| A VERSO | 1990 solo piano 7'
Literary metrics are based on horisontal and vertical euphony and on the repetition of metric structures. A verso is inspired by prosody and reconstructs in music some of its characteristics such as euphony (in this case based on 'syllables' of notepairs) and the metre, based on repetition of articulation structures.
The concept of repetition is at the basis of the whole form so the work may also be defined as a study on repetition on all levels of the musical texture.
Oslo, 1991 (Edda Erlendsdottir)
Amsterdam, September 8, 1991 (Tomoko Mukaiyama): The Gaudeamus Festival
Reykjavik, July 11, 1993 (S.S.Birgisson)
Bonn, 1993 (S.S.Birgisson)
Cremona, December 16 1993 (Marco Pedrazzini)
Milan (Maria Grazia Bellocchio)
Bergen, June 2000 (James Clapperton)
Reykjavik, August 2000 (James Clapperton)
Trento, November 2000 (Edda Erlendsdottir)
| A VERSO | 1990 solo piano 7'
| ACTIO 1994 | solo cello, 6'
Actio was written on commission from the Arts Festival of Hafnarfjördur in Iceland and premiered there by Bryndis Halla Gylfadóttir. The title refers to that part of classical rhetoric which has to do with the speaker's gestures. The piece tries to tread that narrow path between sincerity and show which characterises a good speaker.
For performers: There are some overly difficult passages in this piece which have prevented me from distributing it. I however intend to make a new and more practical version of it, since I feel its idea deserves it.
| BAKKYNJUR (BACCHAE) | 2007 For female choir, clarinet and percussion 20' approx.
This is a suite from the stage music containing all the songs and some of the "voicescapes" from the staging at the National Theatre in December 2006-February 2007. Probably some of the songs can be performed separately. The pitch structure goes from noise to tonal/modal.
To be premiered in Reykjavik 2009
Probably definable as a youth piece, Berging was written at the time when I dedicated almost as much time to writing poetry as to music. In fact it is written as a sort of musical counterpart to a poem of the same name. Apart from some formal allusions there is no precise correspondency between the two, it is more a question of unity of mood. Both the poem and the music are of somewhat expressionistic character.
For performers: The piece uses some unconventional techniques and some uncomfortable (or impossible) tremolos. It certainly is difficult, but the total effect is lyrical. It has been done by graduating flute students.
Reykjavík 1983 (Martial Nardeau)
Malmö, September 1983 (Áshildur Haraldsdóttir)
Reykjavík, January 1985 (Kolbeinn Bjarnason)
Stockholm, September 1987 (Áshildur Haraldsdóttir)
Blast is a short piece written as a birthday present to my brother, Adalsteinn Ingólfsson. The material is quite diatonic, which actually is a consequence of the rhytmic method I use.
For performers: A fanfare in 11/8 metre. Fit for last year trumpet students. A transcription for alto sax also exists.
This piece is a second version of the solo piece Blast for trumpet. The second trumpet is conceived as an echo of the first one. It may be placed at a certain distance from the first one, or it might play the whole piece through with a practice mute. An alternative solution might be playing the piece on one trumpet and using a very precisely adjusted delay device.
For a particular occasion in 1998 I put together the two pieces and wrote a transition with the quintet of Vink coming in at the end of Blast, continuing with a rhythmical ostinato which leads to the beginning of Vink II.
I wrote Brain Trill for Rolf-Erik Nyström much inspired by his technical and expressive versatility. I guess the piece explores the opposition of firm and floating mental states, but it also is conceived as an extension of the solists physical presence, starting in a hum and ending in a cough.
as part of Composition
Oslo, Reykjavík, Huddersfield, Trondheim October 2006
percussion I: tubular bells (only e flat’’, f’’), 2 suspended cymbals (small, medium), tam-tam (medium), xylophone, 3 temple blocks, set of membranes:, snare drum (without snares), 3 tom-toms, timpano, bass drum
percussion II:, 3 cymbals (small, medium, large), tubular bells, triangle (medium), glockenspiel, vibraphon, marimba,
Brekkugata sometimes resembles a concerto grosso where the woodwind form a “concertino” group which is contrapposed to the percussion and strings. The material is however not exposed in delimited sections, it rather forms one continuous line of development throughout the piece. The work was commissioned by The Akureyri Chamber Orchestra and is dedicated to Gudmundur Óli Gunnarsson its conductor. The title is simply the name of a street in the town of Akureyri (Northern Iceland).
For performers: Written for a high-level school orchestra.
Caput Canonis is a homage both to the canon as a compositional technique and to the group that premiered the piece. It might seem contradictory that neither of the two were brought to show their highest expressive qualities in this work: The canon (four voices in two couples of semicanons and two different couples of canons) is simply read in a few different ways and do not give rise to other primary material; and the role of the instruments does not contain the technical challenge usual for a modern work. The whole is rather an essay of quiet rigour imposed by the author on the two, and above all on himself, while tackling the difficult task of writing a slow movement.
For performers: There are two extant versions of this piece, and probably other orchestrations can easily be made.
Reykjavík, July 11, 1992 (Caput Ensemble)
Milan, December 1994 (same)
I have generally chosen to discard the problem of sincerity in art, or rather to confine it to a statement such as: "The work itself has a way of being sincere. The author cannot be totally sincere." This is quite a complex matter if we begin thinking of it, especially in regard to such a highly formalized genre as written music is, and especially today in the presence of a myriad of different idioms. I guess that somehow, for each work, we create an author, and that he in some bizarre way could claim to be sincere (if he were real...). But what happens when I put different works together and partly alter their original intentions, when I begin remixing, deviating or mocking the originals? Well, in my case it's a totally natural operation. Already as a child when I burst into tears I was capable of looking into the mirror and making a funny face. I guess I was composing myself, since the word composition simply refers to putting something together and I put a funny face on top of a crying one. However that might be, here we have a cycle by the name of Composition: three solo pieces that may be said to reflect my attitude towards the art of musical composition. We get form and its opposite, placed side by side, in a composition of compositions. Hopefully the totality breeds on the energy released by the friction between its components, and by the friction between them and supposed - , real - , make-believe- , impossible – or violent sincerity.
The Poing trio was a tremendous source of inspiration for the completion of this work. It is dedicated to the trio.
Oslo, Reykjavik, Huddersfield, Trondheim, autumn 2006
| CONO DI FEDE | 2004 for contrabass 12'
This piece was commissioned by Hávardur Tryggvason with support from the Reykjavík Culture City Fund. The title means Cone of Belief and may be a little enigmatic, but why shouldn’t it be? On hearing, the work reveals that the four open strings of the contrabass and their natural harmonics play a big role; I wanted to remain in an ambiguous area in between the unmodified, inherent sound of the contrabass (the open strings) and something much more personal, in between the general and the particular, although my own rythmical imprint is all pervading. This is a difficult piece and quite influenced by electric bass technique. In fact, at least half of the piece the bass is played pizzicato.
| COTTBUS DIPTYCH I: PROFILE | 2014 for orchestra 8':30"
| COTTBUS DIPTYCH II: SLUR | 2014 orchestra 5':20"
A four voice arrangement and reinterpretation of a traditional Icelandic psalm. In a minor.
| DÆM MIG GUÐ II | 2010 for mixed choir 1':30"
I revised my former arrangement of this traditional Icelandic tune taking it just a step further from it's oldest form, but decided the first arrangement should also be valid, thus the "II" in this arrangement.
Di volta came about as a study on certain compositional methods, in particular on the relation between rhythm and harmony, coincidence and determinism, and gradually became a concert piece with a certain dramatic development. It has been performed only once, at the UNM Festival in Helsinki 1990. At that occasion my programme notes enjoyed at least as much success as the piece: “Di volta was composed in the autumn of 1989. Its idea is a simple chain of notes which gives rise to a chain of chords which generate a chain of events which, if time were slightly more curved, could be made into a necklace for Mrs. Naught,hoping, I do hope she will forgive me for betraying her.
The title has many implications and is quite untranslatable. Read backwards however it says “atlovid”, which is utter nonsense”.
This is a commission from the Venice Biennale. The words set to music are by myself.An unexpected sense of fraternity with the bird some friends gave my daughter prompted me to write the three lines which are set to music here: "Dì, cocorita, se più ti piace / restare a gabbia chiusa sul balcone / o svolazzare libera in bagno” (Tell me, cocorita, whether you prefer / staying on the balcony with the cage closed / or flying freely in the bathroom). It suddenly appeared to me that our destinies might have something in common. The decision to use these verses in a brief composition is not to be understood as the fruit of a literary ambition. I wanted to use my own words simply as a painter who includes written phrases in the composition of the canvas, without any help from the literary “weight” of the text (certainly all but absent in this case). The music reflects some aspects of my recent production - for instance a qualitative type of rhythmical organisation -however all of them appearing in a slightly surreal atmosphere.
Venice, September 29, 2002 (Claudia Grimaz, The Ex Novo Ensemble)
Player I: Large tambourine on table (ca. 35 cm), Suspended cabaza (or medium maraca), Medium tam-tam (ca. 60 cm) prepared with a bathtub chain or similar hanging from the support and rattling against the shield, Wood block, Tenor drum, Cowbell (e’’), Vibraphone (+bow)
Player II: snare drum, suspended large maraca (or goat-hoofs), hi-hat with tambourine frame (small) on top
temple block (b flat’), gong (b flat), marimba (from c to c’’’’), wrist rattlers on both wrists throughout the piece: choose very small and delicate bells.
Player III: medium tom-tom with tambourine on top, suspended small maraca, sizzle cymbal, brake drum, small log drum, vibraphone (+bow)
While I was preparing my piece for Sisu, my friend Sigfus Dadason (1928-1996) passed away. Since I was planning a short piece which represented a passage from white noise through rhythm to harmony (from object through speech to meaning) I found it particularly appropriate as a homage to the memory of this singular poet. I beleive the circumstances did influence my writing - the piece took on some attributes of ritual music - although it need not be taken as an epitaph.
The title, 'Donec Vesper', comes from the sixth of Virgils eclogues. It literally means 'till Vesper' (the evening star), remembering how the heardsman keeps on singing till the evening star comes and stops him.
The score furthermore bears a quotation from one of Dadasons poems, which roughly translated goes: "Actually, there is no mention of this on the wall"
As concerns the general style of the piece, it is in line with my recent work on the interrelation between rhythm and harmony, although here, due to the duration and character of this piece, they are expressed in more straightforward terms than in most of my other pieces.
Harstad, Norway, October 1997 (SISU Percussion Trio)
Reykjavík, May 2001 (Oosterhout, Gretarsson, Palsson)
| DONEC VESPER II | 2008 flute and three percussionsits (8')
This is a new version of Donec Vesper, with a flute part added to the percussion, created for the commemoration of poet Sigfús Dadason for his eightieth birthday. The flute part obviously stands slightly out of the texture although this is not to be taken as a flute solo with accompaniment: Although the woodwind's voice can be distinctly discerned I strived to give it some of the precisely chiseled character which may be said to be a characteristic of much of Dadason's great poetry.
This is a very short vocal piece on a midieval Drottkvædi stanza from the Icelandic Saga of Gisli Sursson. A short passage from the saga should be recited before the song.
| DUBBLETTER | 1992 cl in A , vc , pno 9’
Dubbletter was composed by commission from Svenska Rikskonserterna in Stockholm for the Kaldalons Trio. The instruments explore diverse ways of playing together: distant and separate, distant but synchronous, close and synchronous, close and separate etc. All this happens on the surface while underneath there is a firm framework of vertical and horisontal pairs of notes that determines the function of all events.
Härnösand, Stockholm and Växjö, March 1992 (Ingolfsson, Kornblueh, Birgisson)
Njardvik, August 16, 1992 (same)
Reykjavík, October 4, 1992 (same)
Bergen, June, 2000 (Smith, Heim, Clapperton): The Music Factory Festival
Båstad, June 27, 2003
Due Bagattelle for clarinet were composed in 1987, while I studied with Davide Anzaghi at the Conservatoiy in Milan. Each of them is based on a spectre of pitches which remains immobile through the whole movement, but moves around these pitches in a certain way. The style may be defined as something between rigorous post-serialism and free jazz.
For performers: Although it is a school piece, the Bagattelle may be considered a fully representative part of my output and have enjoyed quite some success with soloists (in the original, and the modified version, see below). They are very difficult, but the difficulty seems to be rewarding enough. There seems to be no lack of excellent clarinettists capable of rendering such pieces.
Milan Conservatory, February 1987 (Rocco Carbonara)
Reykjavík, March 1990 (Gudni Franzson)
Milan, December 1993 (Gudni Franzson)
Bologna, July 1998 (Gaspare Tirincanti)
Bergen, June, 2000 (Smith)
Due Bagattelle for clarinet were composed in 1987. Each of them is based on a spectre of pitches which remains immobile through the whole movement, but moves around these pitches in a certain way. They have been performed in various places in the original version, but in 1997 I thought of adding slight external resonances to the solo part to mark the underlying pitch structure, also introducing some repetitions in the solo part.
For performers: There are various ways of realising the background parts, which are divided in three voices: vla. Vc. Pno. or vn. Vc. Vib (or guitar or harp or cymbalom) etc. A couple of instruments with sustained notes (strings) and at least one with plucked or stricken notes, and also with more than one instrument per voice.
Amsterdam, May 30, 1998 (Gino Sgroi/Zephyr Ensemble)
Montepulciano, July 1998 (Gaspare Tirincanti/Ensemble MusicAttuale)
Palermo, December 14 1998 (Gino Sgroi/Zephyr Ensemble): The Musica su più dimensioni Festival
Reggio Emilia: The Di Nuovo Musica Festival
Rome, June 17, 2000 (Gino Sgroi/Zephyr Ensemble)
| ELSKU BORGA MÍN | 2009 for mixed choir, minimum of 24 voices 26'
Elsku Borga mín draws its title and text from the letters a mother in the countryside in the West of Iceland wrote to her daughter when the latter was staying in a boarding school in the years 1948 and '49. I made no attempt to set the contents of the letters to music in the usual sense. The letters should rather be seen as fragments scattered on the surface of a big canvas. Despite this I cannot deny the fascination for the language and tone of the letters, which were basically too sacred for me to touch them or "interpret". The bigger part of the letters are about quite ordinary and everyday matters. This operation implies dwelving into the ritual of everyday life in the countryside. The most part of the music consists in voicescapes and spoken text, but there are also some more traditional sections. The choir also makes use of six iPod machines for a separate sextet to intonate a series of microtonal chords in the last section of the piece. This piece was commissioned by the Skálholt music festival.
Skálholt, July 2010
This is a transcription of the solo viola piece, made for the Båstad Chamber Music Festival, premiered on June 25, 2003
| ELVES' ACCENT, THE | 1998 (Casa Ricordi) fl , cl , vn , vc , pno 8’30’’
The Elves’ Accent originated as an arrangement of a solo viola piece entitled The Elves’ other Self, composed in 1994. During the transcription into the quintet form the material soon took another direction, and at the end the new piece had little more in common with its predecessor than the rhythmic structure of the beginning and part of the harmonic matrix. It seemed necessary to me to develop the metric proposition of the beginning of the solo piece with new rigour, undertaking a sort of metric narrative that runs through the whole piece. The metric in fact constitutes a sort of structure of support on which the instrumental ideas are fixed, seeking the borderline between information and redundancy. The harmony is derived from a progression of chords which in itself has a highly preaudible character although this character is seldom revealed.
Milano, May 12, 2000 (Icarus Ensemble)
Bergen, June 2000 (Ensemble MusicAttuale)
Bologna, June, 2000 (same)
Reykjavík, October 2000 (same)
New York, Toronto, Calgary, October 2000 (Ensemble Caput)
Reykjavík December 2001 (same)
This piece is a study with complex but repetitive rhythms. To my knowledge it has not yet been performed, which probably means that it is too difficult (especially the beginning), but this has yet to be confirmed.
percussion I: marimba, 3 cencerros (g sharp, a, d’), temple block (g sharp), tubular bells, 3 tom-toms (high, medium, deep), snare drum, 2 gongs (A, c), 2 chinese cymbals (medium, large)
percussion II:, vibraphone, 2 tam-tams (small, large). 2 bell plates, timpano, gong (g sharp)
Envoi was written on commission from IRCAM and Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris. The Midipiano is a normal grand piano with a Midi-out device which captures the note pitches and intensities of what the pianist plays and provokes with that information various reactions of the computer. Much of the time the reactions of the computer are based on normal piano sounds which are in strict rhythmic and harmonic/contrapuntal relation to the real piano, in an attempt to create a sort of extended piano, which is mid-way between an expressive and mechanical instrument.
Paris, January (twice) and April (twice) 1995, Ensemble Intercontemporain, soloist: Dimitri Vassilakis
…et toi, pâle Soleil was written for the final concert of the 1991 Jolivet competiion in Montreuil, with the instrumentation given by the organisation. The piece passes through four instances of old age, namely: decay, senility, metamorphosis and wisdom. Each of these gives rise to particular creative processes exposed in the four main episodes of the piece, each episode accompanied by the appropriate literary quotation, a different language and soloist prevailing in each episode. The four episodes are folowed by a short instrumental “envoi”.
Montreuil, February 1990
Amsterdam, September 8 1992
| ETCHING | 2010 for oboe solo 6'
The first part of Etching is based on the small trumpet solo Blast. The title obviously refers to the graphic etching technique. It seemed to me the sharp and insistent lines the oboe sketches in this piece might evoke the character of an etching, and furthermore graphics of this type are necessarily of modest dimensions as this composition. As concerns the actual contents of this tableau it probably has to do with the connection between obstinacy and creativity
Reykjavík, March 6, 2010 (Eydís Franzdóttir)
Euludio was composed by request of the Amici della Musica and Ricercare Associations in Cagliari. It is one of a series of electronic pieces the Association brought together intended as intersections between various piano works by Chopin. There is in fact a fragment from the first Prelude op. 28 at the basis of this short electronic etude.
| FINAL THEME from the film In each man's dream his downfall looms |2013 for solo piano and orchestra 15'
(registered under its Icelandic title: LOKALAGIÐ úr kvikmyndinni Í draumi sérhvers manns er fall hans falið)
This piece was composed upon request from Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson. It deals with the relation between piano and orchestra on different levels, both dramaturgically and musically. One of my main tasks was to combine the chromatic nature of the keyboard with a microtonal surrounding in the orchestra. This was done by choosing a popular Icelandic melody and reading its pitches as components in distorted sound spectra but also by establishing a very strict system of action and reaction between the two. We might also say that four aspects of sound are distinct but interrelated in the piece: Triadic harmony, diatonic materials, chromatic materials and finally spectral or microtonal materials. The film the title refers to is imaginary.
Reykjavík, April 19 2013, as part of the Tectonics festival (Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Ilan Volkov)
Master keyboard with midi pedal, AKAI sampler mod. 3000 (3200), PowerMac with Max 3.0, mixer (6 channels out), reverb device, 4 speakers.
Flecte Lapis for sampler and keyboard was commissioned by the Agon studios and the Fondazione Gentilucci and realised at the studios in the summer of 1997 and ’98. The commission included the condition that I delivered a short paper on the realisation of this piece. This paper is to be found on the homepage. Despite the complex preparatory work, the piece took on quite a straightforward formal structure, with much emphasis on the overall rhythmical evolution.
For performers: This piece requires a skilled piano/keyboard player, which unfortunately has to play with a click-track most of the time.
Stockholm, September 1998 (Mårten Landström)
Berkeley, Cal., April, June 2001, (Mei Fang Lin)
Milan, October 2001, (Massimiliano Viel)
| FLECTE LAPIS II | 1998 cl (Bass cl) , Keyboard as above 14’
Given the clear-cut formal structure of Flecte Lapis, and the fact that its material and some of its sounds are derived from a clarinet-like spectre, I envisaged the possibility of adding a solo clarinet part to the practically unchanged sampler part. This version was premiered in Reykjavík in 1998 at the Erkitid Festival, which also commissioned this version.
For performers: While preparing the clarinet part I met with Gudni Franzson. Blame him if this seems to be unplayable. Actually it isn’t. There are no rhytmically overcomplex passages or such, just a lot of special effects and some microtones. The special effects allow some variation in interpretation. Then there is one improvised passage. So the character of the piece is quite “crossover-ish”. Still, I guess you need to be one of those “just-write-it-I’ll-play-it” clarinettists that are around…
Reykjavík, October 1998 (Gudni Franzson (cl), Snorri S. Birgisson (kb))
Milan, November 20, 1999 (Rocco Carbonara (cl), Aldo Orvieto (kb))
Reykjavík, April 5, 2003, Gudni Franzson + computer
vib., mar., tub.bells, glock., medium tam-tam, 3 tom-toms
A Flight of Fourteen Vowels is a sort of tapestry with fourteen images. In each one the melodic and rhythmic aspects tempt to dissolve into a certain general colour, so the memory will retain principally the general effect of the image rather than the threads it is woven with. Some of the images are closely related, share the same background or texture, some are the reverse side of the former image and some are a sort of reflection on the preceding images. The work was commissioned by the Hafnarfjördur Chamber Ensemble for its concerts in Hafnarfjördur and Bucarest in 1994.
Hafnarfjordur, London, Bucarest, March 1994 (Kammersveit Hafnarfjardar)
Forbidden Mantra has the same instrumentation as Vortex Temporum by Gérard Grisey and was intended to be included in the same program. I resolved to use the same retuned piano featured in Vortex but in such a way that the piano part can also be played by a piano with ordinary tuning. As to the form of the piece one may say it takes one more step towards the elimination of independent detail and voices: Almost every event is "choral", simply the result of a tightly woven texture, and yet formal contrasts are of great importance...in fact there is almost nothing left but form, but even that is challenged at the end through a highly predictable though ever-varied mantra in 3/4 which goes on and on...
Reykjavik, June 5 2010 (Njuton and the Formalist Quartet)
| FORGOTTEN STEP | 2008 6´
for recorder, violin and accordeon
This piece was written on commission from the Gaman trio for their Nordic tour in 2008 and 2009.
Forgotten Step may be seen as the attempt to remember an imaginary dance step long forgotten. One may try different methods to approach it: will it be the rhythm, the melody or maybe the sound or the character which will finally enable you to recall the step? Once in a while you concentrate on one aspect, seeming you are just about to get it, but then you don't really get on. Finally it turns out that maybe it wasn't really the dance itself that haunted you but the context and you start concentrating as much on the colour as on the step. Exactly how all this ends is up to the listener to judge.
| SÍSÍFÚGA | 2012 for piano 3'
Pianist Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson, with Halla Magnúsdóttir, is preparing a television series on music and its forms. In an episode on the fugue where I appear, we thought it a good idea to compose a fugue on a popular Icelandic theme. I therefore wrote a fugue in a minor on the theme Sísí fríkar út (Sisi freaks out) by Ragnhildur Gísladóttir, which Víkingur promptly recorded for the show.
| HZH: STRING QUARTET N.1 | 1999 (Casa Ricordi) string quartet 16’
The idea at the basis of my first string quartet is that of a landscape which transforms into words, which on their turn transform into verse, and eventually, pure rhythm. The rhythm can then flow into a new landscape and the process can begin over again. In music, the above terms - landscape, speech and verse - easily translate into timbre, harmony and rhythm. The transition between these three aspects of a single material has interested me for quite some time. During my work on the quartet they were symbolized by the German terms Haut, Zunge, Herz, which then became part of the title: HZH. The piece was commissioned by the Musik-Biennale Berlin for the Arditti quartet and premiered in March 1999.
Konserthaus Berlin, March, 1999 (The Arditti Quartet): Berlin Biennale
NMH, Oslo, October 2001 (same): The Ultima Festival
| IDIOCLICK | 2014 solo violin 13'
In Idioclick the performer and his instrument become one. All the music stems from certain gestural patterns of the performer applied to the instrument taken as a sound source defined only by its physical characteristics. I believe noise has never had a bigger part in my work, although it is very soft most of the time. And when pitches appear they start acting almost as just a new type of noise, but they also evoke a distant memory in the instrument's history. Idioclick was commissioned and premiered by Sif Tulinius. Due to the low dynamic level of much of the sounds, the performer should consider using a very carefully balanced amplification. There are halls where this is not necessary. The piece was premiered in a 300 seat hall without amplification, with good results.
This is simply an arrangement of the two part invention, done as a respectful analysis with exclamation marks here and there. I have prepared but not executed a couple of other such arrangements.
| IS ANYBODY THERE? | 2004
Solo clarinet (bassett-clar. in A) and 15 strings (5 first violins, 4 second violins, 3 violas, 2 cellos, 1 bass) 12’
Is Anybody There was commissioned by NOMUS for Staffan Mårtensson and premiered by him with the Musica Vitae ensemble from Växjö, Sweden. In this piece I tried to let the soloist tread a very narrow path between being individual and impersonal. He is indeed in a main role, but sometimes has a very mechanical part to interpret. Although the role is quite difficult, it is not “heroic”. I guess the main concept of this piece has to do with individuality and absence and as part of this the five first violins play most of the time with metal mutes, being alienated from their usual leading role.
Växjö, Gothemburg, Helsingborg, November 2004,
Épinal, September 2009
When I set out to write this piece I quite naturally started designing a very tightly woven rhythmical and contrapuntal structure so as to contrast the somewhat ‘salonesque’ colour this instrumental combination tends to have. I came up with a four-voice pattern, which only employs a total of six notes. The four movements each present a different interpretation of this pattern – the first one for example uses only four notes. At the end I guess the whole work presents an interesting contrast between the absolute rigour of the methods employed and the apparent spontaneousness of the surface, perhaps providing new proof that entertainment and consequentiality are not antonymous
| KVENNA HEITI | 2001 mixed choir 5’
A sort of ‘burlesque’ on a text by Snorri Sturluson: a list of several different names for ‘woman’ in Icelandic. The piece employs speakers, screamers and rappers beside the normal voices.
Reykjavík, February 2006, Vox Academica
player II: metal tube (30 cm x 50 mm), 2 cencerros, 4 claves, 1 wood block, snare drum, 4 tom-toms, marimba, tam-tam (70 cm)
player III: metal spring, 2 cencerros, dobachi (e flat’), 5 wood blocks, 5 boo bams, vibraphone
player IV: wa-wa bar I, 2 cencerros, 4 wood blocks, 1 mokubio, 2 bongos, 2 congas, timpano, 2 crotales
player V: wa-wa bar II, 2 cencerros, dobachi, 3 mokubios, 2 temple blocks, 4 roto toms, 1 timpano, 2 crotales
player VI: wa-wa bar III, 2 cencerros, 5 temple blocks, 4 tom toms, bass drum, 2 crotales
| L'Atleta | 1996 (BMG Ricordi)
for solo trumpet and 6 perc. Players 12’
player I: 5 cencerros (with mute), 5 claves on support, dobachi (c’), marimba, set of 3 bongos and 2 congas, bell tree
player II: metal tube (30 cm x 50 mm), 2 cencerros, 4 claves, 1 wood block, snare drum, 4 tom-toms, marimba, tam-tam (70 cm)
player III: metal spring, 2 cencerros, dobachi (e flat’), 5 wood blocks, 5 boo bams, vibraphone
player IV: wa-wa bar I, 2 cencerros, 4 wood blocks, 1 mokubio, 2 bongos, 2 congas, timpano, 2 crotales
player V: wa-wa bar II, 2 cencerros, dobachi, 3 mokubios, 2 temple blocks, 4 roto toms, 1 timpano, 2 crotales
player VI: wa-wa bar III, 2 cencerros, 5 temple blocks, 4 tom toms, bass drum, 2 crotales
Le pas les pentes is made of a series of “panels” which all re-elaborate the same basic material. The rhythmic approach is fundamental for the definition of each episode, making them sometimes directional and sometimes static. In fact, the title (“the step, the slopes” in English) refers to a certain rhytmic technique where a regular “step” of the rhythm is met with irregularities in the underlying terrain, and automatically varies according to the terrain. This piece was composed upon request from Nuove Sincronie in Milan for the Avanti Ensemble in Helsinki. It is dedicated to the Avanti Ensemble.
For performers: A rhythmically delicate piece!
Milan, December 16, 1991 (Avanti Ensemble)
Helsinki, January 1991 (Avanti Ensemble)
Reykjavík, March 21 1992 (Caput Ensemble)
Reykjavík, September 10, 1992 (Caput Ensemble)
Reykjavík, July 11, 1993 (Caput Ensemble)
Paris, February 1995 (Ensemble L’Itinéraire)
…MA LA MELODIA | 2000 solo piano 4’
Ma la melodia is an overall ironical conceptual piece, inspired by Pasolini’s lines:
ma la melodia obbliga il cuore e la mente
ad avere come compagno di destino il cazzo;
(L’orecchiabile, from Trasumanar e organizzar)
It is a late-romantic-type tonal piece, with a melody which spelled out in letters forms an Icelandic word…
The piece is dedicated to Icelandic artist and writer Sigurdur Gudmundsson.
Reykjavík, Snorri Sigfús Birgisson
Schlangenbad, Germany, 26.10.2008 - Susanne Kessel
| MANI | 2011 orchestra 8’
instrumentation: 4343.4441.3perc.harp.strings (min.184.108.40.206.6)
Since Volkslied or world music was to be an underlying theme in my new piece I incorporated a sort of Lied-type tune in it. This tune was however not something I brought into the piece from the outside, not a preexisting tune. On the contrary I set about looking into my usual composing procedures to find out whether a Volkslied could be extracted from them. Indeed my rhythmic grid yielded a fragment of a tune in G major. This fragment is presented behind a veil in the beginning of the piece. As the piece goes on we discover that the notes of the tune are actually like five bells, each one of them ringing quite independently of the others and the piece evolves into a growing sound mass. Almost all sounds played by the orchestra are like single ringing bells of different amplitude, so there is not much melodic feel to the piece. The title, Mani, is the term for the Tibetan prayer wheel used in certain rituals. It was inspired by the fact that my piece is based on rhythmic cycles that are constantly repeated in different versions.
Cottbus, December 16 and 18, 2011 (Orkester des Staatstheaters Cottbus, Daniel Klajner)
Reykjavík, January 24, 2012 (Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Ilan Volkov)
| MESSAGGIO DAL VETRAIO | 2018 solo vn, fl, cl, perc, vla, vc, cb 10'
Messaggio dal vetraio is scored for solo violin, two woodwinds, percussion and string trio. It is based on a pre-existing violin solo, Etching. This piece presents a very firm metric structure, it is almost constantly in 11/8 metre. The rhythm constantly plays around the same formula, which also generates the pitch material. The role of the flute and clarinet is mostly to create an echo of the solo part, the string trio plays out the harmonic consequences of the solo part and the percussion unifies all parts by underlining the metric structure.
Skálholt, July 7 and 8 2018 (Marco Fusi, Caput Ensemble)
| MÉTRIQUE DU CRI, LA | 1995 (Casa Ricordi) fl , ob , cl , bn , hrn , pno , 2vn , vla , vc , cb 11’
La métrique du cri was composed in 1996 for Ensemble L’Itinéraire in Paris, with support from the Icelandic Radio Composers fund.
The piece is typical of my effort to dissolve counterpoint into timbre, musical figures into general behaviour and rhythm into a metrical character. For this dissolution to be perceived I had to insist on it in various passages, which take on an almost minimalistic character although they have nothing to do with the poetics of minimalism. The form thus became quite simple and outspoken, playing with the listeners expectation or eventually his impatience. The title (“the metrics of the shout”) exemplifies the contradiction between the rational and the irrational present in my compositional behaviour.
Paris, February 24, 1996 (Ensemble L’Itinéraire)
Reykjavík, March 1997 (Caput Ensemble)
Lisbon, 1997 (same)
Warsaw, October 1999, (same)
Stockholm, Norrköping, June, 2000 (KammarensembléN)
Stavanger, April 2001 (Ensemble of the Stavanger Conservatory)
Köln, November 2007 (Ensemble of the Musikhochschule)
Millispil was begun in Milan in the spring of 1988 and finished in Paris in the autumn of that year. It was written for the Caput Ensemble, which premiered it in January 1989. It has a form characteristic of some of my pieces from this period: A series of panels, embedded in a general evolution, a sort of “variation in evolution”.
Reykjavík, January 4 1989 (Caput Ensemble)
Stockholm, October 28, 1989 (Mynt Ensemblen)
It is possible to tie a knot on a thread, a reed stalk or some other such material, that will trap a guardian imp and prevent him from leaving his master. If a musical composition is knit together in the right way, one can catch an imp which then forever kicks about in its web. Musubi is based on a net of tones in which many kinds of knots have been tied, in the hope that life will quicken in it. The title of the work alludes to ancient Japanese belief in the power of knots. The work was commissioned by Michio Nakajima of the Mirkk Art Forum in Tokyo
Reykjavík, February 7. 1993 (The Ymir Ensemble)
one player: marimba (A-c’’’’), vibraphone, tubular bells (c’, e flat ‘, f’),tam-tam (small)
This is a brief piece completed in Paris in January 1990. Perhaps I was not convinced of its quality, and have never proposed it for performance. On second thought there are however a couple of passages of certain interest.
For performers: There has not been made any performance material for this piece, so a performance would require adequate notice.
perc I: marimba A - c’’’’, wood blocks, finger cymbals, 3 temple blocks, tubular bells, Glockenspiel
perc II: Vibraphone f - f’’’, Wood block, Claves, Triangle, Tam-tam (medium), 1 crotale (C sharp’ ),3 tom toms, timpano (…inch)
While composing A verso for piano I envisaged the possibility to pronounce and enlargen its structure in a work for piano and instruments. The following year this led to O versa for piano and 12 instruments. The first part is basically a transcription and orchestration of the solo piece, but before it is over the work takes a new direction, more typical of a concertino, and adds a series of “perorazio” to the original development of the compositional idea. The idea itself may be described as a study on repetition, on various levels of the structure, from the articulation down to the cell structure that makes up the sequences in the piano part, or to the right out repetion of one or more notes. All this probably stems from my interest in literary metrics with the relative formulas of rhytmic repetition and alliteration. The brief cadence was added only after the first performance. It takes off at a point where the material has been distilled and only pure “vapour” remains in the form of octave figures.
Reykjavík, February 16, 1992 (Íslenska Hljómsveitin, soloist: A.G. Gudmundsdottir)
Stavanger, October 27, 1993 (NMH Samtidsensemble, soloist: J.F Heyerdahl)
Stockholm, October 6, 1994 (Uppsala Chamber Soloists, soloist: Per Lundberg)
Milan, November 8, 1998 (Ensemble Nuove Sincronie, soloist: Kumi Uchimoto)
One performer: large tambourine, marimba, claves, 5 cencerros, log drum
Oa was commissioned by Musica su più dimensioni in Palermo. The text is derived from one of the Laude by Jacopone da Todi which begins “O amore…”
| OBJECT OF TERROR | 2000 (Casa Ricordi) fl , ob , cl , bn , hrn , tpt , tbn , perc , pno , 2 vn , vla. vc. cb. 15’30’’
suggested setup: two sets
set A: triangle (medium-big) prepared with a set of rings, brake drum, metal spring, tubular bells (c’, e’, g sharp’)
3 cymbals (small, medium sizzle cymbal, big) bass drum.
Set B: vibraphone (with 2 bows), 6 cencerros, deep gong (deep f sharp) (or medium-big tam tam)
Object of Terror was written on commission from the Caput Ensemble and Reykjavík 2000.
The idea of musical material has gradually been dissolving in my works. At present we may say that the harmonic and rhythmic basis which generate the events lay deep under the surface, mostly unpronounced, but a distorted, elusive or compressed image of them permeats the surface. The most important thing is the evolution itself, how the foreground changes without anytime reaching a secure affirmation of themes, chords or rhytmical ideas. The form is quite foreseeable, unavoidable, and from that point of view this is among my most simple pieces. This is done so as the form will not bear any message in itself but point all the attention to the metamorphoses itself, to the colour and fragrance of time that passes, to the relation of creation and distruction which has long interested me.
Reykjavík, September 2000, (The Caput Ensemble)
Reykjavík, November 2000, (same)
Bologna, November, 2000: (same) Mappe musicali
Prague, November, 2000 : (same) Music Marathon
Amsterdam, June 2001: (same) The Holland Festival
Bologna, October 2002, (FontanaMIX) Bologna Festival
Berlin, December 2002 (The Caput Ensemble)
The two pages of an open book are called opna in Icelandic, but opna also means “to open”. The work was composed beginning with the central part, which constitutes a sort of symmetrical point. After the central part I proceeded to realising the sections towards the beginning and towards the end using the structural potential of the centre.
Despite the almost structuralist appearance of this approach the outer sections hide their relation to the centre, which for the listener seems to be only another part of the form.
Opna was written on request of Nuove Sincronie in Milan for Harry Sparnaay and Johan Faber.
For performers: A willingly virtuosistic piece for both performers.
Varese, July 28, 1991 (Harry Sparnaay, cl, Johan Faber, mar)
Paris, January 11, 1992 (Didier Pernoit, cl, Pascal Zavaro, mar)
Båstad, June 27, 2003, Gudni Franzson, Markus Leoson
| ORCHESTRA B | 2002 orchestra 13’
instrumentation: 3333.4431.timp.3perc.strings (min.220.127.116.11.6)
Timpani and 3 other percussionists
timpani (1 performer):
1) 81 cm timpano prepared with straps of velcro. Also played with a piece of wet polysterene (isolating or packaging plastic) 2) 63 cm timpano with sizzling objects on top (small chains or marbles) 3) 57 cm timpano with wooden cover. 4) revolverperc I: Large avil, small gong (Bb), snare drum, hi-hat, steeldrum (Ab major), vibraphone, large log-drum, two books (one thick bound volume, and a smaller one)
perc II: wooden plank, small tambourine, medium tom-tom, suspended medium sizzle cymbal, medium gong (Ab), large tam-tam, two books (one thick bound volume, and a smaller one)
perc III: Wooden plank with nails imbedded, tenor snare drum, deep gong (E), sleigh-bells (fixed on both wrists), suspended large cymbal, glockenspiel, tubular bells, two books (one thick bound volume, and a smaller one)
This work was written with support from the Icelandic Radio Composer’s Fund for the Icelandic Composers Societie’s Dark Music Days in January 2003. The title alludes to the fact that the piece is conceived as if it were for two orchestras, of which we only hear the second of the two. For the listener, this means he should never expect to hear musical ideas presented as if they were a main theme, a principal rhythm etc. It’s all as a more or less distorted echo of something we do not hear.
Reykjavik, February 6, 2003 (Iceland Symphony Orchestra, B.Wilkinson)
I created a two-headed beast by the name of Orgoras. This is its message.
The piece was commissioned by the WDR and is affectionately dedicated to Beate Zelinsky and David Smeyers.
WDR, Cologne, February 2009
| PICTURES OF THREE FOLKSONGS | 2007 mezzo/folk voice, flute, violin, cello 5'
I added a third arrangement to the two I did in 1996 to form a small cycle. The instrumentation was decided by circumstances at the time, but I just maintained it. I guess Luciano Berio's example is very present whenever one sets to work on folksong arrangements, but his most important lesson is perhaps that one should act as if the songs were of one's own composition. I am not looking for anything like an authentic sound for these tunes, I just try to react on how they speak to me. I particularly enjoyed doing the second song which turned out to have nothing typically Icelandic about it.
| PLAY AND DESTROY | 2005 fl , cl , vn , vc , perc , pno , computer, video 18’
percussion: vib. 2 boo-bams, 2 bongos, 2 congas, medium tam-tam
Play and Destroy was commissioned by the CIRM centre in Nice with support from the French Cultural Ministry. The electronic part was realised at the CIRM studios with the assistance of Frédéric Voisin. An eight minute video is part of the work. It was realised by Simone Bellotti and Lino Greco. Leaving aside the possible symbolic and conceptual contents of the piece, let me only describe how it appears: A silent video shows a man demolishing a sculpture - a sort of angel or scarecrow - made of various materials. He visibly produces a number of different noises with these materials but the only thing to be heard are the instruments playing rather freely. As the video ends, the original and elaborated sounds from the performance enter the stage and the instruments begin playing more distinctly evolving parts around them, although never gaining an unchallenged lead on the noise.
Nice, November 5, 2005, ensemble Sillages
Reykjavík, Feb. 11, 2006, Caput Ensemble
Montréal, March 2, 2006, Caput Ensemble
| 21 POPULAR MELODIES | 1988-90 chamber orchestra (+male choir)
Some Icelandic composers got a commission from the Radio to do arrangements of songs from two books of popular melodies (Icelandic and of foreign origin). There were no precise restrictions on the setting to be used, so I did arrangements for various combinations, almost as exercises in orchestration. Some are for male choir, with or without solos, and chamber orchestra, some are purely instrumental and some are for full orchestra.
A post scriptum is something you add after the letter is finished, just some short free flowing additions to what you have already said. The piece was written for Thurídur Jónsdóttir and was meant to be a PS to a concert she gave in Iceland in November 1998.
| PREGNANT | 2014 for violin, viola, cello, percussion and saxophone quartet 8’30”
Pregnant was composed on commission from Deutschlandfunk and the Musikhochschule Köln to complete a program which carried the title 1914-2014. My original intention was to use a popular German melody from 1914 as material but in the final result the only remnant of it was a D major chord which begins the saxophone part. The question is what the pregnancy of this chord entails.
Ludwig Museum, Köln, April 3, 2014 (Ensemble 20/21)
Wuppertal, June 4,
Quintet (subtitled “Der Wahrheit Gewidmet”) was composed for the Icelandic Radio’s composition competition, where it received the first prize. It consists in a series of “images” which do not evolve radically, the variation in time of each image being based mostly on degree of pitch saturation and movement in register. There is not a strong harmonic scheme in the piece. Each of the five movements is however focused on one note of the e minor chord, and this chord lurks behind the music like a ghost.
Reykjavík, September 1985
Reykjavík, February 4 1998 (Reykjavík Wind Quintet)
Race is a short piece written on commission from the Festival Musica ‘900 in Trento where it was premiered in December 1992.
| RADIOFLAKES | 2004 for accordion 8'
I can't help seeing the accordion as a forefather of the portable radio, the so-called ghettoblaster”. This means that for me it impersonates a struggle between its characteristic rhythmical swing, more aggressive sound-energy and carefree radio-scanning. Writing this piece was as fascinating a trip as sitting in front of the radio as a child, playing with the scanning knob. Radioflakes was written for Frode Haltli upon commission from Radio France.
| SNAP | 2005 (Casa Ricordi) bfl . bcl . vn. vc. sampler 6’
Snap is part of a curious project conceived by Alter Ego in collaboration with Pan Sonic, the electro-duet from Finland. Four composers were asked to write short pieces that would be sort of written remixes of Pan Sonic’s music. The pieces are then to be performed in concert, with Pan Sonic commenting them musically and partly remixing them once more. The title of the project is Microwaves. In my piece I borrowed some rhythmic sounds from Altopiiri, Pan Sonic’s cd, put them into my own rhythmic framework and let them form a rhythmic basis for the whole piece. The instruments play simple parts, mostly in contrast to the strong ongoing Pan Sonic sounding rhythm. The result is a hybrid which neither sounds totally like a piece of mine nor totally like a piece by Pan Sonic. A project of the sort was originally to be written by Fausto Romitelli. After he passed away four of his friends took his place and dedicated the result to his memory. Besides myself these composers are Yan Marez, Riccardo Nova and Giovanni Verrando.
Stockholm, Geneva, Berlin, Barcellona, Paris, Oslo, Huddersfield and some other places between 2006 and 2007
Stálræda was written on commission from the Reykjavík Cathedral Choir for the Church music festival in 1988, and premiered by Marteinn Hunger Fridriksson.
| SULPHUR PULSE | 2003 (Casa Ricordi) for 6 percussionists, 17’
This work was commissioned by Les Percussions de Strasbourg with support from the French Ministry of culture. It is dedicated to the memory of Gérard Grisey and is related in a particular way to my memory of him: during his visit to Iceland I took him for a day’s drive. One of the places we visited was a geothermal powerplant near Reykjavik where we took a look at Iceland’s most powerful borehole blowing vapour with immense force and noise. He was very impressed by the sound it made and asked me to record it when I could. I did not accomplish this before he so unexpectedly passed away. In the summer of 2001 I finally made a good recording of this sound and it became sort of the background to this piece, influencing it on different levels.
Strasbourg, October 6, 2003 (Musica Festival)
Royaumont, August 19, 2005
| SUZANNAH | 2005 Music-theatre based on a play by Jon Fosse 2005 For three female actors, fl , cl , vn , vc , guit , 2 perc , kbd Percussion: player I: 6 cowbells, claves, bass drum, rainstick, maracas, small radio Player II: timpano, xylophone, vibraphone, glockenspiel, triangle 75’
This is a theatre piece commissioned by the Cinnober Theatre group in Gothemburg and the Göteborg Kammarsolisterna. The text consists in the bigger part of the play Suzannah by Jon Fosse in the Swedish translation by S.A. Löwenborg who also directed the piece. Sometimes I refer to this piece as a spoken opera although the form is also close to the play. There are some features typical of modern music theatre, for instance the fact that the musicians are on stage all the time and sometimes participate in the action. Whatever it might be called the music is certainly on an equal footing with the text. The play stages Henrik Ibsen’s wife, Suzannah, in three different periods of her life. The three Suzannahs are present on stage simultaneously.
Atalante theatre, Gothemburg, eleven evenings in December 2005 and January 2006. Black Box Theatre, Oslo, two performances scheduled for mid-October 2006.
Three Mouments are three quite tonal melodies for medium level flute students.
Several performances, often in schools, but also as an encore in concert.
| TRATTO | 2012 for oboe 2':30''
I am proud to be one of the founders of the Fontana Mix Ensemble, based in Bologna, Italy. The ensemble organised a mixed concert-party event to celebrate it's ten years of activity. For that occasion each of the 'local' composers who have worked with the ensemble in the past wrote a solo for a musician of the ensemble. Brevity was an important requirement as these should just be like post-cards from the composers. I made a form out of a simple melodic outline which stubbornly remains almost the same, although constantly varied until replaced by a conclusive phrase. A sort of meditation is the result. In any case a fairly easy piece to play.
Trust me was written on commission from Svenska Rikskonserter for the Obscura Trio. I seem to be moving away from the traditional conception of chamber music as a subtle formal- and contrapuntal construction, preferring to look at the form just as a sort of song. This means that my form tends to be more simple and the writing perhaps more rude or straightforward. This probably shows in Trust me. As many of my recent works it is built on a stable rhythmical background which is focused in different ways during the piece, and only occasionally is challenged. Likewise, the harmony is actually very foreseeable, but varying in density.
Stockholm April 23, 2002, Halmstad May 3 2002, Ronneby May 5 2002, Göteorg August 1, 2002, Linköping August 15, 2002, Skinnskatteberg February 1 2003, Västerås February 2 2003
| VINK | 1993 for piccolo, clarinet, cello and piano 3'
The Caput Ensemble had a concert in London in the summer of 1994. They told me with short notice that they needed a short piece to fill in the programme, but they preferred it was for the complete quintet which figured in the concert. I hastily added a violin part and a couple of new passages to Vink from the year before.
London, June 1994 (Caput Ensemble)
Barcellona, 1995 (same)
Berlin, 1995 (a German group…)
Reykjavik, August 1999 (Atonal Future)
Tonal piece - sort of mixolydian - on a poem by Jónas Hallgrímsson (in Icelandic).
For the sake of completeness this list comprises most of the works I have finished, without regard for their importance or diffusion. The lists of performances are generally only partial, and roughly estimated as to dates etc
1982 | BERGING (Consummation) | solo flute 6'30"
1985 | QUINTET FOR WOODWIND | fl , ob , cl in Bb (cl in A) , hrn , bn 10'
1986 | THREE MOUMENTS | flute and piano 2'30"
1987 | DUE BAGATTELLE | solo clarinet 6'
1988 | STÁLRÆDA (Steel Sermon) | organ 13'
____ | MILLISPIL | fl (picc) , cl , cl (Bcl) bn , hrn , tbn , pno 9'
1988-90 | 21 POPULAR MELODIES | chamber orchestra (+male choir)
1989 | DI VOLTA | vib , mar , pno 6'45"
1990 | A NECKLACE FOR MRS. NAUGHT | picc (fl in C) , fl (fl in G) , percussion , harp , celesta (harmonium) , 2vn , vla , vc, 9'
____ | A VERSO | solo piano 7'
1991 | ET TOI, PALE SOLEIL | sopr , mezzo-sopr ,countertenor , baritone , fl , sax, tpt , hrn , tbn ,vn , cb 14'
____ | O VERSA | solo piano , 2cl , Bcl , 2hrn , 2 perc , 2vn , vla , vc , cb 12'30"
____ | OPNA | Bass clarinet and marimba 7'
____ | LE PAS, LES PENTES | fl (picc.) , cl , pno , 2vn , vla , vc , cb 9'
1992 | DUBBLETTER | cl in A , vc , pno 9'
____ | INVENTIONS IN B FLAT MAJOR AND C MINOR BY BACH | cl , vc , pno 1'
____ | RACE | fl , ob , cl , bn , hrn , tpt , tbn , 2vn , vla , vc, cb. 4'
____ | MUSUBI | tpt , vib (mar) , pno 9'30"
1993 | VINK | picc , cl , vc , pno 3'
____ | BREKKUGATA | chamber orchestra: 18.104.22.168/ 0.0.0.0./ pno / 2 perc / str. 11'
____ | ACTIO | solo cello 5'
____ | DROTTKVAED VÍSA | mezzo-soprano and piano 3'
1994 | THE ELVE'S OTHER SELF | solo viola 5'
____ | VINK II | picc , cl , vn , vc , pno 4'
____ | A FLIGHT OF FOURTEEN VOWELS | fl , ob , cl , bn , hrn , tpt ,tbn , perc , pno , 2vn , vla , vc , cb 10'
____ | CAPUT CANONIS | fl , ob , cl , bn , hrn , tpt , tbn , pno , 2vn , vla , vc , cb 6'
1995 | ENVOI, FOR MIDIPIANO AND 19 INSTRUMENTS | solo Midipiano , fl , ob , cl , Bcl , bn , hrn , 2tpt , tbn , tba , 2 perc , harp , cel , 2vn , vla , vc , cb 14'
____ | OA | soprano , fl in G , vn , perc. 8'
____ | LA METRIQUE DU CRI | (BMG Ricordi) fl , ob , cl , bn , hrn , pno , 2vn , vla , vc , cb 11'
1996 | L'ATLETA | (BMG Ricordi) solo trumpet and 6 perc. Players 12'
1997 | DONEC VESPER | 3 percussionists 8'
____ | DUE BAGATTELLE II | solo cl + 3 or more background instruments 7'
____ | TWO FOLKSONGS | mezzo-soprano , fl , vn , pno 3â€™
1998 | BLAST | solo trumpet 3'30"
____ | BLAST II | two trumpets or trumpet and delay device 3'30"
____ | BLAST/VINK | 7'30"
____ | FLECTE LAPIS | for keyboard, sampler and computer 13'
____ | FLECTE LAPIS II | cl (Bass cl) , Keyboard as above 14'
____ | THE ELVES' ACCENT | (BMG Ricordi) fl , cl , vn , vc , pno 8'30"
____ | POST SCRIPTUM | piccolo and piano.3'
1999 | HZH: STRING QUARTET N.1 | (BMG Ricordi) string quartet 16'
____ | THE JUGGLER'S TENT | horn and harp 12'
2000 | EULUDIO | CD 5'
____ | OBJECT OF TERROR | (BMG Ricordi) fl , ob , cl , bn , hrn , tpt , tbn , perc , pno , 2 vn , vla. vc. cb. 15'30"
____ |...MA LA MELODIA | solo piano 4'
2001 | VISINDIN EFLA ALLA DÁÐ | 4'
____ | A SHAKESPEARE SONNET | fl , cl , guit , vib , vn , vc 4'
____ | KVENNA HEITI | mixed choir 5'30"
2002 | TRUST ME | cl , vla , pno 10'
____ | DI, COCORITA | for soprano, violin, cello and percussion 8'
2003 | ORCHESTRA B | for orchestra 3333.4431.timp.3perc.strings (min.22.214.171.124.6)13'
____ | SULPHUR PULSE | for 6 percussionists, 16'
2004 | RADIOFLAKES | for accordion 8'
____ | CONO DI FEDE | for contrabass 12'
____ | IS ANYBODY THERE? |
2005 | PLAY AND DESTROY |
____ | SNAP | bfl . bcl . vn. vc. sampler 6'
____ | SUZANNAH | Music-theatre based on a play by Jon Fosse 2005 For three female actors, fl , cl , vn , vc , guit , 2 perc , kbd Percussion: player I: 6 cowbells, claves, bass drum, rainstick, maracas, small radio Player II: timpano, xylophone, vibraphone, glockenspiel, triangle 75'
2006 | BRAIN TRILL | Alto sax 9'
____ | COMPOSITION | For alto sax, accordeon and contrabass 45'
2007 | BAKKYNJUR (BACCHAE) | For female choir, clarinet and percussion 20' approx.
____ | DÆM MIG GUD | Mixed choir 1'
____ | PICTURES OF THREE FOLKSONGS | mezzo/folk voice, flute, violin, cello 5
2008 | DONEC VESPER II | flute and 3 percussionists 10'
____| FORGOTTEN STEP | vn , acc , rec 6'
2009 | ORGORAS SPEAKS |2 cl, tbn, perc, vn, vla, vc, cb 12'
___ | ELSKU BORGA MÍN | for mixed choir 26'
2010 | ETCHING | for solo oboe7'
___ | KNAST | vn, acc, rec, 8'
___ | PRELUDE AND GRAFF | two clarinets, 11'
2011 | ATLOID 601 | for 11 handbells, quartertone marimba and male choir 20'
___ | AÐ HREÐAVATNI | for mixed choir 3'
___ | MANI | for orchestra, 8'
2012 | PLAY ALTER NATIVE | Music-theatre based on a play by Finn Iunker, for childrens choir, barytone, recorder, viola, harp, percussion and two actors 75'
___ | ETCHING | solo violin 7'
2013 | SÍSÍFÚGA | fugue in a minor for piano 2':30''
____ | FINAL THEME from the film In each mans dream his downfall looms | for piano and orchestra 15'
2014 | COTTBUS DIPTYCH I: PROFILE | for orchestra 8'
___ | COTTBUS DIPTYCH II: SLUR | for orchestra 6'
___ | PREGNANT | 4 sax, vn, vla, vc, perc. 9'
___ | IDIOCLICK | solo violin 13'