsdóttir
Listen Spiegel im Spiegel here
8 SEPTEMBER 2023 (TORONTO, ON) — Deutsche Grammophon/Universal Music Canada is delighted to share a new, meditative recording of Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel from Icelandic composer, conductor and producer Viktor Orri Árnason. The audio version of this extended single, on which Árnason plays both viola and piano, comes out on September 8 2023. A music video, which the artist describes as a “moving painting”, will follow on September 11, Pärt’s 88th birthday. The track will also act as a prelude to the artist’s debut DG album, a project he has developed in collaboration with soprano Álfheiður Erla Guðmundsdóttir and which is set for release later this year.
An early example of Pärt’s tintinnabular style, the mesmeric masterpiece that is Spiegel im Spiegel was originally written for violin and piano but now exists in multiple versions. Árnason more than captures its sense of stillness and serenity in his intimate interpretation, slowing the tempo to amplify its reflective qualities. He plays the mirrored ascending and descending phrases of the melodic line on the viola. Beneath this, bell-like piano notes sound in the accompaniment, like raindrops softly falling into a pool of water. Árnason made and mixed the recording at his home studio in Iceland, and the track was mastered by Zino Mikorey in Berlin.
“To me, Spiegel im Spiegel is an invitation to try to see and respect things for what they are,” says Árnason. “The act of releasing this imperfect recording is embracing just that idea. It urges you to look inwards, where you ask yourself questions about the meaning of life and what to do with it.”
Viktor Orri Árnason studied violin and viola at the Icelandic University of the Arts, and composition and conducting at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin. His versatility and wide-ranging musical interests have led him to work with many different artists, including Hildur Guðnadóttir, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Ólafur Arnalds, Yair Elazar Glotman, Nils Frahm and Robot Koch, often, more recently, in his capacity as conductor and artistic director of the Reykjavík Orkestra which is based at the Harpa concert hall and specialises in ensemble recordings for film, TV, games and more.
Árnason and Álfheiður Erla Guðmundsdóttir will be supporting composer and pianist Hania Rani at three concerts on her European tour this autumn. Their set at dates in Lausanne (Les Docks, 10 October), Paris (Salle Pleyel, 11 October) and Lucerne (KKL, 13 October) will feature music from their forthcoming DG album.