1982 | BERGING (Consummation) | flute 6’30’’

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.
main performances
Reykjavík 1983 (Martial Nardeau)
Malmö, September 1983 (Áshildur Haraldsdóttir)
Reykjavík, January 1985 (Kolbeinn Bjarnason)
Stockholm, September 1987 (Áshildur Haraldsdóttir)

1987 | DUE BAGATTELLE | clarinet 6’
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.
main performances
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)

1988 | STÁLRÆDA (Steel Sermon) | organ 13’
Stálræda was written on commission from the Reykjavík Cathedral Choir for the Church music festival in 1988, and premiered by Marteinn Hunger Fridriksson.

1990 | A VERSO | 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.
main performances
Oslo, 1991 (Edda Erlendsdottir)
Amsterdam, September 8, 1991 (Tomoko Mukaiyama): The Gaudeamus Festival
Reykjavík, 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)
Reykjavík, August 2000 (James Clapperton)
Trento, November 2000 (Edda Erlendsdottir)

1993 | ACTIO | cello 5’
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.

1994 | THE ELVE’S OTHER SELF | viola 5’
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.

1998 | BLAST | trumpet 3’30’’
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.

1998 | FLECTE LAPIS |  keyboard, sampler and computer 13’
Technical requirements
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.

main performances
Stockholm, September 1998 (Mårten Landström)
Berkeley, Cal., April, June 2001, (Mei Fang Lin)
Milan, October 2001, (Massimiliano Viel)

2000 |…MA LA MELODIA |  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.

2004 | CONO DI FEDE | contrabass 13'
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.
Main performances
Venice, September 29, 2002 (The Ex Novo Ensemble)

2004 | RADIOFLAKES | accordion 9'
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.

2006 | BRAIN TRILL | Alto sax 10’
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. 
main performances
as part of Composition
Oslo, Reykjavík, Huddersfield, Trondheim October 2006

2010 | ETCHING | oboe 7'
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

2012 | TRATTO | 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.

 2012 | ETCHING | violin 7'
It is curious how the old practice of transcribing oboe pieces for violin stole into my oboe solo to generate an independent violin solo.  Since certain elements of the original had to be reinterpreted in the new version one cannot say they are identical, yet they are close enough to bare the same title.  We now have a genealogical tree reaching back to 1998: Blast (trumpet, but also sax or clarinet) ->Blast II (two trumpets) ->Etching (oboe) -> Etching (violin).

 2014 | IDIOCLICK | 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 instruments history. 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, and the piece was premiered in a 300 seat hall without amplification with good results.