Ros: Sings Of Christmas / Norwegian Soloists Choir

Album cover art for upc 7318599920290
Label: BIS
Catalog: SACD2029
Format: CD

Det Norske Solistkor (The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir) / Grete Pedersen Berit Opheim, vocals; Gjermund Larsen, violin; Rolf Lislevand, lute; Bjørn Kjellemyr, double bass

Michael Prætorius: Det hev ei rose sprunge (Behold, a Rose is Springing) Hildegard of Bingen: O vis æternitatis (O Eternal Force); O frondens virga (O Leafy Branch); Ave, generosa (Hail, Magnanimous) Trad.: Old Marian Song (instrumental); No koma Guds englar (The Angels of God); Den fagraste rosa (The Fairest of Roses); Maria, hun er en jomfru ren (Mary is a Virgin Pure); Mitt hjerte alltid vanker (My Heart Forever Dwells); Trad.: Tarantella; Jolevers (Et lite barn så lystelig) (Christmas Verse); Eit barn er født i Betlehem (A Child is Born in Bethlehem) Improvisation on Ricercata Segunda by Diego Ortiz (instrumental) Ola O. Fagerheim: I denne søte juletid (In this Blessed Christmas Time) Per Nørgård: Julens glæde – Himmelfalden (The Joy of Christmas) Gustaf Nordquist: Jul, jul, strålande jul (Yule, Yule, Radiant Yule)

In Christian symbolism, the rose is closely associated with the Mystery of the Nativity, and therefore with both Jesus Christ and Mary. The idea of the perfect flower, springing forth from a thorny stem, has – like the Nativity itself – captured the imagination of poets and musicians throughout the ages and from all stations of life. With this original and wide-ranging Christmas collection, Grete Pedersen – the artistic director of the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir – has created what might be compared to a rosary, combining 12th-century hymns by Hildegard of Bingen with a carol by the Danish 20th-century composer Per Nørgård, as well as traditional Christmas psalms, in many cases sung to Norwegian folk tunes following age-old usages. Grete Pedersen and the choir have reached a wide international audience through four previous discs on BIS, ranging from collections of Grieg, or of Brahms and Schubert, to the folk-inspired White Night and, most recently, Refractions: the unexpected combination of three 20th-century giants – Berg, Webern and Messiaen – with their Norwegian contemporary Fartein Valen. On the present disc, the team is once again joined by the singer Berit Opheim and the violinist Gjermund Larsen – both with a background in folk music – as well as by Rolf Lislevand, internationally acclaimed lutenist, and the highly respected jazz bassist Bjørn Kjellemyr.

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