The album Jórunn Vidar: Songs/Lieder with of the work of Icelandic composer Jórunn Vidar, who celebrated her 90th birthday last year, was released yesterday. The songs are performed by soprano Helga Rós Indridadóttir and pianist Gudrún Dalía Salómonsdóttir.
Vidar is Iceland’s first female composer. Her songs are “are a fascinating combination of folk-like elements, impressionism, playful humor and lyric melancholy,” a press release describes. Vidar’s lullaby “Vökuró” was covered by Björk for her album Medulla.
The new album contains the complete collection of Vidar’s songs. Indridadóttir and Salómonsdóttir worked closely with the composer on the interpretations of her songs. All booklet texts and poems are in Icelandic, English, German and French.
From left to right: Indridadóttir, Salómonsdóttir and Vidar.
The album is sold in music stores in Iceland and will be sold online in the webstores nammi.is and amazon.com. It can also be ordered by emailing the Iceland Music Information Center: [email protected].
Jórunn Vidar is one of the most prolific Icelandic musicians of our time. She has created a diverse range of music for various genres, completing compositions for orchestra and piano, chamber music for cello, violin and piano and compositions for soloist and choirs.
She was born on December 7, 1918, into a musical family. She received a good education from a young age and achieved an excellent standard of musical knowledge early on. Her first years of study were spent in Reykjavík and then, in 1937, she went to Berlin to complete her piano studies at the Hochschule für Musik.
Vidar spent two years in Germany until her studies were cut short by the start of the Second World War. However, in 1943 she was accepted into the highly respected Juilliard School of Music in New York.
Vidar specialized in composition during her years at Juilliard. She returned home to Iceland towards the end of the war but later went on to spend two years in Vienna to further pursue her piano studies.
Back in Iceland, Vidar was greeted with an immediate demand for her work. She held various piano recitals and appeared frequently as a soloist with the Reykjavík Orchestra, which later became the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra.
Later she returned to her first love of composition, writing for the theatre, ballet and film. Among other projects, Vidar wrote the score for Sídasti baerinn í dalnum (1950) by Óskar Gíslason.