Rumon Gamba, conductor
CHSA 5319


Rumon Gamba is a champion of new and out-of-the-way music and with the release of Icelandic Works for the Stage he has brought to our attention a couple of composers well worth becoming acquainted with. Páll Ísólfsson (1893-1974) studied in Leipzig with Max Reger before returning to Reykjavik, where he became the first director of its Music School and served as the organist at its cathedral.

Best known for his organ and piano music, these two suites of incidental music attest to both his immersion in the traditions of German Romanticism and his awareness of later Neoclassical elements. Jórunn Vidar (1918-2017) studied in Reykjavik before venturing to Berlin and then New York. She is represented here by two ballets written in collaboration with the dancer Sigridur Armann, including Eldur (Fire), the first ballet to be performed at the new National Theatre in Reykjavik in 1950. Both Eldur and its successor, Ólafur Lilijurós, a narrative ballet based on an old Nordic ballad, are notable for their colourful orchestration.
– Paul Cooke