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Jón Leifs - Complete Songs

Composer Jón Leifs
Performer Finnur Bjarnason
Örn Magnússon
Period Modern
Catalogue Number BIS-2170 CD
EAN 7318590021705
Format CD
Release date Feb 2016
Total time 80'28


Something of a cult figure, Jón Leifs is especially known for spectacular orchestral works often inspired by the natural phenomena of his native Iceland – such as volcanoes (Hekla) or waterfalls (Dettífoss) – or the great Icelandic sagas (Saga Symphony, and the large-scale, unfinished Edda oratorio). But throughout a turbulent life, Leifs also composed a number of solo songs all of which are gathered here. These 32 songs (including several folk song arrangements) often give unusually clear insights into the composer: more than Leifs’ work in any other genre, his song writing was often inspired by deeply personal events in his life, and consequently span a huge range of emotion and expression, from delicate lullabies to the most forceful of epic songs. This is brought out by Finnur Bjarnason and Örn Magnússon, both stalwart champions of the music by their compatriot in concert and on disc. Bjarnason has previously appeared on BIS in the substantial Gróa’s Spell for alto, tenor and orchestra (BIS-1080), while Magnússon has recorded the complete piano music for the label (on BIS-692). The present performances were originally released on the Smekkleysa label, in 2001, as a two-disc set. For this release they have been remastered and combined on a single disc by BIS Records, in the hope that they will reach a new and wider audience, serving as an introduction to and deepening the understanding of a highly individual voice in 20th century music.
 
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  Jón Leifs
  Memorial Songs on the Death of Jónas Hallgrímsson, Op. 45 (1958) 6'22
01 Heimþrá (Homesickness) 2'29
02 Sólhvörf (Solstice) 2'52
03 Hjörtun hefjast (Hearts Rise Up) 1'01
 
  Songs from the Saga Symphony, Op. 25 (1941) 4'46
04 Brennusöngur Skarphéðins (Skarphéðinn’s Song When Burning) 1'26
05 Húskarlahvöt (Exhortations to the Farmhands) 1'32
06 Helsöngur Þormóðar (Þormóður’s Death Song) 1'48
 
  Two Icelandic Folk Songs, Op. 19b (c. 1934–35) 5'08
07 Sofðu, unga ástin mín (Slumber Dearest Child of Mine) 4'13
08 Breiðifjörður (Fjord of a Thousand Islands) 0'55
 
  Two Songs, Op. 18a (1931–33) 9'43
09 Góða nótt (Good Night) 5'15
10 Ríma (Rhyme) 4'28
 
  Three Verses from Hávamál, Op. 4 (1924) 3'34
11 Þagalt ok hugalt (A King’s Child) 1'18
12 Ungr vark forðum (I Was Young) 1'05
13 Deyr fé (Beasts Die) 1'11
 
  Stattu steinhús
14 Stattu steinhús (Stand, House of Stone), Op. 47a (1958) 0'59
 
  Two Songs, Op. 14a (1929–30) 5'01
15 Máninn líður (The Moon Glides) 2'07
16 Vögguvísa (Lullaby) 2'54
 
  Three Songs from Icelandic Sagas, Op. 24 (1941) 6'16
17 Þat mælti mín móðir (My Mother Wants a Price Paid) 1'10
18 Ástarvísur til Steingerðar (Love Poems to Steingerður) 4'12
19 Haugskviða Gunnars (Gunnar’s Verse from His Mound) 0'54
 
  Three Songs, Op. 23 (1941) 9'01
20 Þula (Verse) 3'03
21 Draugadans (Dance of the Spectres) 2'54
22 Vorkvæði (Spring Poem) 3'04
 
  Minningaland
23 Minningaland (Memory-Land), Op. 27 No. 3 (1927–28) 2'32
 
  Love Verses from the Edda, Op. 18b (1931–32) 5'11
24 Löng er nótt (Long Is One Night) 3'04
25 Í Gymis görðum (In the Courts of Gymir) 2'07
 
  Old Scaldic Verses from Iceland, Op. 31 (1944–45) 7'19
26 Höggvinsmál Þóris jökuls (Up on the Keel You Shall Climb) 1'21
27 Siglingavísa (Seafaring Verse) 1'12
28 Hrafnsmál (The Words of the Raven) 4'46
 
  Three Icelandic Hymns, Op. 12a (1929) 6'03
29 Vertu guð faðir (Father Above) 1'53
30 Allt eins og blómstrið eina (Behold the Flower) 3'00
31 Upp, upp mín sál (Arise My Soul) 1'10
 
  Torrek
32 Torrek, Op. 33a (1947) 4'02
 
  Album total 80'28
ComposerLeifs, Jón
PianoMagnússon, Örn
TenorBjarnason, Finnur

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