Author Topic: Íslensk svíta (Icelandic Suite) for solo piano  (Read 145 times)

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Tónskáld

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Íslensk svíta (Icelandic Suite) for solo piano
« on: September 20, 2019, 06:02:53 PM »
You probably already know about my infatuation with all things Icelandic. Although not a native Icelander, that Ísland has been a source of inspiration for much of my musical expressions since setting foot there for the first time in 2017. This suite is an homage to that beautiful land of fire and ice, and is likely the first of my works to exhibit something close to my "true" style.

There are five movements to this suite; I'll post each one separately in this thread (pdf and mp3) since I can only attach up to 4 attachments per post. Each movement is meant to represent a different emotional aspect of time I spent in Iceland. I'll provide individual descriptions in the respective posts.


« Last Edit: September 20, 2019, 06:38:48 PM by Tónskáld »
Tools: Sibelius 7, Windows 10, Spitfire Audio VSL, Ivory Synthogy
Day job: Pharmacist
Composing/Arranging output: all musical forms except chamber
Goal: Write emotional, impressionistic works that move the soul and make one think; also trying to develop my own distinct style
Play: Piano (advanced), viola (intermediate), French horn & clarinet (student level)

Tónskáld

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I. Morgunlag
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2019, 06:09:12 PM »
[Note: this has already been posted in a different thread on this site, so feel free to ignore if you've already seen/heard this movement.]

The first movement is entitled "Morgunlag," which simply means "morning song." Of all the movements, this one employs the most traditional harmonies and musical forms. It is meant to represent the unbridled feelings and experiences of an early morning before the sun rises. This movement has the strongest lyricism and sounds almost Romantic in nature.

Feedback welcome (if you haven't already)!
Tools: Sibelius 7, Windows 10, Spitfire Audio VSL, Ivory Synthogy
Day job: Pharmacist
Composing/Arranging output: all musical forms except chamber
Goal: Write emotional, impressionistic works that move the soul and make one think; also trying to develop my own distinct style
Play: Piano (advanced), viola (intermediate), French horn & clarinet (student level)

Tónskáld

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II. Dans
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2019, 06:15:36 PM »
Although titled "Dans" (dance), the second movement isn't a literal waltz or anything like that. Instead, it represents the rhythm and sway of life in Iceland. The piece is in 5/8 time, so it may take a couple of listens to really "jive" with the rhythm. This movement deviates quite a bit from the straightforward harmonies of "Morgunlag," but I think the harmonies here lend themselves to the colorfulness of the piece.

I hope you enjoy!

Edit: Filenames were mixed up, so if you downloaded the mp3 and it sounds just like III. Harma, I apologize. I have uploaded the correct version now.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2019, 09:43:42 AM by Tónskáld »
Tools: Sibelius 7, Windows 10, Spitfire Audio VSL, Ivory Synthogy
Day job: Pharmacist
Composing/Arranging output: all musical forms except chamber
Goal: Write emotional, impressionistic works that move the soul and make one think; also trying to develop my own distinct style
Play: Piano (advanced), viola (intermediate), French horn & clarinet (student level)

Tónskáld

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III. Harma
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2019, 06:21:45 PM »
The middle movement, called "Harma" (lament), is a richly melancholic work with a nocturne-like structure. It has the distinction of being the longest movement in the suite, and it relies heavily on whole tone scales and diminished 5ths to convey a sense of "not-quite-right-ness." It is meant to mirror the heavy feelings of loss and loneliness while staring out of the window on a bleak, rainy day. (It's great mood music when you're feeling down...)

Happy (so to speak) listening!
Tools: Sibelius 7, Windows 10, Spitfire Audio VSL, Ivory Synthogy
Day job: Pharmacist
Composing/Arranging output: all musical forms except chamber
Goal: Write emotional, impressionistic works that move the soul and make one think; also trying to develop my own distinct style
Play: Piano (advanced), viola (intermediate), French horn & clarinet (student level)

Tónskáld

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IV. Ţjóđlag
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2019, 06:28:28 PM »
This lively movement serves as the scherzo of the suite. It is called "Ţjóđlag," which is Icelandic for "folksong." (The title is pronounced "thyowdh-log," where the "dh" is a voiced "th" as in "there.") Technically, this movement is an arrangement, the source song being "Vísur vatnsenda-rósu," an old Icelandic folksong. The piece is quite a bit of fun to play, although its exotic quartal harmonies and edgy arpeggios may not be for everyone. The structural buildup towards the end is especially exciting—in my opinion.

Looking forward to your feedback!
Tools: Sibelius 7, Windows 10, Spitfire Audio VSL, Ivory Synthogy
Day job: Pharmacist
Composing/Arranging output: all musical forms except chamber
Goal: Write emotional, impressionistic works that move the soul and make one think; also trying to develop my own distinct style
Play: Piano (advanced), viola (intermediate), French horn & clarinet (student level)

Tónskáld

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V. Lofsálmur
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2019, 06:38:25 PM »
The "Lofsálmur," or hymn of praise, is the soul-stirring finale of the suite. This piece reflects the simple joys of Iceland: its people, its landscapes, its seas, its waterfalls—all joining together in a reverent hymn. The movement starts out tenderly as the two main themes emerge. Then the musical "color" palette expands for a bit as we journey through whole tone scales and quartal harmonies for a while. Finally, the music crescendos into the full development of the second theme—the culmination of the entire suite—and the dénouement leads us back to the beginning.

The suite ends with a refrain of the opening hymn. Quietly, yet resolutely, a rousing homage to an oft-forgotten island, standing and still rejoicing, unchanged amidst the swiftly-tilting world it inhabits.

So, that's the entire suite. I do hope you all enjoy it! Please, feel free to offer any feedback. I always find it so helpful!

Jordan
Tools: Sibelius 7, Windows 10, Spitfire Audio VSL, Ivory Synthogy
Day job: Pharmacist
Composing/Arranging output: all musical forms except chamber
Goal: Write emotional, impressionistic works that move the soul and make one think; also trying to develop my own distinct style
Play: Piano (advanced), viola (intermediate), French horn & clarinet (student level)

sandalwood

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Re: Íslensk svíta (Icelandic Suite) for solo piano
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2019, 10:06:36 AM »
Thanks for this suite, Jordan. I enjoyed them a lot. They all deserve and reward repeated listenings, I think. One impression I had is these pieces do indeed belong together despite employing a range of technical devices. No.s 1,3 and 4 are my favorites, I guess. I hope you have good prospects of having this work performed at the source of inspiration; if you haven't already, I mean.

Tónskáld

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Re: Íslensk svíta (Icelandic Suite) for solo piano
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2019, 12:47:01 PM »
Thanks for this suite, Jordan. I enjoyed them a lot. They all deserve and reward repeated listenings, I think. One impression I had is these pieces do indeed belong together despite employing a range of technical devices. No.s 1,3 and 4 are my favorites, I guess. I hope you have good prospects of having this work performed at the source of inspiration; if you haven't already, I mean.

Thank you once again, Reha, for the kind comments! I, too, hope to have it performed—anywhere would be just great, lol! I find it interesting that you enjoyed mvmts 1, 3 and 4, as they seem to be the most different from each other. I'm not at all criticizing your opinion, of course, just observing that you have a wide range of taste... something I hope to one day achieve!
Tools: Sibelius 7, Windows 10, Spitfire Audio VSL, Ivory Synthogy
Day job: Pharmacist
Composing/Arranging output: all musical forms except chamber
Goal: Write emotional, impressionistic works that move the soul and make one think; also trying to develop my own distinct style
Play: Piano (advanced), viola (intermediate), French horn & clarinet (student level)

sandalwood

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Re: Íslensk svíta (Icelandic Suite) for solo piano
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2019, 01:32:39 PM »
I meant particularly at that place! Otherwise, they are good for performing anywhere, of course. :)

If you mean my including the scherzo piece in my favorites, I think it is a lovely and fun piece. I believe it is technically rather transparent besides being lucid in its storyline, so to speak. Yes, it does sound different but...Additionally, I humbly think it is an inventive, daring and successful instance of handling folk material.

As to my favorites pointing to a wide range of taste, I think I'm not the only one in possession of such virtue, take the author of all those diverse pieces in the Icelandic Suite, for instance :)