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Jón Leifs

Jón Leifs

After growing up on the North-West coast of Iceland, Leifs left the island at the age of 17 to study piano at the conservatory of Leipzig. There he met his wife, Annie Riethof, who also studied piano. He graduated in 1921, after which he decided to stop playing piano so he could fully focus on composition. After some lessons by Hermann Scherchen (among others), he became succesful as a conductor. Particularly in Germany, Czechoslovakia and Scandinavia. He also wrote a large number of articles for newspapers and magazines about music and composition.

He and his jewish wife had two daughters: Snót and Líf. During the Second World War, they had been assaulted by the Nazis but luckily were not deported. Surprisingly, they were allowed to move to Sweden in 1944. Upon arrival, Leifs decided to divorce his wife, which led to suspicions of collaborating with the Nazis; an assertion that haunted him for the rest of his career. 

In 1945, he returned to Iceland, where a strove to give Iceland his own musical identity. Annie and his two daughters stayed in Sweden. In 1949, his 17 year old daughter Líf drowned as she was swimming at the Swedish coast. Heavily affected by his loss, Leifs wrote Torrek (for voice and piano), his Requiem (for mixed choir), Erfiljóð and Vita et Mors, which is nowadays considered as one of his most beautiful works. In this period, Leifs married for the second time but divorced again soon after. In 1956, he married someone for the third time. 

Some notable characteristics of his work are the elements of the Edda and the Icelandic sagas woven into his compositions. Not only did he make use of the epic stories of these sagas, he also integrated typical Icelandic melodies from the Middle Ages and early singing techniques. He also often made use of large amounts of unusual percussion, such as iron chains, anvils and shields. 

His last work, "Hughreysting", Intermezzo fyrir strokhljómsveit ("Consolation", Intermezzo for string orchestra) was written on his death bed as a last goodbye to humanity. He died in Reykjavik in 1968 from lung cancer. 


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Album d

Album d'un Voyage: Vol.1 - Europe

Cyprien Katsaris

Cyprien Katsaris/Richard Strauss/Johannes Brahms/Franz Liszt /Jean Sibelius/Jon Leifs/Johann Strauss sohn/Antonin Dvorak/Albert Harris/Felix Petyrek/Heino Eller/Ilmari Hannikainen/Jean Tatton Latour/Julius Rontgen/Isaac Albeniz/Alfred Jaell/Nicolas Economou
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01-06-2016 luister