The work Hrafnagaldur (Odin’s Raven Magic) is structured around a poem which is thought to have been written in the 14th or 15th century, which tells of the old Nordic gods and their frailty and humanity.
Hrafnagaldur is the result of a unique co-operation between the remarkable rock group Sigur Rós, film composer Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, conductor and composer Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir and singer Steindór Andersen.
The latter has specialised in the old Icelandic tradition of rimur songs, while Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson has been prominent in Icelandic jazz, avant-garde and electronic music since the beginning of the 1980s. In 1991 he was awarded the European Felix prize for the soundtrack for the film Children of Nature.
Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdótti studied composition and multimedia at the Iceland Academy of the Arts and is also the leader of the string quartet Armina.
Sigur Rós was formed in 1994, made its debut CD in 1999 and has since then released a further two CDs which have become internationally well-known.
Steindór Andersen, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir have all worked with Sigur Rós on different occasions. Hrafnagaldur, the first work that all four have been involved in, places the ancient lyrics within an organic integration of Sigur Rós’ ethereal music and Steindór Andersen’s reciting rimur song.
The work was performed for the first time in the Barbican Concert Hall in London in 2002 by the London Symphony Orchestra, the Sixteen Chamber Choir, Sigur Rós and both Steindór Andersen and Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson. Since then the work has been performed at the Reykjavík Arts Festival, at the Olaf Festival in Trondheim and at the Grande Halle de Vilette, Paris in September 2004.