Heyr, himna smiður: the sacred a cappella SATB works of Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson (1938-2013)

Date
2022-12
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
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Publisher
Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
Abstract
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Very little research exists on the work of 20ᵗʰ and 21ˢᵗ-century Icelandic composers and none in particular on Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson's sacred choral music. This project aims to fill this gap by presenting analyses, performances and recordings of the majority of the composer's sacred a cappella compositions for mixed choir. The analyses attempt to answer the question whether it is possible to describe conclusively the composer's sacred choral works. To complement this, I also formed a choir for the purpose of rehearsing, performing and recording 32 of these works in two concerts in May 2022. Although it is challenging to describe Þorkell's varied compositional style, it can be said that much of his music is characterised by shifting tonal centres, frequently changing time signatures, use of ostinato and a significant emphasis on word painting. However, several pieces are straightforward songs in a key or mode that mostly follow conventional harmonic and rhythmic compositional principles. Much of Þorkell's choral repertoire is difficult for a choir to learn and requires significant planning by the conductor. In addition to the analytical findings, this project also contributes to our understanding of Þorkell's music by means of high-quality audio recordings of 32 compositions, 20 of which are first-time recordings. In this sense the project represents a contribution to what is widely known as practice-based research. The author hopes this research will be of use to future generations of conductors interested in studying and performing Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson's choral compositions.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Tot dusver is daar nog baie min navorsing oor die werk van 20ste- en 21ste-eeuse Yslandse komponiste gedoen en nog niks spesifiek oor Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson se gewyde koormusiek nie. Hierdie projek probeer dié leemte vul deur analises, uitvoerings en opnames van die meerderheid van die komponis se gewyde a cappella werke vir gemengde koor aan te bied. Met behulp van die analises word gepoog om die vraag te beantwoord of dit moontlik is om die komponis se komposisiestyl afdoende te beskryf. In opvolging van dié vraag het ek ook ’n koor saamgestel met die doel om 32 van hierdie werke in te studeer, uit te voer en op te neem tydens twee konserte in Mei 2022. Hoewel dit uitdagend is om Þorkell se diverse komposisiestyl te beskryf kan beweer word dat baie van sy musiek gekenmerk word deur verskuiwende toonsentra, voortdurend veranderende tydmaattekens, die gebruik van ostinato en 'n beduidende klem op toonskildering. Sommige werke is egter gewone liedere in 'n toonsoort of modus wat konvensionele harmoniese en ritmiese beginsels volg. 'n Groot deel van Þorkell se koormusiek is moeilik om aan te leer en vereis noukeurige beplanning deur die dirigent. Benewens die analises maak hierdie projek ook 'n belangrike bydrae tot die vertroudheid met Þorkell se musiek deur middel van hoogstaande klankopnames van 32 werke, waarvan 20 eerste opnames is. In hierdie sin kan die projek gesien word as 'n bydrae tot wat algemeen as "practice-based research" bekend staan. Die outeur hoop dat hierdie navorsing van waarde sal wees vir toekomstige generasies van dirigente wat daarin belangstel om Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson se koormusiek te bestudeer en uit te voer.
Description
Thesis (DPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2022.
Keywords
Music, Choral conducting, Musical intervals and scales -- Analysis, Tonality -- Songs and music, Þorkell Sigurbjornsson (1938-2013) -- Manuscripts, UCTD
Citation