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Leifs: Vikingasvar, Etc / Bäumer, Gunnarsdóttir, Bjarnason


Release Date: 06/28/2005 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1080   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Jón Leifs
Performer:  Olafur Kjartan SigurdarsonGudrun Edda GunnarsdottirFinnur Bjarnason
Conductor:  Hermann Bäumer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Iceland Symphony OrchestraHallgrimskirkja Motet ChoirHallgrimskirkja Schola Cantorum,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BIS continues its survey of music by the remarkable, truculent, inimitable Jon Leifs with this disc featuring mostly vocal works, some of which have been recorded previously. Even so those previous issues will not be easy to find (if they are still available at all), making comparison largely a moot point. The one instrumental work here is Viking's Answer, for saxophone quartet, wind ensemble, percussion, violas, and double basses. Leifs wrote it in protest when he was turned down for a job, and as you can hear for yourself, he was pissed. Imagine combining the clunky rhythms and brass-laden climaxes of a Bruckner symphony with the percussive explosions of The Rite of Spring, all compressed into three-and-a-half minutes, and you'll get the Read more picture.


Spring Song, for mixed choir and orchestra, couldn't be more different. It's one of the few Leifs works comparatively light-hearted in tone and bright in texture. Landfall, the Iceland Cantata, and Jonas Hallgrimsson in memoriam are all vivid, patriotic works saturated with the rhythms and modes of Icelandic folk music and full of that primal quality that makes Leifs' music so distinctive and unforgettable. The two cantatas for solo voices, The Lay of Helgi the Hunding-slayer and Gróa's Spell, are more subdued, but nevertheless are wonderfully evocative and well sung (considering the ridiculous ranges of the vocal lines) by native artists comfortable with the language (the chorus survives its ordeal too). Gróa's spell, in particular, is a major work that will appeal to many listeners not otherwise attuned to Leifs' idiom.


Despite the ever-changing roster of conductors throughout this series, one constant has been the terrific playing of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and Hermann Bäumer leads them with the necessary guts and vigor. Excellent sonics, with a typically huge dynamic range that will challenge your audio system, round out a disc that fans of the composer will want as a matter of course, and that should appeal to collectors of offbeat but rewarding vocal and choral music too.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
A Viking's Answer, Op. 54 by Jón Leifs
Conductor:  Hermann Bäumer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1962; Iceland 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 
2.
Lay of the Hunding-slayer, Op. 61 by Jón Leifs
Performer:  Olafur Kjartan Sigurdarson (Bass), Gudrun Edda Gunnarsdottir (Alto)
Conductor:  Hermann Bäumer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964; Iceland 
Length: 8 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: Icelandic 
3.
Groa's Spell, Op. 62 by Jón Leifs
Performer:  Finnur Bjarnason (Tenor), Gudrun Edda Gunnarsdottir (Alto)
Conductor:  Hermann Bäumer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; Iceland 
Length: 18 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Language: Icelandic 
4.
Jónas Hallgrímsson in memoriam, Op. 48 by Jón Leifs
Conductor:  Hermann Bäumer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Iceland Symphony Orchestra,  Hallgrimskirkja Motet Choir,  Hallgrimskirkja Schola Cantorum  ... 
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1961; Iceland 
Length: 6 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: Icelandic 
5.
Vorvísa, Op. 46 by Jón Leifs
Conductor:  Hermann Bäumer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Iceland Symphony Orchestra,  Hallgrimskirkja Motet Choir,  Hallgrimskirkja Schola Cantorum  ... 
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958; Iceland 
Length: 4 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: Icelandic 
6.
Landfall, Op. 41 by Jón Leifs
Conductor:  Hermann Bäumer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Iceland Symphony Orchestra,  Fóstbraedur Male Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; Iceland 
Length: 9 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Language: Icelandic 
7.
Iceland Cantata, Op. 13 by Jón Leifs
Conductor:  Hermann Bäumer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Iceland Symphony Orchestra,  Hallgrimskirkja Motet Choir,  Hallgrimskirkja Schola Cantorum  ... 
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; Iceland 
Length: 15 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Language: Icelandic 

Sound Samples

Viking's Answer (Vikingasvar), Op. 54: Viking´s Answer (Vikingasvar), Op. 54
The Lay of Helgi the Hunding-slayer (Helga kvida Hundingsbana), Op. 61
Groa's Spell (Grogaldr), Op. 62: Groa´s Spell (Grogaldr), Op. 62
Jonas Hallgrimsson in memoriam (Jonasar minni Hallgrimssonar), Op. 48
Spring Song (Vorvisa), Op. 46
Landfall - Overture (Landsyn - forleikur), Op. 41
Iceland Cantata (Islandskantata), Op. 13: I. Moderato, maestoso, ma animato
Iceland Cantata (Islandskantata), Op. 13: II. Andante
Iceland Cantata (Islandskantata), Op. 13: III. Allegro spirituoso
Iceland Cantata (Islandskantata), Op. 13: IV. Adagio
Iceland Cantata (Islandskantata), Op. 13: V. Larghetto
Iceland Cantata (Islandskantata), Op. 13: VI. Allegro furioso
Iceland Cantata (Islandskantata), Op. 13: VII. Andante

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