Donald Macleod visits the site of the world's oldest parliament - and explores the remarkable, genre-crossing voice of the world's most celebrated Icelandic musician: Bjork.
For more than a millennium, Iceland's composers have drawn upon the sounds of its unique geology: sounds created in a glacial, geothermal landscape like nowhere else on earth. Searing water explodes from fissures; the earth steams spongily underfoot; vast, electric-blue hunks of solid ice crack and collide as they bob down otherwise silent fjords. Yet Iceland's classical music tradition remains barely known. This week, Donald Macleod explores the landscapes and vistas of the world's most northerly island nation - to discover its unique musical culture.
The fleeting flute dreams of Atli Heimir Sveinsson's "21 Sounding Minutes" thread together today's story of Iceland's past both ancient and modern. At Thingvellir, historic site of the world's oldest continuous democratic parliament, Donald Macleod introduces a cantata by Jon Leifs that looks back at his hardy Scandinavian forebears, before bringing us into the 20th century with a charming piano concerto by Iceland's leading female composer Jorunn Vidar. He ends by exploring the remarkable, genre-crossing career - and voice - of unquestionably Iceland's most famous musical export: Bjork.
Atli Heimir Sveinsson: Sounds of the Night (21 Sounding Minutes)
Manuela Wiesler (flute)
Atli Heimir Sveinsson: Sounds of Flowers; Sounds of Heaven (21 Sounding Minutes)
Jón Leifs: Iceland Cantata, Op 13
Hallgrumskirkja Motet Choir and Schola Cantorum
Iceland SO, Hermann Bäumer (conductor)
Atli Heimir Sveinsson: Sounds of Men; Sounds of Women (21 Sounding Minutes)
Jórunn Viðar: Allegro (Slatta - Piano Concerto)
Steinunn Birna Ragnarsdottir (piano)
Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Petter Sundquist (conductor)
Jon Leifs: Viking's Answer, Op 54
Iceland SO, Hermann Baumer (conductor)
Atli Heimir Sveinsson: Sounds of Rain (21 Sounding Minutes)
Atli Heimir Sveinsson: Sounds of Sound (21 Sounding Minutes)
Jorunn Vidar: Vokuro