The composer was inspired by four Icelandic waterfalls and described them musically, also inspired by stories and legends born around them.
First movement. (Largo, misterioso – Con moto – Maestoso, pesante – Vivo) Goðafoss (Waterfall of the Gods), located in the northern part of the island, at the beginning of the Sprengisandur highland road, is one of the most famous and spectacular waterfalls. The name is linked to a legend that tells of when the statues of the Nordic gods were thrown into its waters. The main theme of the movement derives from the initial fragment of the Icelandic folk song Á Sprengisandi (whose text narrates precisely the Spregisandur, a road associated with stories of ghosts and criminals often related to superstitions). The whole movement, entirely an elaboration of this musical material, represents not only the stories related to these legends, but also the reflections, jets, and water splashes of the waterfall.
Second movement. (Largo) Fjallfoss, Dynjandi (Waterfall of the Mountain), consists of seven jumps for a total height of 100 meters. Its peculiarity lies in the fact that it descends from the summit of the mountain opening slowly like a fan. The composer tried to reproduce this distinctiveness by means of a slow and ethereal movement in which harmonic tensions, opening slowly along the whole section, resolve in full chords, which overlap and spread out precisely as a fan.
Third movement. Scherzo (Allegretto) Skógafoss, (Waterfall of the Forest) is situated in the south of the island near Skógar. A legend attributes magical power to this waterfall, which is spectacular and fascinating for its great leap. This magic as well as creatures of the forest, such as elves and trolls, have inspired the imagination of the author who composed a fugal almost grotesque Scherzo on the folk melody of the Icelandic canon Sà eg Spoa.
Fourth movement. (Largo – Presto, impetuoso – Largo, Grandioso - Presto, impetuoso) Dettifoss (The Great Waterfall), the largest waterfall on the island and in Europe, is 44 meters high and 100 meters wide, and it has an impressive water flow that runs thunderously down the canyon. A distant roar opens the movement, which slowly expands until, with a powerful chord, it represents the marvel of the spectator in front of such grandeur. This mighty opening is followed by a quick and impetuous episode that describes the power of the water that falls into the gorge with extreme force excavating the rock.