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Jón Leifs: Lay Of Gundrun, Night, Etc / Arnell, Reykjavík Co

Hafsteinsson,Gudmundur
Release Date: 03/02/1999 
Label:  Itm Music From Iceland   Catalog #: 901   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Jón LeifsGudmundur Hafsteinsson
Performer:  Porunn GudmundsdottirGudbjorn GudbjornssonGuodjon OskarssonEinar Clausen,   ... 
Conductor:  Johan ArnellSnorri Sigfus Birgisson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 51 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This recording originated in the same festivities surrounding the composer's 100th birthday as did the most recent disc in BIS' ongoing Leifs project, and it contains two of the same works: The Lay of Guthrun, and Nótt (Night). On the whole, BIS' performances offer slightly better playing, and in Night, a much quicker tempo that seems to me all to the good. Nevertheless, there are two major works here: Grógaldr (Gróa's Spell) and The Lay of Helgi the Hundings Slayer, which constitute recording premieres and certainly justify purchase of the disc. All four pieces are essentially solo cantatas dealing with themes (Night excepted) from Icelandic mythology. Leifs' settings, based as they are on the cadences and rhythms of his native folk music, Read more suit the texts to the extent that they almost sing themselves--no mean feat given the uncompromising difficulty of much of the vocal writing from a purely technical point of view. The soloists cope admirably with the music's demands, and Johan Arnell secures some fine playing from a rather large Reykjavik Chamber Orchestra. If you enjoy Leifs' music, this issue will be self-recommending. Full English notes and translations of the texts are also included.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Lay of Gundrun, Op. 22 by Jón Leifs
Performer:  Porunn Gudmundsdottir (Mezzo Soprano), Gudbjorn Gudbjornsson (Tenor), Guodjon Oskarsson (Bass)
Conductor:  Johan Arnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; Iceland 
2.
Night, Op. 59 by Jón Leifs
Performer:  Einar Clausen (Tenor), Bergbor Palsson (Baritone)
Conductor:  Johan Arnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964; Iceland 
3.
Lay of the Hunding-slayer, Op. 61 by Jón Leifs
Performer:  Jóhann Smári Saevarsson (Bass), Gudrun Edda Gunnarsdottir (Alto)
Conductor:  Johan Arnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964; Iceland 
4.
Groa's Spell, Op. 62 by Jón Leifs
Performer:  Finnur Bjarnason (Tenor), Gudrun Edda Gunnarsdottir (Alto)
Conductor:  Johan Arnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; Iceland 
5.
Brum (Blastula) for 12 winds by Gudmundur Hafsteinsson
Performer:  Oddur Björnsson (), Emil Friđfinnsson (Horn)
Date of Recording: 11/17/1996 
Venue:  Fella-og Hólakirkja, Reykjavík 
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 
6.
Hann Veiter Kraft (He giveth power), for soprano, brass & organ by Gudmundur Hafsteinsson
Performer:  Emil Friđfinnsson (Horn)
Date of Recording: 01/11/1997 
Venue:  Fella-og Hólakirkja, Reykjavík 
Length: 2 Minutes 41 Secs. 
7.
Spuni II, for violin by Gudmundur Hafsteinsson
Performer:  Sigrún Edvaldsdóttir (Viola)
Date of Recording: 01/10/1997 
Venue:  Fella-og Hólakirkja, Reykjavík 
Length: 4 Minutes 48 Secs. 
8.
Borgarkvedja (Valediction), for vibraphone, harp, piano & cimbalon by Gudmundur Hafsteinsson
Conductor:  Snorri Sigfus Birgisson
Date of Recording: 11/17/1996 
Venue:  Fella-og Hólakirkja, Reykjavík 
Length: 1 Minutes 31 Secs. 
9.
Hugur Minn Lídur (My mind drifts), for voice & piano by Gudmundur Hafsteinsson
Date of Recording: 05/15/1998 
Venue:  Fella-og Hólakirkja, Reykjavík 
Length: 4 Minutes 43 Secs. 
10.
Brunnu Beggja Kinna Björt Ljós (Burned Bright Lights in Both Eyes), for clarinet, cello & piano by Gudmundur Hafsteinsson
Performer:  Bryndis Halla Gylfadottir (Cello)
Venue:  Fella-og Hólakirkja, Reykjavík 
Length: 1 Minutes 18 Secs. 

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