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!