Welcome to the Parts and Practice Page for Christopher Kaufman’s ICELAND (pron. “Eeslahnd”)
Parts and Score below.
Short contextual intro:
Iceland was created originally in 2001 – commissioned by New Music Champion, Maestro Daniel Rieppel and The Southwest Minnesota Symphony.
It was premiered in Marshall MN, 2001 with Icelandic poet Bill Holm narrating – including a poem he wrote for the piece.
I re-composed the work in 2009 – and created the ‘composer’s performance’ recordings.
Now – I have reworked the piece once more – for slightly smaller forces (in the brass section) and tightened up from the original form. Three movements are set aside. Also – the narrator for the performance in question – May 5th, 2023 – will be Anna Sigríður Helgadóttir.
This version of Iceland is scored for:
2 (licc),2(eng h),2,2 (contra)
Timpani, plus three percussionists
Harp and Strings.
It is of approximately 20 minutes duration.
The movements are:
Introduction, The Dawn of Ages, Ode to Iceland, The Mermaid, Embarkation, The Sea God and Tempest, The New Earth.
This work is a landscape painting of Iceland, an epic adventure and a metaphor for the listener’s personal journey.
To create the feeling of vastness of Iceland – from the depths of the Fjord to the tips of the volcanic mountains – I employed several signature orchestral sounds and techniques – heard at the outset.
1] The low strings. The directions ask the players to bow from Sul Ponticello to Sul Tasto with the dynamic countour. The players should really push it here – the fundamental can be lost – it is a beautiful effect of done properly.
2] A signature sound is the Tam Tam (let metal vibrate). The players strikes the Tam with a typical mallet and then presses a triangle beater against the plate and allows it to vibrate. This is the ICE in Iceland. When scraping it is on the inside rim (with the metal triangle beater).
Adding to this are the high harmonics in the strings – from which the theme emerges. Also the bowed cymbal adds to this – contrasted with the bass drum and timpani.
Together these sounds are quite effective.
The GLOCKENSPIEL should have BRASS MALLETS for the glissandos (AEGIR Movements, for example)
In the movement TEMPEST. It is important to follow the dynamic range (i.e. the Meno Mossi) – along with the tempo changes – this allows room for the narrator to be heard – and adds excitement when the music ‘takes off’.
In THE MERMAID you will see BASS DRUM (or thundersheet). If you have a thundersheet this will be a nice effect and change from the bass drum. If you do not have one, the bass drum will be fine.
Please notice that the cymbals and tam form a pattern from low to high. The medium cymbal indication says (or small tam/gong). If you have a small gong or tam you can replace either the medium or large cymbal – how it fits in the high to low configuration. When the medium cymbal is asked to BOW – please make that the small gong if you have one.
There is a movement after Tempest which I can easily reintroduce. It is not long and depicts the Icelander’s battle with a Sea Serpent.
You will notice that in this score there are ‘reminder time signatures’ at the beginning of new movements.
Thank you – please write or call if you have questions.