Fans of Icelandic music have had much to pick over at the LA Philharmonic’s Reykjavik Festival, a 17-day extravaganza curated by LA Phil conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and Icelandic composer and conductor Daniel Bjarnason. There is Björk Digital, as well as an installation by the Icelandic artist Shoplifter, and Xarene Eskander’s Driving At the Speed of the Nordic Sun screened on continuous loop. But the festival’s jewel was three evenings devoted to the music of Sigur Rós, the Icelandic post-rock three-piece
famed for the extraordinary texture and scale of their music, for their used of bowed guitar and for lead singer Jonsi Birgisson’s remarkable falsetto. Each night culminated in a live show by the band itself – currently on tour in the US, but the early part of the evening saw tracks spanning the length of the band’s career re-imagined by a number of contemporary composers including Pulitzer prize-winning David Lang, also known for his scores for Paolo Sorrentino’s films Youth and The Great Beauty, and Owen Pallett, a Polaris prize winner and frequent collaborator with Arcade Fire.