solo voice

1993 | DRÓTTKVÆD VÍSA | mezzo-soprano and piano 3’
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.

2007 | PICTURES OF THREE FOLKSONGS 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.

1995 | OA | soprano , fl in G , vn , perc. 8’
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…”

2002 | DÌ, COCORITA | for soprano, violin, cello and percussion 8'
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.
main performances
Venice, September 29, 2002 (Claudia Grimaz, The Ex Novo Ensemble)

vocal ensemble

1991 | ET TOI, PALE SOLEIL | sopr , mezzo-sopr ,countertenor , baritone , fl , sax, tpt , hrn , tbn ,vn , cb 14’
…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”.
main performances
Montreuil, February 1990
Amsterdam, September 8 1992


Tonal piece - sort of mixolydian - on a poem by Jónas Hallgrímsson (in Icelandic).

2001 | KVENNA HEITI | 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.

2007 | DÆM MIG GUD | Mixed choir 1'A four voice arrangement and reinterpretation of a traditional Icelandic psalm. In a minor.

2007 | BAKKYNJUR (BACCHAE) | 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. 
main performances
To be premiered in Reykjavik 2008

| 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.
main performances
Skálholt, July 2010

| 2011 | Í VATNSINS FAÐM | for mixed choir 3'
The setting of a text by Ólafur Jóhann Sigurðsson.  Written in the memory of my mother.

| 2012 | GRÓÐURLJÓÐ | for male choir and organ 3'
This is an arrangement of a song from Play Alter Native, but with words by myself, a list of common plants in Icelandic gardens.  Written for my father's funeral.