Five Seasons

New song cycle by Thorvaldur Gylfason set to poems by Snorri Hjartarson

Five Seasons are five new songs by Professor Thorvaldur Gylfason set to poems by Snorri Hjartarson (1906-1986). The poems are Autumn Is Here, Ice Breaks, Spring, and Summer Night, Four Seasons in all, and also Wolfdales, the fifth season. The songs were composed for soprano, tenor, and piano. Hallveig Rúnarsdóttir soprano, Elmar Gilbertsson tenor, and Snorri Sigfús Birgisson piano performed a premiere of the cycle in Hannesarholt in Reykjavík 11 March 2017. The composer introduced the songs and recited the poems before the artists performed them. The performance took about 40 minutes and was recorded. The film is ready for broadcast. See the Four Seasons in English translation here and Wolfdales in an English translation by Ágústa Flosadóttir here.
Snorri Hjartarson (1906-1986) is one of Iceland´s most outstanding 20th century poets, a winner of the Nordic Council's Literature Prize for his poetry collection Hauströkkrið yfir mér (Autumn Twilight Above Me, 1979). Among his other collections are Kvæði (Poems, 1944), Á Gnitaheiði (On Gnitaheiði, 1952), and Lauf og stjörnur (Leaves and Stars, 1966).
Thorvaldur Gylfason has composed some 100 songs, including Seventeen Sonnets on the Philosophy of the Heart, Songs of Soaring Birds, Seven Psalms, og Sixteen Songs for Soprano and Tenor set to poetry by Kristján Hreinsson. The Sonnets were performed in Harpa 2012 og 2013, the Birdsongs in Salurinn in Kópavogur 2014, the Psalms in Langholtskirkja 2014 as well as in Guðríðarkirkja 2015 and the Songs for Soprano and Tenor are scheduled to be premiered in Reykjavík 25 November 2017.   Hallveig Rúnarsdóttir has sung several operatic roles on stage, at the Icelandic Opera as well as abroad, and has also performed with symphony orchestras, including the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra on several occasions. Recently, she has given several concerts with German, French, and Nordic lieder. On her CD Í ást sólar (Loved by the Sun) she performs Icelandic songs with Árni Heimir Ingólfsson piano. She received the Icelandic Music Award in 2013 as female vocalist of the year for the role of Michaëla in Bizet´s Carmen at the Icelandic Opera. Elmar Gilbertsson has sung several operatic roles at home and abroad, especially in the Netherlands and Belgium as well as in France, Germany, and elsewhere. He was awarded the Gríma Prize in 2014 as Singer of the Year for the role of Daði Halldórsson in the opera Ragnheiður by Gunnar Þórðarson at the Icelandic Opera, and again in 2016 for the role of Don Ottavio in Mozart´s Don Giovanni. He was also awarded the Icelandic Music Prize in 2014 as Singer of the Year in the area of classical and modern music and again in 2017 for the role of Lensky in Tchaikovsky´s Eugene Onegin at the Icelandic Opera.
  PictureSnorri Sigfús Birgisson is among Iceland´s most accomplished pianists, and is also a prolific composer. His works include concerts for soloist and orchestra, chamber works, electronic music, choral works, symphonic works, and songs. His works are available on a number of CD and LP recordings. For this project, he prepared the sixteen songs for the two singers.  

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