Earlier this year, I traveled with my beloved choir to the International Choral Festival in Cork, Ireland. Such trips always have a team-building quality, but this one was special in the way the choir came together on a purely musical level, in terms of energy. By heart, we sang a slow and hushed hymn by Estonian composer Pärt Uusberg, Meie isa palve, a setting in Estonian of the Lord’s prayer. As we performed this piece many of the choir members had a sensational, “out-of-body” experience, supremely spiritual – one where we touched each others’ souls with our singing, breathing together like one body, sharing several minutes of the most intimate musicality one can imagine. This unforgettable experience inspired me to write a new piece, completely different in style, but with lyrics (that I wrote myself) thanking God for all that the experience of singing can give us. The result is this piece, Gratias Deo, which quickly became a favourite for the choir with a lot of fun passages in alternating 7/8 and 5/8 meters. Here is a recording of the piece performed by Haga Motettkör conducted by Ulrike Heider.
Sometimes social media actually works. A couple of years ago, film composer Boris Elkis (who worked on films such as Riddick, Walking Tall, Aeon Flux and A Perfect Getaway) posted a beautiful, spiritual poem on Facebook called “The Silent Watcher”. The text resonated with me, and I approached Boris to ask for permission to set the text to music, having in mind an a cappella piece for concert and service use. It took some time before I got it right, but the piece was finished last year and finally premiered by the Haga Motettkör conducted by Ulrike Heider in concert on June 17, 2018, in Helsingborg. Here is a recording of the performance and below are the beautiful lyrics by Boris. Thank you for allowing me to set this to music, Boris!
My God, My Love, in me you dwell.
Your love flows from your infinite well.
Help me remember all that I am.
Help me break through illusory dam
We don’t know all of your mysteries.
We dwell within you for all history
I look at the faces of people I know
I know that you’re there behind of it all
The silent watcher who is never asleep
He watches and tends to all of his sheep
He knows all the secrets and holds all the keys
He craves the sweet nectar from all of his bees
He knows all the words before they are sung
He knows all the deeds before they are done
He feels our desires, our pains and regrets
He suffers and pays for all of our debts
No moment goes by when he does not try
To get us to feel his presence up high
To get us to see the beauty within
To hear his whisper pulse through our skin
My Love, My God, to you we’ll return
Your fire’s ablaze and I’m feeling it burn
My Love, My God, in you we will die
So you can take us back to the sky
I had a blast composing my first all-orchestral piece – Innerspace – earlier this year, and it was a thrill to hear the premiere performance by the talented Gothia Concentus, the largest amateur orchestra in Sweden. The piece was commissioned by the orchestra as an original companion piece to the many different science fiction film, television and videogame music selections featured in their 2017-2018 project devoted to the sci-fi genre. Obviously, I was inspired by the idea behind the movie of the same title, and even more the amazing 1960s movie Fantastic Voyage, and took the opportunity to write an entertaining and adventurous work with a little dash of modernism. Here is a recording of the piece from the world premiere that took place in May in Kungsbacka, Sweden. Special thanks to conductor Emanuel Kling who did a great job bringing the piece to life!
The wonderful Caritas Chamber Choir of Canterbury, England, have released their first album and I am one of the composers who are honoured to have been included in their selection of contemporary pieces featured. Under the direction of Benedict Preece, the choir recorded my Alleluia, which I composed for the 2016 collaboration between Caritas Chamber Choir and Haga Motettkör in 2016. Here is the recording on Spotify!
I have finally decided to do what I see many other composers doing as well these days, in this modern world: publish my own works! All of my works that are not already published by one of the traditional publishing companies I’ve been fortunate to work with (Santa Barbara Music Publishing and Bo Ejeby Förlag), will be available for purchase and instant download from Sheet Music Plus, beginning with my H.P. Lovecraft setting Rhyme of Polaris for SATB divisi choir a cappella. Links to the works available from Sheet Music Plus will be placed on the ‘Concert Works’ page for your reference.
Among the work that will follow in the catalogue of Carlssons Kluster (the in-joke name of my publishing arm, a joke only Swedish people will get) in the next couple of months are:
• Three Shakespeare Nocturnes (SATB/piano)
• The Lord Is My Shepherd (SSAA)
• Te Deum (SATB/orchestra)
• Antiphonae Intrvallum (SATB)
• O Sacrum Convivium (SATB)
The sheet music that is available for purchase is now featured on this page!
Innerspace was commissioned by the Gothenburg orchestra Gothia Concentus for their science fiction-themed project and will be premiered in concert conducted by Emanuel Kling on May 12, 2018. The orchestra is known for their inventive programs which combine a lot of film and videogame music with classical pieces. For their sci-fi concert, I had an idea to create a new piece that would work as a stand-alone concert piece while also working in the largely cinematic context of the program. Obviously inspired by the film of the same title, Innerspace, is an adventurous and fun piece which is very much a love letter to many of the sci-fi film composers we all love and admire. While I have written music for orchestra before, those pieces have been primarily choral in nature. Innerspace is my first all-orchestral piece – and, needless to say, I’m really excited!
Here is the recording from the premiere performance of my setting of the Christmas gospel, Julevangeliet for SATB, reciter and string quartet. This was performed by Hedvig Eriksson (soprano), Amanda Flodin (alto), Mikael Englund (tenor) and Karl Peter Eriksson (bass) together with the Wulfson Quartet, conducted by Ulrike Heider and with myself reading underscored scripture at the Haga Church, Göteborg, on December 22. The 45 minute 12-movement work was commissioned by the Church of Sweden and was inspired by the traditional English Nine Lessons and Carols.
I have spent an intense month of November writing a setting of “The Christmas Gospel” (Julevangeliet) which will be premiered at the Haga Church, Göteborg, on December 22. Commissioned by the Church of Sweden for its celebration of Christmas, this is a 12 movement suite written in the swedish and latin languages for string quartet, SATB soloists (or choir) and reciter.
The form is inspired by the traditional English Nine Lessons and Carols, expanding the traditional Swedish reading of ‘The Christmas Gospel’ (Luke 2:1-20) into a longer, approximately 40 minute work with underscored scripture readings combined with four part motets. Those are new settings of O magnum mysterium, Lux in tenebris, Det är en ros utsprungen (an arrangement of the Swedish version of A Spotless Rose), Ave Maria, In natali domini and Hodie Christus natus est. Only a couple of these are a cappella – the string quartet is providing the foundation for this work either underscoring the recitation, accompanying the singers or performing their “own” material either as thematic statements or as interludes.
While I have written a lot of choral music, this is a first – and humble! – attempt at composing for string quartet. I am excited that the Wulfson Quartet is going to perform the work for the first time, together with four excellent singers: Hedvig Eriksson (soprano), Amanda Flodin (alto), Mikael Englund (tenor) and Karl Peter Eriksson (bass). Ulrike Heider is the music director and I will do all of the readings myself.
So grateful for the opportunity to write this piece, which provided an opportunity for me to go back to my roots and interest in musical storytelling. Fingers crossed the music, and the performance, will evoke some of the magic of the magnum mysterium of Christmas!
With humble gratitude I am happy to announce that my Requiem, which was premiered in November last year, will receive its second performance in the Haga Church of Gothenburg on October 13, 2017. Due to public demand, the Haga Motettkör, pianist Svetlana Beliakovskaia, a string orchestra under the leadership of Lars Kvensler, all conducted by Ulrike Heider, will perform the work in a concert taking place during the popular culture event Kulturnatta. The premiere of the work was a powerful experience, one which affected me as a composer in a profound way. When you write, you are always striving to create an honest and intimate emotional connection to both performers and the audience – and the Requiem really did that. I can’t wait to hear it again, and I hope that it will make a difference once again!
As a concert producer specializing in the film music repertoire, I have been working quite a bit with Gothia Concentus, which is possibly the largest amateur symphony orchestra in Sweden. They do great concerts with a mix of film, video game and classical music. As a little gift to them for their 2017 season, I wrote a new fanfare to open their concerts. Of course, it’s based on the two pitches G and C! Enjoy!