Marlidendur is performed by the Riga Dome Boy's Choir and the Baltic Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Gudmundur Emilsson.
The title Marlidendur is taken from a poem of the same name by the great Icelandic poet, Jóhann Hjálmarsson. The poem describes an Icelander experiencing his present through senses suffused with the deep violent past of Iceland - especially the spiritual and social foundations described in the Saga of the People of Eyri.
I am told by Mr. Hjálmarsson's translator Geir Svansson that
a Marlidendur was, perhaps, a sort of a malevolent spirit or
witch, possibly in disguise. But for an Icelandic person today
the word is quite opaque. They only recognize "mar" as "sea,"
"lídendur" as "sufferers" and "lída" as "drift" or "float."
"Rimur" are short melodic fragments that Icelandic storytellers float their tales on so I made up some rimur and spun out a
musical tale of my own which, referring to tales from The Saga of the People of Eyri will, like the protagonist of Hjálmarsson's poem, take us into contact with the spiritual and social foundations of Iceland.
Much of the text of the work is a pre-Christian language which is unsuitable for our ears except as music. Later in the piece, one of the tales from the saga is told in English and then Kjartan, a boy with extraordinary gifts of civilization
remembers the Froda Wonders:
I saw a seal poke his head up through the floor,
I saw a half moon fly from door to door,
I saw a boy in the blood pools by the trees,
A singing skull said that boy is me.
Marlidendur is dedicated to the
fine Icelandic man and counductor
Gudmundur Emilsson who proposed,
commissioned and conducted the work