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.
With Icelandic choir Schola Cantorum. Vocal soloists: Gunnar Gydbjörnsson, tenor and Bjarni Thor Kristinsson, bass-baritone.
Classics Today 10/10, highest rating; Gramophone: outstanding; International Record Review: outstanding.