Donald Macleod explores works by two key contemporary figures, Haflidi Halgrimsson and Daniel Bjarnason, as well as an extraordinary musical depiction of a volcano by Jon Leifs.
Donald Macleod explores works by two key contemporary figures, Haflidi Halgrimsson and Daniel Bjarnason - ending with an extraordinary musical depiction of a volcanic eruption by Jon Leifs.
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.
Donald Macleod ends his visit to Iceland with two utterly different works by Jon Leifs - his quiet, valedictory Fine II for strings and vibraphone, and the colossal orchestral poem "Hekla" - possibly the loudest piece of classical music ever written. He also introduces works by two key contemporary Icelandic voices: Haflidi Halgrimsson and Daníel Bjarnason, and talks to the latter about how his music bridges the worlds of rock, classical and electronic music.
Jón Leifs: Fine II, Op 56
Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Petri Sakari (conductor)
Jón Leifs: Ymir (Edda: Part 1. The Creation of the World)
Gunnar Gudbjornsson (tenor), Bjarni Thor Kristinsson (bass-baritone)
Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Hermann Bäumer (conductor)
Haflidi Hallgrimsson: Metamorphoses for Piano Trio, Op 16
Daniel Bjarnason: Bow to String I: "Sorrow Conquers Happiness"
Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir (multitracked cello)
Jon Leifs: Hekla, Op 52
Iceland Symphony Orchestra, En Shao (conductor)
First broadcast December 2012.
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