Icelandic Works for the Stage – Pall Isolfsson & Jorunn Vidar



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18 Απριλίου 2023

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Páll Ísólfsson:Veislan á SólhaugumÚr Myndabók Jónasar Hallgrímssonar
Jórunn Vidar:Fire – ballet suite for orchestraÓlafur Liljurós – ballet suite for orchestra


Iceland Symphony Orchestra (Ορχήστρα)Rumon Gamba (Μαέστρος)

Páll Ísólfsson was the first director of the Reykjavík Music School, which opened in 1930. Like other musicians, he was forced by the lack of opportunity in Iceland to study abroad but, unlike others, he was able to return and work as the Organist at Reykjavík Cathedral to support his activities as a composer. His music for the early Ibsen play The Feast at Solhaug, performed in 1943 in Norwegian on Norway’s National day, was his theatrical début. This was followed in 1945 by the more ambitious score for Úr Myndabók Jónasar Hallgrímssonar. Jórunn Viðar started her advanced training at Ísólfsson’s conservatory, followed by studies in Berlin and then at the Juilliard School. In New York she met a fellow Icelander and dance student, Sigríður Ármann. The two of them collaborated on Eldur (Fire), which would be the first ballet for the new National Theatre in Reykjavík, presented in May 1950. Their second collaboration for the National Theatre, Ólafur Liljurós, opened in 1952 and is based on a traditional Nordic legend.

Sounding for all the world like the soundtrack to an Errol Flynn film, Viðar’s 1950 ballet suite Eldur gets proceedings off to a swashbuckling, high-energy start, whereas Ísólfsson’s music for Ibsen’s Veislan á Sólhaugum is a far starker, folk-inspired affair: Grieg’s music for Peer Gynt is the obvious point of comparison, but you may also detect echoes of Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite along the way… — Katherine Cooper, Presto Music, March 2023