• Recitals

24. Aug, 2013

Seventeen Sonnets on the Philosophy of the Heart

Set to poems by Kristján Hreinsson

Song Cycle by Thorvaldur Gylfason set to poems by Kristján Hreinsson

Seventeen sonnets on the philosophy of the heart are new songs by Professor Thorvaldur Gylfason set to 17 sonnets by poet-philosopher Kristján Hreinsson, a small fraction of Mr. Hreinsson´s more than 400 sonnets. The songs are composed for tenor, baritone, piano, cello, saxophone, percussion, and strings, arranged by composer Thórir Baldursson. The songs and poetry are an ode to philosophy, and the music aims in places to reflect the local colors of the philosophers.

Bergthór Pálsson baritone, Garðar Cortes tenor, Selma Guðmundsdóttir piano, Júlía Mogensen cello, Jón Elvar Hafsteinsson guitar, Pétur Grétarsson percussion og Sigurður Flosason saxophone performed all 17 sonnets in Harpa in August 2013. The poet gave a brief introduction to each number. The poems were projected onto a screen behind the stage. (See an English translation of the poetry here.) The program took about an hour in performance and was filmed.

Here is the film with English subtitles.


Thorvaldur Gylfason


Thorvaldur Gylfason has composed some 140 songs, among them Songs of Soaring Birds and Seven Psalms set to poems by Kristján Hreinsson and Five Seasons set to poems by Snorri Hjartarson.

Kristján Hreinsson


Kristján Hreinsson is a poet, composer, singer, and philosopher. His works include almost 40 published books, mostly poetry, in addition to a number of music discs.

Garðar Cortes


Garðar Cortes has sung many of the lead tenor roles in the operatic repertory at home and abroad. He founded the Icelandic Opera, and led it for many years. He also founded the Reykjavík Academy of Singing and Vocal Arts, and has led it from the outset. He has made a number of recordings, mostly lieder.

Bergthór Pálsson


Bergthór Pálsson has sung a number of operatic roles as well as lieder. He sang the title roles in Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky and in Don Giovanni by Mozart at the Icelandic Opera among many other opera roles and recordings.

Selma Guðmundsdóttir


Selma Guðmundsdóttir has made several piano recordings on her own or with others, including Elegie with cellist Gunnar Kvaran.

Júlía Mogensen


Júlía Mogensen is a cellist with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

Thórir Baldursson


Thórir Baldursson, composer, has been one of Iceland's most popular musicians for more than half a century. Among many other projects, he has arranged music for Elton John and Donna Summer.

Vignir Jóhannsson

Vignir Jóhannsson, an Icelandic artist working mostly in Denmark, painted the backgrounds of the slides accompanying the performance.