“From Afar is more personal than my previous work. It connects very deeply to my childhood and it pays homage to one of my favourite composers of all time.” Víkingur Ólafsson
Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson’s latest album, From Afar, is released on Deutsche Grammophon today. Inspired by a meeting with legendary Hungarian composer György Kurtág and the childhood memories that encounter sparked, From Afar both pays tribute to Kurtág and sees Ólafsson return to his musical roots. It presents two recordings of repertoire ranging from Bach to Adès – as well as works by Kurtág himself – offering listeners the two equally colourful and atmospheric soundworlds conjured by an upright piano and a Steinway concert grand.
Having met Kurtág in Budapest last year, Ólafsson wanted to thank him for his time. Unable to find the right words, he instead found the right music. “A musical map started to form in my head, with some of his miniatures acting as compass,” he recalls. “I started thinking about some of the music I’d loved as a child as well, and realised there was a strong connection between them and Kurtág’s aesthetic. The album grew from those two seeds.” Widely acknowledged as one of the most critically-acclaimed and fastest-streaming classical artists of our time, Víkingur Ólafsson has already amassed over 430 million career streams. His DG albums, characterised by their unique and innovative programmes, have topped the classical charts in the US, Germany, the UK, Belgium and France.