Rimur

COMPOSERS: Steindór Andersen
LABELS: Naxos World
PERFORMER: Steindór Andersen (voice)
CATALOGUE NO: 76031-2

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Naxos World, whose catalogue has become an interestingly eccentric mix of the popular and the austere, has an extremely rare dip into the archives of Icelandic epic chant.

STEINDÓR ANDERSEN, the leading force in preserving this hybrid of story-telling and repetitive verse-singing, has a calm, patient voice that takes some settling-down to, especially since there are no translations, only summaries. Eventually it all becomes hypnotic.

The music is formal and highly inflected, mostly sung unaccompanied in three different acoustics, from traditional sleeping-loft to concert hall via a small turf church in a gale. The point is to illustrate delivery in different social circumstances.

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In the hall Andersen takes the opportunity of singing a duet – in unisons and fifths – and adding accompaniments from a didgeridoo drone and an Irish harp.