This weekend in Trondheim, Norway has been dedicated to choral music, with a televised choir marathon from a church and Svartlamon Hardkor, that celebrated their 10 year anniversary Saturday night. The only thing the two happenings have in common, is that it’s about singing.
The marathon is called Salmeboka minute for minute (The choral book minute for minute), where 200 choirs, soloists and small groups have sung through the choral book for the Norwegian church, all 899 chorals, non stop for 60 hours. (Here you can watch the whole marathon on demand) It has been broadcast on NRK2 from Friday at noon until midnight Sunday and more the 2.2 million people watched it on TV during the weekend. I visited the church when choral no. 464 was performed, O Sacred Head, Now Wounded. This is the same psalm that Bach used throughout his St. Matthew Passion.
Svartlamon Hardkor and Svartlamoen Damekor together on stage
After church, I went over to Verkstedhallen, a concert venue at Svartlamon,an alternative part of Trondheim with great traditions in punk and harder rock music, and anarchism among other things. The Svartlamon Hardkor celebrated their 10 year anniversary, and had invited several musical guests to the party. The choir is an all male choir, but one of their guests was the relatively new Svartlamon Damekor (The Svartlamon female choir), and they did a couple of songs together.
The Hardkor is a weird musical entity, with a repertoire that spans from Renaissance via some Baroque music to punk and rock classics. Saturday night they also sung 4 movements from Mozart’s Requiem, accompanies by electric guitar, 6 string banjo, accordion, tuba, trombone and percussion. It actually sounded quite good! The truth is that the choir sound good, in spite of their image and that they drink beer while singing.
Other guests that night were Gode Ord Dør Sist, or GODS, the brilliant musician Bergmund Skaslien, who opened the party with a variation over Happy Birthday To You, on distorted electric viola, and the singer songwriter Stein Torleif Bjella. The choir have collaborated with Bjella before, so they know each other’s repertoire.
The concert with Svartlamon Hardkor with friends lasted for more than two hours, and the audience could easily have taken an hour more. I enjoyed myself, both for the musical part and also for the quirky humor they have. I also enjoy the choral I heard in the church, so this was a night for vocal music for me.
All pictures are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.
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