Sigurdsson’s 13-minute orchestral piece, Eighteen Hundred and Seventy-Five received its world premiere at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra New Music Festival at the end of January. The piece was performed by the composer himself (laptop) and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra under Alexander Mickelthwate, and has received high praise from Winnipeg Free Press:
‘The program featured the world première of Icelandic composer Valgeir Sigurðsson's Eighteen Hundred and Seventy-Five, commemorating the 125th anniversary of the arrival of Icelandic settlers in Manitoba, and the birth of the province's Icelandic Festival.
New Music Festival fans will remember hearing the Reykjavik-based composer's Dreamland during the 2012 festival. His latest work, co-commissioned by the Icelandic Festival and Winnipeg's consul general of Iceland, Hj°lmar Hannesson, is similarly epic in scale, as a haunting tribute to the settlers from his homeland.
Sigurðsson's atmospheric, textural score creates a sense of place, with muted trumpets evoking foghorns and shimmering, closely woven strings depicting the barren landscape. Horn players blowing air through their instruments effectively suggested windstorms across sea ice.
It’s one you'd like to hear again; it rings with organic truth deriving from ancestral bonds between composer and content. It also received a standing ovation.’
Winnipeg Free Press (Holly Harris), 31 January 2014