Michael Rebhahn for Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, vol. 6/2016.
"...while at the same time jarring and poetic composition Drive Theory of Bergrún Snæbjörnsdóttir..."
on "Drive Theory" premiered by Scenatet, Curious Chamber Players and Ensemble Adapter at NMD, October 1st 2016
Robert Barry for The Wire
“A circle of light appears in the middle of the floor with a single white dot spinning in perpetual orbit. A woodwind quartet stands around it. As the dot passes them by they play a note - long if the dot spins slowly, short if it rushes past at speed. It is simplicity itself. But then a second ring is added with its own dot, asynchronous with the first. And then a third ring. Add to that the position of the audience, surrounding the four winds, with a further outer ring of brass around the audience, intoning long, langorous chords, and you get a work capable of bewitching effects, even as its means remain perfectly transparent.”
-If those four works cumulatively adjusted the ears, others at Only Connect suggested we call upon our eyes to listen more attentively. Bergrún Snæbjörnsdóttir’s Esoteric Mass projects its score of dots and circles onto the floor of a blacked-out space. Wind instruments from the Oslo Philharmonic played according to the movements of dots around concentric circles, seemingly emitting a note each time the dot passed the same point on the circle (extra circles appeared and sometimes the circles themselves were momentarily stretched or flattened, each ‘phasing’ the discourse). But whether or not we could see the notation, and it was a refreshing experience to do so, the methodology gave Snæbjörnsdóttir’s piece its own biology – its own heartbeat. As an overarching concept – letting your audience in on all those score-bound secrets – it has potential. But the byproduct is pretty good music.
on "Esoteric Mass" performed by the Oslo Philharmonic at Tectonics/Only Connect Festival, May 22nd 2016
"Snaebjornsdottir’s was similar, a toned down visuality, and a reduced number of players, its subtlety, and yet its careful use of theatrical language, was its great success."
on "2 víti" performed by Decibel at PICA performance space September 2015
"Grísalappalísa diversified their sound on their second album, as heard on "Flýja" ("Escape"), a dark ballad that's equal parts Lou Reed, Serge Gainsbourg and Bob Dylan. The string arrangement is exceptional, too." -Davíð Roach
on string arrangements on the album Rökrétt Framhald by Grísalappalísa
-The performances from Icelandic composers were a mixed bag. On the plus side, Bergrún Snæbjörnsdóttir's “Esoteric Mass For Winds” in Norðurljós was far and away the best thing I’ve heard yet from the S.L.A.T.U.R music collective. A group of woodwind instruments stood around a projection of moving dots around circles (similar to the models of electrons in an atom), playing notes determined by the speed the dot passed each musician. It was a concept so simple a child could grasp it, but the end result was playful, melodic and imaginative.
"Þar var næst á dagskrá Esoteric Mass eftir Bergrúnu Snæbjörnsdóttur. Tónlistin hennar byggðist á því að blásturshljóðfæraleikarar röðuðu sér í hring og spiluðu eftir mynstri sem var á sífelldri hreyfingu. Mynstrinu var varpað á gólfið. Fyrst heyrði maður aðallega endurtekna tóna, varfærnislega spilaða. En svo óx verkið upp í hápunkt sem var skemmtilega ærslafenginn og kaótískur. Hann samsvaraði sér prýðilega við hógvært upphafið og endinn. Þetta voru flottar andstæður." - Jónas Sen
"Next on the agenda was Esoteric Mass by Bergrún Snæbjörnsdóttir. Her music was built on the concept of wind performers gathered around in a circle formation, performing by a pattern which was in constant motion. This pattern was projected on the floor. First one could hear mostly repeated tones, carefully produced. But then the piece grew into a climax which was animated, high-spirited and chaotic. It corresponded very well with the humble beginnings and end. The contrast was great."
on "Esoteric Mass" premiered by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra at Tectonics Festival, April 11th 2014