So Fair and BrightThe Swedish Chamber Choir
This recording is like a Christmas smörgåsbord, where everyone can find at least some of their favourite dishes, while being tempted to try some intriguing novelties as well. Although there’s a strong Swedish flavour to our programme, the rest of Scandinavia also features with Nielsen’s touchingly simple hymn “Förunderligt och märkligt” and Grieg’s lush “Ave maris stella”. Bach, Britten, Poulenc and Pärt complete the roster of major composers, while two lesser-known figures, Lange-Mueller and Lundin make delectable contributions.
There are two outright premieres as a bonus. “Stjärnan” was written for the choir by folk-singer Susanne Rosenberg and is a gloriously rhapsodic meditation on two Swedish folk-hyms, while the final Christmas sweet was cooked up by conductor Simon Phipps.
In four numbers, the musical menu is given extra sparkle and zest by Gothenburg Symphony’s brass quintet. Whether in Gabrieli’s and Sweelinck’s brilliant polyphony, Rutter’s tender harmonies, or the easy-listening swing of “Yeoman’s carol”, their virtuosity and musicality are irresistible.
Recorded in Årstad church, Sweden, 7–8 May and 3–4 September 2016
Recording and Sound Design Per Sjösten / www.sound.se
Recording producer Gunnar Andersson