Arni Björnsson – Romanza no. 1 for violin and piano

Arni Bjönsson (Dec. 23, 1905 – July, 1995) was an Icelandic composer, choir director, organist/pianist and flute player. Romanza no. 1 for violin and piano, Op. 6 Elizabeth Layton, violin and James Lisney, piano Arni Bjönsson was born on a farm in the far north of Iceland, just south of the Arctic Circle. He was probably not much more than eight years old when, after listening to hymns being sung in harmony for the first time, he was able to recreate all the parts on the harmonium, the instrument at the farm. There being neither opportunity nor wherewithal for formal training during his youth, he was largely self-taught; by the age of seventeen, he was conducting choirs all over the country, and eventually he left the farm to go to the capital to start his music education. He learned the flute, and became one of the founding members of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra; that was a mostly unpaid activity in those early days, and he earned his living teaching, and playing the piano in one of the dance bands in Reykajavik. In his spare time he composed a wide variety of music. After studying in Manchester for two years during the 1940’s he came back to Iceland and was working on an opera in 1952 (this would have been the first Icelandic opera had he finished it) when he became the victim of a violent crime, which left his brain damaged. He had to struggle to learn how to read and write again, but interestingly he hadn’t forgotten how to play the piano or to compose. His wife
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