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Sagas and Requiems

Episode 4 of 5

Donald Macleod explores the influence of Iceland's sagas on its music, before exploring the contemporary music scene with Valgeir Sigurdsson, a leading producer and composer.

Donald Macleod explores the influence of Iceland's sagas on its music, before exploring the contemporary music scene with Valgeir Sigurðsson, a leading producer and composer.

For more than a millennium, Iceland's composers have drawn upon the sounds of its unique geology: sounds created in a glacial, geothermal landscape like nowhere else on earth. Searing water explodes from fissures; the earth steams spongily underfoot; vast, electric-blue hunks of solid ice crack and collide as they bob down otherwise silent fjords. Yet Iceland's classical music tradition remains barely known. This week, Donald Macleod explores the landscapes and vistas of the world's most northerly island nation - to discover its unique musical culture.

Having survived the traumas of the Second World War, the life of Iceland's leading composer, Jon Leifs was to fall apart in 1947 after his daughter Líf drowned in the sea. Donald Macleod explores the legacy of this tragedy on his music with the musicologist Arni Heimir Ingolfsson before meeting one of Icelandic contemporary music's most important figures: the record producer and composer Valgeir Sigurdsson, whose music seems to transcend genre classifications such 'popular', 'classical', 'ambient' and 'electronica'.

Björk: Eg Veit Ei Hvad Skal Segja (Gling-Glo)
Bjork (vocals); Trio Gudmundar Ingolfssonar
[After "Ricochet" by Larry Coleman, Joe Darion, and Norman Gimbel]

Bjork: Kata Rokkar (Gling-Glo)
Bjork (vocals); Trio Gudmundar Ingolfssonar

Jon Leifs: Thormodr Kolbrunarskald (Saga Symphony)
Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä (conductor)

Jon Leifs: Requiem and Eternity (String Quartet No 2 "Vita et Mors")
The Yggdrasil Quartet

Thorkell Sigurbjornsson - Flute Concerto ("Columbine")
Manuela Wiesler (flute)
Southern Jutland Symphony Orchestra, Tamas Veto (conductor)

Valgeir Sigurdsson: Grylukvaedi (Draumalandid)
[studio composition]

First broadcast December 2012.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Gudmundar Ingolfssonar

    Eg Veit Hvad Skal Segja

    • One Little Indian:TPLP61CD.
    • One Little Indian.
    • 12.
  • Gudmundar Ingolfssonar

    Eg Veit Hvad Skal Segja

    Performer: Björk.
    • One Little Indian:TPLP61CD.
    • One Little Indian.
    • 12.
  • Gudmundar Ingolfssonar

    Eg Veit Hvad Skal Segja

    Performer: Björk.
    • One Little Indian:TPLP61CD.
    • One Little Indian.
    • 12.
  • Gudmundar Ingolfssonar

    Kata Rokkar

    • One Little Indian:TPLP61CD.
    • One Little Indian.
    • 3.
  • Gudmundar Ingolfssonar

    Kata Rokkar

    Singer: Björk.
    • One Little Indian:TPLP61CD.
    • One Little Indian.
    • 3.
  • Gudmundar Ingolfssonar

    Kata Rokkar

    Singer: Björk.
    • One Little Indian:TPLP61CD.
    • One Little Indian.
    • 3.
  • Jón Leifs

    Saga symphony Op.26

    Conductor: Osmo Vänskä. Orchestra: Iceland S O.
    • BIS:CD730BIS.
    • BIS.
    • 5.
  • Jón Leifs

    Saga Symphony Op 26

    Orchestra: Iceland S O. Conductor: Osmo Vänskä.
    • BIS:CD730BIS.
    • BIS.
    • 5.
  • Jón Leifs

    Saga Symphony Op 26

    Orchestra: Iceland S O. Conductor: Osmo Vänskä.
    • BIS:CD730BIS.
    • BIS.
    • 5.
  • Jón Leifs

    Quartet no. 2 Op.38 (Vita et mors) for strings

    Ensemble: Yggdrasil String Quartet.
    • BIS: CD691.
    • BIS.
    • 4.
  • Jón Leifs

    Quartet No. 2 Op 38 (Vita Et Mors)

    Ensemble: Yggdrasil String Quartet.
    • BIS: CD691.
    • BIS.
    • 4.
  • Jón Leifs

    Quartet No. 2 Op 38 (Vita Et Mors)

    Ensemble: Yggdrasil String Quartet.
    • BIS: CD691.
    • BIS.
    • 4.
  • Thorkell Sigurbjornsson

    Columbine for flute and orchestra

    Performer: Manuela Wiesler. Conductor: Tamas Veto. Orchestra: South Jutland S O.
    • BIS:CD709.
    • BIS.
    • 3.
  • Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson

    Columbine

    Performer: Manuela Wiesler. Orchestra: South Jutland S O. Conductor: Tamás Vető.
    • BIS:CD709.
    • BIS.
    • 3.
  • Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson

    Columbine

    Performer: Manuela Wiesler. Orchestra: South Jutland S O. Conductor: Tamás Vető.
    • BIS:CD709.
    • BIS.
    • 3.
  • Valgeir Sigurðsson

    Grylukvaedi

    Performer: Valgeir Sigurðsson.
    • HVALUR8CD.
    • HVALUR.
    • 1.
  • Valgeir Sigurðsson

    Grylukvaedi

    • HVALUR8CD.
    • HVALUR.
    • 1.
  • Valgeir Sigurðsson

    Grylukvaedi

    • HVALUR8CD.
    • HVALUR.
    • 1.

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