JÓN NORDAL (b.1926): Leiðsla, Epitafion, Choralis, Langnætti, Adagio for Flute, Harp, Piano and String Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 08S011
Reference: ODE 1282-2
Description: Nordal seems to have been an intensely self-critical composer, meticulous and exacting in the preparation of his works. After attending Darmstadt in 1957 he appears to have had a crisis of confidence that lasted a decade, and ended with him rejecting avant-gardism of any kind in favour of an intense, brooding, highly chromatic language which characterises all the works here. The basic pulse of all these pieces is slow, the atmosphere somewhat introspective, dark and foreboding with occasional outbursts of passion, quickly suppressed. The 1966 Adagio was the work that broke the post-Darmstadt barrier, and it establishes the style of the works that follow; generally intimate orchestral textures with great attention to detail; total chromaticism that stops far short of atonality, and a sense of unrest throughout. The next three works are from the mid-1970s. Here we find the composer building his dramatic episodes on insistent ostinati, especially in Langnætti (Winter Darkness) the most active piece here. This title, and the epitaph for a close friend, and Leiðsla - a kind of meditative state - suggest the character of the music. 1982's Choralis incorporates an harmonically ambiguous Icelandic folk tune, which generates material in the same somber, expressive mode as the other pieces here. Iceland Symphony Orchestra; Johannes Gustavsson.