DI VOLTA | 1989 vib , mar , pno 6’45’’
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”.

| OPNA | 1991 Bass clarinet and marimba 7’
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.
main performances
Varese, July 28, 1991 (Harry Sparnaay, cl, Johan Faber, mar)
Paris, January 11, 1992 (Didier Pernoit, cl, Pascal Zavaro, mar)
Tel-Aviv, 1993
Båstad, June 27, 2003, Gudni Franzson, Markus Leoson

 DONEC VESPER | 1997 3 percussionists
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.
main performances
Harstad, Norway, October 1997 (SISU Percussion Trio)
Reykjavík, May 2001 (Oosterhout, Gretarsson, Palsson)

 L’ATLETA | 1996 (BMG Ricordi) 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
L’Atleta was commissioned by the Kroumata Percussion Ensemble in Stockholm with support from NOMUS. The commision implied the employment of a soloist, Håkan Hardenberger. I decided to write a deciseively “athletic” piece, with an almost “Faustian” development: The trumpet generates rhythms and rules which are imprinted in what surrounds it, which at the end imprison it in an impossibly difficult set of restrictions. From a purely athletic point of view, for the soloist this piece is all but impossible to play, and contains great technical difficulties also. These were superbly overcome by Hardenberger at the premiere, but it became clear to me that to diminish the effort and improve the expressive balance an arrangement of this piece for 2 trumpets and percussion would be more reasonable.
main performances
Helsinki, October 1997 (Kroumata): The Helsinki Biennale

 SULPHUR PULSE | 2003 (BMG 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.
main performances
Strasbourg, October 6, 2003 (Musica Festival)