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!
I am pleased to announce that the wonderful Helsingborgs Vokalensemble will premiere my setting of The Lord Is My Shepherd in competition during the international choral festival ‘Canta en primavera’ in Málaga, Spain, on April 27, 2017. The women’s choir and its director Marianne Ivarsson commissioned the eight part piece and will perform it for the first time in their program which also features a new piece by David Basden. Good luck to the choir!
Here is a video of the premiere performance of my ‘Alleluia’ featuring the joined forces of Haga Motettkör and Caritas Chamber Choir of Canterbury, conducted by Benedict Preece. It was a very rewarding to perform this piece with both choirs, and we also had the luxury to have the piece performed in the fantastic Canterbury Cathedral, which could only be described as a true honour! Thanks to conductors Ulrike Heider and Benedict Preece for making this idea becoming a real success!
Johannebergs Vokalensemble, conducted by Jan K. Delemark and with Björn Johansson on piano, premiered by ‘Three Shakespeare Nocturnes’ on April 17, as part of the choir’s concert tribute to the bard, “If Music Be the Food of Love… William Shakespeare 1564-1616”. Above is a recording of the premiere performance!
My latest choral piece, a setting of the ‘Alleluia’, will be premiered by Haga Motettkör and Caritas Chamber Choir at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Canterbury at 7:30pm on Friday, May 6. This was a joint commission from both choirs to perform together during the small UK tour Haga Motettkör is going on during the first week of May. The choir will also visit Southampton and London. The ‘Alleluia’ has, of course, been set many times to music (I am fond of the Thompson and Whitacre versions), and the challenge here is to focus on one word of lyrics, indeed one of the most powerful we have, but nevertheless only one. The climax of the composition features a big glissando section where singers, while emphasizing overtones, expand pitches from unison to a massive fortissimo layer of perfect fifths. The piece will be presented during a concert – Northern Lights – that features many other sacred works by Nordic composers such as Jan Sandström, Knut Nystedt and Ola Gjeilo
My ‘Te Deum’ for Orchestra and Choir received its world premiere in concert at Johannebergskyrkan, Göteborg, on October 18. Part of the church’s 75th anniversary celebration, the concert (which also featured one of the most beloved choral works in Sweden, God in Disguise by Lars-Erik Larsson) attracted the attention of over 500 people. The Johannebergs Oratoriekör and Camerata Gothia with winds from the Gothenburg Opera House performed the piece with great enthusiasm, and I could not be happier with this premiere of my first larger scale piece incorporating orchestra. The foundation for this ‘Te Deum’ is the pitches of the three tower bells of the church (D#, F# and G#) which permeates the piece both harmonically and melodically. The old ‘Te Deum’ text travels between big exclamations and more “thoughtful” moments, thus lending itself to a quite dramatic music setting.
My deepest thanks go out to Jan K. Delemark, conductor of the piece and the one who commissioned the work in celebration of the 75 year old Johannebergskyrkan.