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Virthulegu Forsetar

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 16, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Double disc release: disc 1 = normal stereo CD. Disc 2 = hybrid DVD-Audio (both NTSC and PAL compatible, for world-wide use) with a high resolution 96 khz, 24bit 5.1 surround mix and a 96khz 24bit stereo mix. "J¢hann J¢hannsson is one of the most active participants in the new Icelandic music scene. This is his second album for Touch, after the highly acclaimed Englab”rn [Touch # TO:52], about which The Wire said: '...expressive leitmotifs that unveil a profound sadness without ever wallowing in pathos' and Boomkat called it 'a work of rare beauty and ... a rare jewel'. Virthulegu Forsetar contains one hour-long piece for 11 brass players, percussion, electronics, organs and piano. It's presented as an ordinary stereo CD and as a DVD-Audio with a high resolution 5.1 surround mix. Virthulegu Forsetar is performed by the Caput Ensemble, conducted by Gudni Franzson, with Skuli Sverrison on bass and electronics, Matthias M.D. Hemstock on bells, glockenspiel and electronics, Hordur Bragason and Gudmundur Sigurdsson on organs and Johann Johannsson on piano and electronics."

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. [Part 1]
  2. [Part 2]
  3. [Part 3]
  4. [Part 4]


Product Details

  • Performer: Caput Ensemble, The Caput Ensemble
  • Conductor: Guðni Franzson
  • Composer: Johann Johannsson
  • Audio CD (November 16, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Touch UK
  • ASIN: B00030CHGW
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,818 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By somethingexcellent VINE VOICE on November 23, 2004
Format: Audio CD
It was just over a year ago (quite some time after the album had been release, mind you) that I discovered the beauty that was Jóhann Jóhannsson's first album Englaborn. The release was basically comprised of a series of shorter classically-based tracks that unfolded over short periods of time and bloomed like small flowers. It was a gem of a release and something that I wish I'd tracked down much sooner. Although it made its live debut last year in Iceland, Virðulegu Forsetar is his follow-up release and it's much larger in scope than his previous release both in terms of length of tracks and overall concept.

Instead of tracks that run five minutes or under, this newest release is comprised of four movements, the first three-quarters of which clock in at 14 minutes and the last of which runs well over 20. Composed for an eleven-member brass section, percussion, organs, piano, and electronics, the piece is a sprawling piece with a repeating motif that is both elegaic and slightly melancholy (or perhaps that's just my interpretation of it). Opening with a three-note melody that sounds for a slight moment the beginning of the 2001: A Space Oddesey theme, the track moves in the opposite direction towards something much more subtle.

The release is actually quite repetitive, but like many good classical pieces, it's the small changes that make it so lovely. As the repeating motif is played, the piece very gradually slows down towards the middle section, until it's much slower than at the beginning. Listening to the release, this change is barely felt, as the entire thing becomes so immersive that it actually feels like your body systems have slowed slightly and it's just keeping time.
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This is one of Johann Johannsson's best works. I highly recommend it. It is in my top ten right now.
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