Trio Mediæval & Arve Henriksen: Rimur – Icelandic and Norwegian chants and folk songs | Kings Place

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Cello Unwrapped

Travel to Kings Place

Trio Mediæval & Arve Henriksen: Rimur – Icelandic and Norwegian chants and folk songs

Contemporary at Kings Place
Music / Thursday, 9 March 2017 - 8:00pm / Hall One
£16.50 – £26.50 | Savers £9.50*

Trio Mediaeval

Anna Maria Friman

Linn Andrea Fuglseth

Berit Opheim
with Arve Henriksen trumpet

The medieval Icelandic written manuscript Landnámabók (the book of the settlements) tells us the story of the settlement of the Vikings, the Norse, in the 9th and 10th centuries. In 874 the Norwegian Ingolf Arnarson becomes involved in a blood feud in his small home village Rivedal in Dalsfjorden on the Norwegian west coast. He loses his land and accompanied by two relatives he leaves his home country and sets off sailing westwards. He has heard about a new island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and decides to find it. The story tells us that when he saw land in the distance he threw his high seat pillars (a sign of being a chieftain) overboard and decided to settle down where the pillars reach the shore. Arnarson reached Iceland, but it took another three years for his slaves to search for and finally find the pillars. They were hidden in a bay, which they named Reykjavík after the smoke from the hot springs. The story says that Arnarson was the first permanent Nordic settler of Iceland, and his son is said to be the founder of the first thing (parliament) in Iceland, which was the forerunner of the Althingi.

In 1907 a statue of Arnarson was raised in Reykjavík, and in 1961 a copy was put up in Rivedal. The two statues that face each other and mark the connection between Rivedal and Reykjavík were the starting point for this specific programme. A few years ago Anna Maria Friman-Henriksen and Arve Henriksen participated at a lighting ceremony of the Rivedal statue, and when a month later they visited Reykjavik the interest in the connection between these two places grew. What music did Arnarson hear in Rivedal? What songs did the Vikings bring with them to Iceland, and what music was new to their ears? Sadly we do not have much information about this specific period, but the earliest music we present in this programme is a piece of plainchant that probably dates from the 14th century; Vespers plainchants from the Office of St. Þorlák, Bishop of Iceland, edited for us by our English editor Nicky Losseff. These chants were not composed in Iceland, but were taken back there by monks who had travelled in Europe and then adapted for local use. We have used excerpts from the manuscript in our arrangement.

The Islandic Tvísöngur from the 17th century, in ancient style, are originally two-part songs which resemble the kind of improvised parallel organum at the fifth known all over medieval Europe. The songs in this programme are from a manuscript of the Árni Magnússon Institute in Reykjavík, and have been arranged by us. The traditional Islandic folk songs are transcribed from recordings that ethnographers collected in the 20th century.

The Credo was found in the oldest Icelandic manuscript of the Árni Magnussón Institute. It is incomplete, but has been completed by our editor Nicky Losseff. The original two-part version dates back to the eleventh century. Our version of the piece has been arranged by the group.

Fascinated and inspired by the beautiful old mediaeval chants, traditional love songs, religious hymns and psalms and fiddle tunes, Trio Mediaeval and Arve Henriksen present a unique programme where improvisation, mediaeval and traditional music from Iceland and Norway meet the present.

triomediaeval.noarvehenriksen.com

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