• Recitals

27. Nov, 2022

Summer Journey

Set to poems by Kristján Hreinsson

Summer Journey is a new song cycle by Professor Thorvaldur Gylfason, set for voice and piano to poems by poet philosopher Kristján Hreinsson. The songs, 21 in number, are a celebration of longing, sorrow and happiness, will and hope, love, life, and art. They are a continuation of the cycle Sixteen Songs for Soprano and Tenor.

Hallveig Rúnarsdóttir soprano, Elmar Gilbertsson tenor, and Snorri Sigfús Birgisson piano premiered the cycle in Harpa in Reykjavík 27 November 2022. The poet briefly introduced each song. The poetry was projected onto a screen behind the stage. Sample from Sixteen Songs: Music of the Heart. The cycle is part of The Icelandic Songbook, which will appear on CDs as well as in print in 2023.


  1. Að lifa er að gefa (To live is to give)
  2. Augnablikin læðast (The moment creeps)
  3. Baðmurinn blíði (The gentle birch tree)
  4. Dans fiðrildanna (The dance of the butterflies)
  5. Einn tónn (One tone)
  6. Einsemdin opnar gáttir (Solitude opens gateways)
  7. Fótspor á farvegi tímans (Footprints on the road of time)
  8. Garður gæskunnar (Garden of goodness)
  9. Harpa hjartans (Harp of the heart)
  10. Hjartað (The heart)
  11. Hjartalag (Song of the heart)
  12. Hljóðar bænir (Silent prayers)
  13. Jökullinn (The glacier)
  14. Laun lífsins (The rewards of life)
  15. Ljóðið um veginn (The poem on the road)
  16. Ný mynd af þér (A new picture of you)
  17. Orðspor (Reputation)
  18. Ritstjóri ljóðviljans (Editor of the poetic will)
  19. Þá veistu það (So now you know)
  20. Þrá (Longing)
  21. Þrjár spurningar (Three questions)


Thorvaldur Gylfason


Thorvaldur Gylfason has composed 140 songs, including Seventeen Sonnets on the Philosophy of the Heart, Songs of Soaring Birds, Seven Psalms as well as Sixteen Songs for Soprano and Tenor, all set to poetry by Kristján Hreinsson. The Sonnets were performed in Harpa 2012 og 2013, the Birdsongs in Salurinn in Kópavogur 2014 as well as on Icelandic State Television in 2020 and 2021, and the Psalms in Langholtskirkja 2014 as well as in Guðríðarkirkja 2015. He also composed Five Seasons, set to poems by Snorri Hjartarson and performed in Hannesarholt in Reykjavík in 2017 and on Icelandic State Television in 2021. His Italian Songbook, set to poems by Kristján Hreinsson translated into Italian by Olga Clausen, was premiered in Iceland and Italy in May 2022.

Kristján Hreinsson


Kristján Hreinsson is a poet, composer, singer, and philosopher. His works include nearly 90 published books, mostly poetry, in addition to several novels and plays as well as music discs where he performs his own music and lyrics.

Hallveig Rúnarsdóttir


Hallveig Rúnarsdóttir has sung several operatic roles on stage, at the Icelandic Opera as well as abroad, and has also performed with symphony orchestras, including the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra on several occasions. Recently, she has given several concerts with German, French, and Nordic lieder in addition to premieres of Icelandic songs. On her CD Í ást sólar (Loved by the Sun) she performs Icelandic songs with Árni Heimir Ingólfsson piano. She received the Icelandic Music Award in 2013 as female vocalist of the year for the role of Michaëla in Bizet´s Carmen at the Icelandic Opera.

Elmar Gilbertsson


Elmar Gilbertsson has sung several operatic roles at home and abroad, especially in the Netherlands and Belgium as well as in France, Germany, and elsewhere. He was awarded the Gríma Prize in 2014 as Singer of the Year for the role of Daði Halldórsson in the opera Ragnheiður by Gunnar Þórðarson at the Icelandic Opera, and again in 2016 for the role of Don Ottavio in Mozart´s Don Giovanni. He was also awarded the Icelandic Music Prize in 2014 as Singer of the Year in the area of classical and modern music and again in 2016 for the role of Lensky in Tchaikovsky´s Eugene Onegin at the Icelandic Opera. He is based at Staatsoper Stuttgart in Germany.

Snorri Sigfús Birgisson


Snorri Sigfús Birgisson is among Iceland´s most accomplished pianists, and is also a prolific composer. His works include concerts for soloist and orchestra, chamber works, electronic music, choral works, symphonic works, and songs. His works are available on a number of CD and LP recordings. He finalized the arrangements of 20 of the 21 songs for the two singers.