Music from Iceland may appear remote but takes its place as an art and
as a profession as anywhere else. The Iceland Music Information Centre is
active in the interests of the region's music, and has produced this record.
What is more, they've ensured that it's attractively packaged, and includes
a booklet in three languages. Performances are excellent in the hands of
the Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra.
Jón Leifs (1899-1968) is identifiable as a composer who lived
in an environmental extreme. The music speaks of it through textures spare
and bleak and with language elemental and brusque [listen
-- track 2, 8:00-9:00]. It therefore has a grandeur of its own without
dependence on other influences. This disc contains four works for voice
and orchestra, all settings of Icelandic poetry, which obviously benefits
from the musical landscape of a composer steeped in the history and legends
The singers, professional and Icelandic, are very sensitive to this music
of their homeland, and add the lustre that brings life and drama to the
four 'scenes', three of which were composed shortly before Leifs' death
[listen -- track 4, 2:34-3:34].
Copyright © 7 February 2001
Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK
CD INFORMATION - ICELAND MUSIC INFORMATION CENTRE ITM 9-01
VISIT THE JÓN LEIFS WEBSITE
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