Magazine article Gramophone

Gudny Gudmundsddottir

Magazine article Gramophone

Gudny Gudmundsddottir

Article excerpt

Gudny Gudmundsddottir Agustsson Formgero II (Structure II) (a) Britten Violin Concerto, Op 15 (b) Elgar Violin Concerto, Op 61 (c) Palsson Violin Concerto (d) Gudny Gudmundsdottir vn Iceland Symphony Orchestra / Richard Bernas, "Sidney Harth, (c) James Loughran, (d) Petri Sakari

Smekkleysa [F] [2] IS01 (135' * DDD) Recorded 1992-2001

A product of the Reykjavik Music School, Eastman School of Music, Royal College of Music and Juilliard School, Gudny Gudmundsdottir was just 26 when she was appointed the first concertmaster of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. She held the post for 36 years, regularly appearing as a soloist giving the Icelandic premieres of a host of concertos, three of which have been capably captured here by Iceland's state broadcaster.

Gudmundsdottir is not the first orchestral leader to record the Elgar--one thinks of Philharmonia stalwart Hugh Bean's delectably idiomatic 1972 account with Sir Charles Groves and the RLPO (last reissued on a Classics for Pleasure double-pack, 11/04). By and large, her reading evinces a selfless commitment and big heart that are endearing (the work's closing pages have a genuine sense of homecoming and elation about them). The tone of her 1728 'del Gesu' Guarneri falls beguilingly on the ear, while the richly experienced James Loughran accompanies sympathetically; indeed, there are some lovely things in the slow movement (try from 10'49" to the end). However, when all's said and done, there's an unhelpful want of tumbling fantasy, canny instinct and true authority--in which respects both Bean and his legendary mentor Albert Sammons (Naxos, 5/02) are in a different league altogether. …

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