My musical compositions



I have in recent years composed some 100 songs choral works and songs for voice, piano, and cello as well as other instruments or for voice and piano. This extracurricular activity, begun in earnest in 2005, continues apace. I consider myself fortunate in that several of Iceland's foremost artists of international renown perform my music and also foreign artists. I am also fortunate in having received private help and guidance from excellent professional composers.

My Seven Patriotic Songs were published 2009 in Skírnir, the Nordic countries' oldest literary journal (est. 1823), and Svanur (A Swan) 2010 in TMM, another literary journal (est. 1938), set to a poem by Einar Benediktsson (1864-1940), one of Iceland's most revered national poets. Several other choral songs are available in print, some even as op-ed pieces in Iceland's daily newspapers. A number of them have been performed in public and recorded.

My Seventeen Sonnets on the Philosophy of the Heart for voice, piano, cello, and other instruments, are set to poems by philosopher Kristján Hreinsson, were performed in Harpa, Reykjavík's shining new Concert Hall, in 2012 and again in 2013. A recording of the latter concert was made for broadcast on TV.

My fourteen Songs of Soaring Birds for voice, piano, and cello, also set to poems by Kristján Hreinsson, were performed in Salurinn in Kópavogur, the Reykjavík area's other main concert venue, in September 2014. The concert was repeated twice, was filmed and recorded, and was shown on Icelandic state television 16 March 2020. A fifteenth song has been added to the cycle. The sheet music and the poems, including an English translation, will appear in print in 2020.

My Four Seasons for voice and piano, set to four poems by Snorri Hjartarson (1906-1986), one of Iceland´s finest 20th-century poets, were performed in March 2017 with my setting of his poem Wolfdales. Together they make Five seasons. Spring from Four Seasons was premiered at the opening of an exibition of Hjartarson´s works at Iceland´s National Library on the occasion of his 110th birthday in April 2016. A recording of the 2017 concert will be aired on Icelandic State Television (RÚV) in January 2021. The sheet music and the poems, including an English translation, will appear in print in 2020.

My Two Songs for voice and piano, set to poems by Guðmundur Böðvarsson (1904-1974), were performed at Reykholt in Borgarfjörður in September 2014 on the occasion of the 110th anniversary of the poet, and were published in TMM in early 2015.

My Seven Psalms for mixed choir set to poetry by Kristján Hreinsson were performed at Langoltskirkja in Reykjavík in November 2014. The chamber choir Hljómeyki (est. 1974) performed and recorded the psalms in October 2015.

Currently I am working on two new song cycles in parallel, Seventeen Songs for a Soprano and Twenty Songs for a Tenor, settings of 37 poems by Kristján Hreinsson. The first batch of the songs (sixteen, eight for soprano and eight for tenor) were performed and recorded in November 2017 and the rest will, it is hoped, be performed in 2020 or 2021.

My Italian Songbook contains fourteen songs mostly from my other cycles set to poems by Kristján Hreinsson, translated into Italian by Olga Clausen.

I have also tried my hand at lighter music, including a setting of Kristján Hreinsson´s Ode to Icelandic Nature, for voice and a small jazz band. A video recording featuring Icelandic landscape photography by Finnur P. Fróðason and with singer Egill Ólafsson accompanied by Jónas Thórir Thórisson piano and Jón Rafnsson kontrabass will be launched in 2020.

A complete list of my compositions as well as my published sheet music plus a few sound files are accessible here
The last of the seven patriotic songs was performed by the Flensborg Choir conducted by Hrafnhildur Blomsterberg at the old Symphony Hall and broadcast on live national television as part of the celebration of the anniversary of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, President of Iceland 1980-1996. The performance can be viewed here. The University of Iceland Choir conducted by Gunnsteinn Ólafsson performed the same song at a public concert at the university on Iceland's Independence Day 1 December 2010. The performance was broadcast on national radio later that day.

The Womens´ Choir at the University of Iceland conducted by Margrét Bóasdóttir has performed four of my early songs in public, including my setting of one of my father's songs set to a poem by Halldór Laxness, a song that was performed in Reykjavík's new concert hall, Harpa, on the 100th anniversary of the University of Iceland 8 October 2011. The program was aired on national television 16 October 2011. Earlier, this song had been performed by the Icelandic Opera Chorus conducted by Garðar Cortes at the University of Iceland 27 December 2010. The Womens´ Choir performed four of my ten songs arranged by composer Hildigunnnur Rúnarsdóttir at its spring concert at the University of Iceland 1 May 2016 plus another two at its spring concert 18 May 2019. Again, the choir  performed my setting of my father´s Laxess song at its spring concerts at the university in 2018 and 2019.

At the 2013 concert in Harpa, My Seventeen Sonnets on the Philosophy of the Heart were performed by Bergþór Pálsson baritone, Garðar Cortes tenor, Selma Guðmundsdóttir piano, Júlía Mogensen cello, Jón Elvar Hafsteinsson guitar, Pétur Grétarsson percussion, and Sigurður Flosason saxophone. The year before, 2012, fourteen of the sonnets were performed in Harpa by Bergþór Pálsson, Garðar Cortes, Selma Guðmundsdóttir, and Gunnar Kvaran cello. A recording of the 2013 concert was made for TV.

At their recital in Harpa in August 2013, Christine Antenbring mezzosoprano and Mikhail Hallak piano performed I Sing for You from my Songs of Soaring Birds and again at their recital of Icelandic and Argentinian songs at the Lutheran Church in Winnipeg in May 2014 and then again at their recital of Icelandic, Argentinian, and Ukrainian songs at Chapel Restoration in Cold Spring, New York, 18 October 2015 with violist Rachel Evans, a performance that was recorded.

My Italian Songbook, to be performed by Berta Dröfn Ómarsdóttir soprano and Sigurður Helgi Oddsson piano, includes fourteen songs from my various cycles plus two stand-alone encores, all set to Kristján Hreinsson´s poems translated into Italian by Olga Clausen. Their premiere in Reykjavík and Italy, originally planned for winter and spring 2020, needed to be postponed due to the global health crisis, and will be back on track later in the year if all goes according to plan.

In September 2014, my fourteen Songs of Soaring Birds were performed three times by Kristinn Sigmundsson bass, Jónas Ingimundarson piano and Bryndís Halla Gylfadóttir cello. The concert film was aired on Icelandic state television 16 March 2020 and again 22 March.

My setting of Kissed by the Sun by Guðmundur Böðvarsson was performed by Jónína Björt Gunnarsdóttir soprano and Selma Guðmundsdóttir piano in May 2018. Kissed by the Sun and Horses Were Baited --, another poem by Guðmundur Böðvarsson, were performed by Marta G. Halldórsdóttir soprano and Örn Magnússon piano at Reyholt in Borgarfjörður 1 September 2014.

My Seven Psalms were premiered by the Langholtskirkja Church Choir conducted by Jón Stefánsson 16 November 2014 with organist Tómas Guðni Eggertsson. They were performed again and recorded by Hljómeyki, an Icelandic chamber choir (est. 1974), conducted by Marta G. Halldórsdóttir, at Guðríðarkirkja in Reykjavík 26 October 2015.

Spring from Four Seasons was performed by Hallveig Rúnarsdóttir soprano and Guðrún Dalía Salómonsdóttir piano at Iceland´s National Library on the occasion of the poet´s 110th birthday 22 April 2016.

Five Seasons (Four Seasons plus Wolfdales) were performed by Hallveig Rúnarsdóttir soprano, Elmar Gilbertsson tenor, and Snorri Sigfús Birgisson piano at Hannesarholt in Reykjavík 11 March 2017. The performance was recorded for television.

The same three artists performed the premiere of my Sixteen songs for soprano and tenor at Hannesarholt 25 November 2017. As before, the performance was recorded. Here is a couple of sound samples from the concert, Vertu hjá mér (Stai con me), performed by Hallveig Rúnarsdóttir and Snorri Sigfús Birgisson, and Vilji vindsins (La volonta' del vento), performed by Elmar Gilbertsson and Snorri Sigfús Birgisson.

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