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The Church of Norway’s new Hymnal came into use in 2013. Its goal is twofold: to hold on to traditions from earlier hymnals and to bring in something new, with texts in a modern idiom and with new melodies and new harmonic ideas. The texts of Nordic hymns belong to a shared Scandinavian heritage. They deal with sorrow and joy, faith and doubt, and express in words some of life’s most painful events. There is nothing static about the hymn tradition; on the contrary, it is constantly evolving and continues to be interpreted by our contemporary composers, hymnographers and performers. This is precisely where the strength of the hymn tradition lies. An old hymn in a fresh musical setting loses none of its power; it simply undergoes a change – sometimes small, sometimes more substantial – to its character.
In this recording there are also three newly composed arrangements by the Norwegian composers Marianne Reidarsdatter Eriksen, Ola Gjeilo and Ørjan Matre. The hymns are sung by Uranienborg Vokalensemble, conducted by Elisabeth Holte, with Inger-Lise Ulsrud on the organ.