Born only 20 years apart, Alice Tegnér and Gustaf Nordqvist wrote songs that generations of Swedes have sung and loved deeply. Tegnér’s songs for children were published in a series of volumes that found their way into every school and many homes in Sweden, while Nordqvist’s Till havs (On the sea) was a standing encore in the tenor Jussi Björling’s repertoire, both in Sweden and abroad. On the present disc, Danderyds Vokalensemble and its conductor Rikard Karlsson present a lesser-known aspect of the two, however – as composers of music for mixed choir. Both were active as church musicians – Tegnér in a chapel in the small but affluent community of Djursholm north of Stockholm and Nordqvist at one of the large inner-city churches – but their respective positions were quite different. While Alice Tegnér led the chapel choir and composed much of its repertoire, a male stand-in took her place at public performances and although she did play the organ at church services, the instrument was placed so that she could not be seen by the congregation. Nordqvist, on the other hand, enjoyed a highly respected position in the musical life of the capital and was one of the founders of the Society of Swedish Composers as well as a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. Most of the pieces recorded here are of a religious character, including settings of biblical texts as well as some of the best-loved Swedish Christmas songs, such as Nordqvist’s Jul, jul, strålande jul and Tegnér’s Betlehems stjärna. Throughout the programme the 23 members of Danderyds Vokalensemble are joined by the soprano Ida Falk Winland, the organist Anders Ölund and a string quintet.
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