Photo of Thorkell Sigurbjornsson

Úr rímum af Rollant /                   The Adventures of Rollant

by Thorkell Sigurbjörnsson

  • for bassoon and harpsichord
  • composed in 1976
  • for Björn Th. Árnason
  • premiered on May 4th 1976 
  • at the Reykjavík College of Music
  • by Björn Th. Árnason and Elín Guðmundsdóttir harpsichord

Program Notes

The work is inspired by tales and ballads of Rollant, an 8th-century knight in Charlemagne’s army, who was once legendary for his heroism and his battles against the Moors in the south. Rolland played an instrument called the Olifant, a sort of ivory hunting horn. In the story, Rolland dies a hero’s death when he in a moment of dire need, he blows the horn so hard that his temples explode. Þorkell utilizes the bassoon’s full range, and the work is decorated with long cadenzas and filigreed passages. The rhythm is knightly and sometimes reminiscent of Spanish music. The piece serves in a certain sense to connect the tradition of the Icelandic ballads (rímur) with music from southern Europe.

– Kristín Mjöll Jakobsdóttir 2015

Chamber Works with Bassoon

  • About People  ballet music in 6 scenes (1988)
    clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, violin, double bass, percussion
  • Bergabesk  for woodwind quintet (1979)
  • Eight-Line Stanza  for octet (1985)
    oboe, clarinet, bassoon, french horn, piano, violin, viola, cello
  • Gövertimento  for woodwind quintet and piano (1991)
  • Leikar  for woodwind quintet (1995)
  • Scramble  for woodwind quintet (1985)
  • Together  for woodwind quintet and piano (1983)
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