Sigvaldi Kaldalóns composed many of Iceland´s most famous and widely performed songs, yet he was mostly self taught in music. His compositional output is vast, considering that he only composed in his spare time, while working as a doctor in some of Iceland´s most remote districts. He was not an avant-garde composer and while his contemporaries Igor Stravinsky and Bela Bartok composed revolutionary compositions Kaldalons wrote in the European 19th century tradition, sticking to the major/minor system. Even so, Kaldalons obviously had a great knack of writing melodies and was very sensitive as regards poetry as can be seen from the fact that most of his songs capture the spirit of the poem on which they are based.

Kaldalons wrote around 350 songs, most of which are written for solo voice and piano. Some of them have become so intertwined with the Icelandic nation´s soul that they are often considered to be folk songs, songs like “A Sprengisandi” and “Island ogrum skorid”.

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