Leifur Þórarinsson

Leifur Þórarinsson

Chamber Music

– GM2065CD GM Recordings 1999


Example from cd:

Trio for violin, cello and piano (1960)

The Music:
Trio for violin, cello and piano was the first piece I wrote with the technique of total serialism, very much under the influence of Boulez and Schuller, and my discovery of the music of Charlie Parker, whom I still consider one of the greatest musicians of this century. This all happened in New York in 1960 when I was working for the United Nations and taking composition lessons with Gunther Shuller. The Trio was first performed at a Composers´s Forum concert in the Ditson Auditorium in December 1961.

Mosaik for violin and piano from 1961 was also premiered at the same time.

Trio for flute, cello and piano was composed in Copenhagen in 1974, intended as a birthday gift for my friend and mentor, Gunther Shuller, who became 50 years old in November 1975. The style is far removed from the New York pieces (1960 – 65), as it is very much a greeting from happy-go-lucky Danemark, where I made my home from 1971 to 1976.

Penta X for flute, harpsichord, cello and two percussion is actually the fifth movement of a piece in ten parts, still in progress. It was written in a very nice hotel room in a town by Lake Garda in Italy, in the early spring of 1994. Its style is in fact rather close to that of my opera The Mariaglass (1997)

The impetus for composing the solo piano piece, Preludio – Intermezzo – Finale in 1995 was twofold: On the one hand it was written (in Cyprus) in memory of a friend who died that year in a tragic accident, and secondly in response to a request from Snorri Birgisson, the pianist of the CAPUT Ensemble, for a work to put on a program with compositions by Brahms and Schumann.

Serena by the Sea for violin and harp, also from 1995, was written to calm down all sorts of difficult inner happenings. That is all there is to tell.

Leifur Thórarinsson

For more information ragarding Mr. Thórarinsson and his music, contact the Icelandic Music Information Center

  • Trio (1960) for violin, cello and piano
  • Mosaik (1961) for violin and piano
  • Trio (1974) for flute, cello and piano
  • Pente X (1994) for flute, cello, harpsichord and two percussion
  • Preludio – Intermezzo – Finale (1995) for piano solo
  • Serena by the Sea (1995) for violin and harp.

“Leifur Thórarinsson was representative of the best creative talents that Iceland has produced in the last half century, perhaps its best and most talented composer yet.” (Gunther Schuller)

“The Icelandic nation has suffered a great loss in the death of Leifur Thórarinsson. With his passing our country has lost one of the most remarkable artists of this century.”

Atli Heimir Sveinsson)

This CD presents six chamber pieces by Icelandic composer Leifur Thórarinsson (1934 – 98). The recordings followed a CAPUT-concert dedicated to Hr. Thórarinsson’s music in 1995 and were made in close collaboration with the composer. The pieces are:

The Performers:

  • Snorri Sigfús Birgisson, piano
  • Auður Hafsteinsdóttir, violin
  • Bryndís Halla Gylfadóttir, cello
  • Elísabet Waage, harp
  • Kolbeinn Bjarnason, flute
  • Guðrún Óskarsdóttir, harpsichord
  • Steef van Oosterhout, percussion
  • Eggert Pálsson, percussion

Producer, engineer, editing and mastering: Bjarni Rúnar Bjarnason, The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.

© 2001 Kolbeinn Bjarnason