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Jón Leifs - Edda, Part I

Orchestras / Ensembles
Catalogue numberBIS-1350 SACD
Release date2007-10-10
Orig. sample rate44100Hz
Total time75:39

Classics Today 10/10; Gramophone: outstanding; International Record Review: outstanding.

Few composers have been as consistently preoccupied with their national origins as Jón Leifs, who only found his calling as a composer when he encountered a collection of Icelandic folk music. From the very beginning, Iceland, its music and myths, its landscape and climate furnished him with the material for almost all of his compositions. And from the very beginning Leifs knew that he wanted to create a great oratorio using texts from the Edda, Iceland's national treasure. He started work on the libretto in 1930, and soon decided that the theme of the first section would be The Creation of the World. It wasn't until 1935, however, that he found himself in a position to start composing the music of Edda I, completing it in 1939. Largely due to the highly difficult choral writing, the work was never performed in its entirety during Leifs’ lifetime. Indeed the first complete performance only took place in 2006, in conjunction with the recording of the present disc. Disheartened by the lack of success, Leifs went on to other works, but in 1951 he returned to the subject and began work on Edda II. He completed it in 1966, but at his death two years later Edda III was left unfinished. Edda I consists of thirteen movements, each of which describes part of the creation according to Nordic mythology. As the headings of the individual movements suggest – Sea, Earth, Heaven, Sun, etc. – Leifs’ main concern is the depiction of nature. He achieves this in music which carries the hallmarks of the Leifs style, such as a liberal use of parallel fifths and irregular metric patterns. The scoring is among Leifs’ most colourful and inspired, including the composer’s signature Nordic lurs and an extended percussion section. This landmark in Icelandic music is performed by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Schola Cantorum choir under the baton of Hermann Bäumer – a constellation that last came together on disc on the highly acclaimed Viking’s Answer, the previous Leifs’ release on BIS.
    File formats included in STUDIO QUALITY
    • FLAC 24-bit Stereo
    • FLAC 24-bit Surround 5.0
    • FLAC 16-bit Stereo
    • MP3 Stereo
    File formats included in CD QUALITY | MP3
    • FLAC 16-bit Stereo
    • MP3 Stereo
$ 15.62
Extra material for download
  Composer: Leifs, Jón
  Edda, Part 1: Sköpun heimsins (The Creation of the World) 74:24
01 I. Ár var alda (Young Were the Years) 04:19 $ 0.91 USD
02 II. Ýmir (Ymir) 07:22 $ 1.55 USD
03 III. Þursa þjóðar sjöt (The Giants’ Palace) 02:53 $ 0.61 USD
04 IV. Auðhumla, Óðinn ok hans bræðr (Audhumla, Odin and
his Brothers)
02:54 $ 0.61 USD
05 V. Sær (Sea) 02:36 $ 0.55 USD
06 VI. Jörð (Earth) 02:27 $ 0.51 USD
07 VII. Himinn, sól, dagr (Sky, Sun, Day) 10:21 $ 2.17 USD
08 VIII. Nótt, morgunn (Night, Morning) 19:17 $ 4.05 USD
09 IX. Ásgarðr, Askr ok Embla, Miðgarðr (Asgard, Ash and
Embla, Midgard)
03:36 $ 0.76 USD
10 X. Scherzo. Allir menn urðut jafnspakir (All Men Aren’t
Equally Wise)
03:21 $ 0.70 USD
11 XI. Viðr, sumar, logn (Wood, Summer, Calm) 07:59 $ 1.68 USD
12 XII. Vetr ok vindr (Winter and Wind) 02:35 $ 0.54 USD
13 XIII. Finale. Ífing, níu heimar (Ifing, Nine Worlds) 04:44 $ 0.99 USD
  Album total 75:39
ComposerLeifs, Jón
TenorGuðbjörnsson, Gunnar
Bass-baritoneKristinsson, Bjarni Thor
ChoirSchola Cantorum
OrchestraIceland Symphony Orchestra
ConductorBäumer, Hermann

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