Tómasson's success with the music for "Gudrun's 4th Song" is all the more remarkable since it is the first time the composer has worked on musical drama.
He collaborated on the new opera with a stage designer (Louise Beck), a librettist (Peter Laugesen) and a director (Lucy Bailey).
"It represents a unique opportunity for an Icelandic composer to tell the story of Gudrun's life in Icelandic. I was delighted to be part of this project, which has, of course, attracted such great interest in Icelandic cultural circles", says Haukur Tómasson.
The Music Prize is worth 350,000 Danish kroner. Haukur Tómasson will receive the prize during the Nordic Council's Session in Stockholm 1 - 3 November 2004.
Music prize committee's deliberations
"Haukur Tómasson's composition "Gudrun's 4th Song" accommodates huge tension between its modern, innovative idiom and the ancient literary Edda tradition which the composer builds upon and takes forward.
The special rhythm in the Edda poetry is reflected in the rhythm of the musical language, and the bloody drama of the family revenge is expressed in the musical tone and the melody.
The music is a strong interpretation of great emotions: From the light sweetness of love to the dark rage of hate. It is a monumental work, in which melodious and intense arias alternate with ice-cold sensuality and fateful rhythms to create an overall powerful impression reminiscent of the major Icelandic sagas. "