GAVIN BRYARS (b.1943): From Egil's Saga for Bass, Chorus and Chamber Orchestra, The Company of the Blind for Chorus, Guitar and Double Bass, Thrand of Gøtu for Soprano, Bass, Chorus and Chamber Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 08Q073
Label: GB Records
Description: These works are steeped in the folklore and landscape of the Faroe Islands, with which the composer has formed a deep connection over the past decade. From Egil's Saga sets texts from the ancient Icelandic saga, and Thrand uses Faroese and Irish texts in a piece about the early history of the Faroes. Both works share a brooding, dark-hued atmosphere, enhanced by the predominantly dark-toned orchestration, especially that of From Egil's Saga. Bryars' idiom is thoroughly tonal, with something of the meditative consonance and avoidance of violence and conflict that characterises the New Spirituality school, which also lends the music a pre-romantic, archaic quality, suggesting the solemnity of ancient ritual; occasional undulating, quasi-minimalistic patterning in an accompanimental role suggest the omnipresent sea in perpetual motion. Deeds of heroism are described in narrative style, rather than dramatized, evoking bardic story-telling in the rich, eloquent solo vocal lines. Fine, hauntingly atmospheric works, vividly conjuring the mysterious, remote lands of the Vikings. Icelandic, Faeroese-English texts. Rüni Brattaberg (bass), Eivør Pálsdóttir (soprano), Ólavur Jakobsen (guitar), Agnar Lamhauge (double bass), Eystanljóth (choir), Aldubáran (chamber orchestra), Gavin Bryars (conductor), Leif Hansen (conductor - Company).