8. A little flock from Iceland (a cantata of 4 numbers)

See/Hear/Download: PDF     MIDI (80 KB)     MP3 (16 MB)     Sibelius5 

Text: Four new poems in English, describing dramatic confrontations in (respectively) ~900 AD, ~950 AD, ~1000 AD, and ~1250 AD. The first two are fiction and the last two are based on historical events. English words that have Icelandic cognates, or at least Norse or Germanic origins, are used as much as possible.

I. Lón: An Irish woman, just brought to Iceland, sings to the swans who have made the same crossing.

II. Grímsvötn: A volcanic eruption under the icecap angers the gothi.

III. Vestur Grǽnland: Leif Eiriksson rescues the shipwrecked Norwegians.

IV. Drangey: Bishop Guđmundur Arason confronts evil on the cliffs of the island.

Full texts of poems may be found in the .pdf file, following the full score.

Musicians: SATB chorus, short SATB solos, violin, & flute. (Flute & violin parts may be found in the .pdf file.)

Length: 4:55 + 2:42 + 4:07 + 5:25 = 17:07.

Style: Romantic part-songs

Program notes: By mixing conventional and pandiatonic harmony, I hope to convey the awesome beauty of Iceland and Greenland, which is rarely “pretty” in the southern sense. There are allusions to sean-nos and rimur singing, to gothic motets, and to hardangerfelle playing, all of which are regionally appropriate (although possibly anachronistic).

First performance: I."Lón" was premiered by the Chamber Choir of Northern Arizona University, under the direction of Mark Petty, in Flagstaff, Arizona, 27 April 2014.

looking East from Dyrholaey, Iceland

Peter Bird, 2003

[East of Dyrholaey]
[doorway, Thjothveldisbaer]

doorway, Ţjođveldisbaer

Peter Bird, 2003

Fresh Choral Music Online, by Peter Bird of Los Angeles