”We talked about recording a CD. Instead, we toured most of Europe, singing at festivals and in competitions. But finally, the timing was right and A Bright Star Shineth is our Christmas album featuring beloved classics and new music.
Nu tändas tusen juleljus, composed by Emmy Köhler in 1898, is a Swedish classic. Veni Emmanuel was originally a medieval French processional hymn. Both are in arrangements by Jan Åke Hillerud.
The British composer and conductor Paul Hillier is known for having one foot in early music and the other in contemporary art music, as is evident by his work with Theatre of Voices and The Hilliard Ensemble. The starkly beautiful There Is No Rose is a tribute to the Virgin Mary.
Guds son är född/The Son of God Is Born is an old melody from the Swedish province of Halland, in a delicious arrangement by the composer Otto Olsson. His late-Romantic composition style was influenced by medieval Gregorian and French music. Here, the well-known hymn Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her from the 1500s is woven into the folk tune.
Francis Poulenc’s O magnum mysterium is one of four songs that make up Quatre motets pour le temps de Noël from 1952 and its mystic dimension invites contemplation.
In Karl Jenkins’ Gaudete, verses from the medieval Czech tune Ezechielis porta are blended into a melody from what is possibly the oldest book of songs in Scandinavia, Piæ Cantiones.
It has become somewhat of a tradition to sing the Icelandic song Heyr himna smiður at Christmastime even though it is not actually a Christmas song. The lyrics by Kolbeinn Tumason, a mighty medieval chieftain who was also a poet, were set to music by Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson more than 700 years later.
In dulci jubilo, here in a version by Robert Lucas Pearsall, is a macaronic, or multi-lingual, carol. Back in the 1300s, it was sung in Latin and medieval German, In dulci jubilo nun singet und seid froh, and in 1582, a Swedish and Latin version appeared in Piæ Cantiones. It is easy to see why this timeless classic has appealed to generation upon generation.
Thomas Tallis’ O nata lux de lumine, “O Light Born Of Light”, ties in with the title of our album. The words are taken from a medieval matins about the Transfiguration, which is evident in the chillingly beautiful composition with its elements of dissonance.
Wexford Carol, arranged by John Rutter, is a very old carol from the Irish county of Wexford, probably dating back to the Middle Ages. William Grattan Flood, a musicologist and composer, heard the tune performed by a local singer and included it in the Oxford Book of Carols, allowing it to reach a wider audience and gain popularity.
A Bright Star Shineth also includes three previously unrecorded songs. Our conductor David Molin has arranged one of Sweden’s most beloved Christmas songs, Nu tändas tusen juleljus. Several versions of Julvisa/Christmas Song by Jean Sibelius exist, but we chose Anna Cederberg-Orreteg’s lovely interpretation. And the third previously unrecorded piece is a Swedish language version of Ola Gjeilo’s Det hev ei rose sprunge.
2017 marks the tenth anniversary of the Härlanda Kammarkör/Chamber Choir. This CD is our birthday gift to ourselves and it is also a brilliant Christmas present for the world.”
”…unga, fräscha röster (som) tveklöst klockrent levererar mångfasetterad julmusik på elitnivå med ypperlig klang och dynamik … fullkomnad julstämning!” Jerker Sjöqvist, Kyrkomusikernas Tidning
Innehåll / Contents:
Nu tändas tusen juleljus / Emmy Köhler / arr: David Molin och Jan-Åke Hillerud
Veni, Emmanuel / Trad. France / arr: Jan Åke Hillerud
Ave Maria / Franz Biebl
Julvisa / Jean Sibelius / Zacharias Topelius / arr: Anna Cederberg-Orreteg
There is no rose / Paul Hillier
Gammal julvisa. Guds son är född / Trad. Sweden / arr: Otto Olsson
O magnum mysterium / Francis Poulenc
Det hev ei rose sprunge / Ola Gjeilo / Thekla Knös
Gaudete / Trad. Piæ Cantiones, arr: Karl Jenkins / Ezechielis Porta
O magnum mysterium / Morten Lauridsen
Tre kungar / Peter Cornelius / Karl-Fredrik Palmstierna
Heyr, himna smi∂ur / Thorkell Sigurbjörnsson / Kolbeinn Tumason
In dulci jubilo | Robert Lucas Pearsall
O nata lux / Thomas Tallis
Wexford Carol / Trad. Ireland / arr: John Rutter
Julsång. O helga natt / Adolphe Adam / Placide Cappeau / Augustin Kock
Stilla natt / Franz Gruber / arr: David Wikander / Joseph Mohr / Carl Oscar Mannström