Click on "play" to hear to hear the fourth song of Egil's Songs. This performance is by Andrew Hendricks, baritone, and Andrew Simpson, piano.
Instrumentation: Baritone Voice and Piano
Year Composed: 1991
Duration: 11 minutes (8 songs)
How to get it: Contact David Heuser directly
Egil's Songs were composed in the Spring of 1991. All of the poems are from the major Icelandic Saga, Egil's Saga, which was written around 1230 A.D., possibly by Snorre Sturlason. These translations are by Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards.
The main character of the saga is Egil Skallagrimsson. He is ugly in appearance and usually in mood; he is often greedy; he takes no insult lightly; he is a true individual who plays many roles. He is both a killer and a poet, not an uncommon pairing in the Icelandic Sagas. All of the poems in this cycle are his. The songs are about ships and kings and money, but mostly they are about fighting and warfare. Always the warrior, Egil minces no words about his enemies, his bravery or his anger. The eight poems I selected (out of many) are presented in chronological order starting with a child dreaming of sea-raids and ending with an old, blind man reminiscing.
There are eight, short, character pieces in the set, each song being between thirty seconds and two minutes in length.