Gavin Bryars: Hovdingar hittast (Heroes Meet)
Bryars' first tangible connection with the islands came about when he met the operatic bass Rúni Brattaberg, who sang in his opera G in Mainz, and who is the only classical singer to come from the Faroes. This led to a new piece, From Egil's Saga, for bass voice and chamber orchestra, which sets old Icelandic saga poetry. Included in the composition are fragments of the music that composer and singer recorded in various Faroe locations, most notably, at the opening of the piece, in the magnificent cathedral-like sea cave of the island of Hestur.
Subsequently Bryars was asked to write another piece with chamber orchestra, this time to celebrate the Faroese hero Tróndur of Gøtu. This is for two solo voices, Rúni Brattaberg and the very beautiful Faroese singer/composer Eivør Pálsdottír, who was later to sing the title role in the premiere of Gavin Bryars' fourth opera Marilyn Forever. The music sets some Irish texts from St Brendan as well as texts about Tróndur, in Faroese. It was first performed in the lovely new church in Gøtu, with the composer conducting the choir Eystanljóð and the ensemble Alúbaran.
Eventually both pieces - From Egil's Saga and Tróndur I Gøtu - were performed and recorded for this album in the Nordic House in Tórshavn, and a short choral setting of one of the first modern Faroese poets Christian Matras, Hitt blinda liðið (The Company of the Blind) was subsequently added for the choir.
Personnel: Rúni Brattaberg, (bass), Eivør Pálsdóttir (soprano), Eystanljóð (choir), Aldubáran (chamber orchestra), Gavin Bryars (conductor); Track 9: Eystanljóð, Ólavur Jakobsen (guitar), Agnar Lamhauge (double bass), Leif Hansen (conductor)
- I From Egil's Saga, Prologue
- Vestr fork of ver (By sun and moon...) (To Erik in York)
- Mjok erum tregt (My mouth strains...) (Lament for my sons)
- Attak got... (The spear-god shared...)
- Mjok erum tregt (The end is all...)
- Hann aldrteig... (A fertile field...) (In praise of Arinbjorn)
- Vals hefk vófur helsis... (My bald pate bobs and blunders (from Late Poems)
- Nu erum torvelt (The end is all)
- II Hitt blinda liðið (The Company of the Blind)
- III Tróndur í Gøtu, The Journey Prayer (St Brendan)
- The Island of Birds (St Brendan)
- I Føroyum búdu menskir fyrr (In bygone times, the Faroes...)
- Tróndur's Creed I - chorus
- Shall I abandon (St Brendan's Prayer)
- Hevji? í homrum... (Raise the vociferous chant...)
- Streyk Tróndur saer um enni?... (Trondur strokes his forehead)
- Tróndur's Creed II (chorus)
- Tróndur doy?i... (Trondur died...)
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