This year's festival offers many great experiences, but also has a serious theme. Slavery – past and present will be highlighted through concert productions, lectures and a panel discussion with people who work every day on dealing with this serious problem. In the opening concert Jordi Savall leads us along Les routes de l’ esclavage (The Routes of Slavery), on a journey through the various slave colonies from the 16th century up to Martin Luther King's time in the 1960s. We will experience a moving and beautiful programme of song traditions such as the griot’s songs from Mali and the ciranda, maracatu and samba from Brazil; a unique musical treasure composed of African, Arabic, Turkish, Spanish–Portuguese and Latin American music. The performers hail from all these parts of the world. We also look back at the history of slavery in Handel's magnificent oratorio Israel in Egypt performed by two leading ensembles: The Norwegian Soloists' choir and Accademia Bizantina from Italy. The Freedom of the Soul is the theme as the members of Il Suonar Parlante from Italy return to the festival. They are joined by the Sardinian throat singers Concordu de Orosei, and German Anna-Maria Hefele, who can sing two notes simultaneously!
We continue our ongoing focus on women in church music by staging world premieres of works by female composers and with female conductors. Our three-year-long Telemann programme also concludes with an exciting world premiere for the whole family. Previously unknown works by this highly prolific composer will also be performed by one of Germany's best-known boys' choirs.
It is a pleasure to welcome the world-renowned French early music ensemble Les Talens Lyriques under the direction of its famous founder Christophe Rousset. We will hear André Campra’s gripping Requiem from 1699 and two beautiful pieces of French Baroque music by Rameau and Charpentier.
Children, young people, students and masters
The Fairytale of Telemann by popular Norwegian actor Minken Fosheim will have its world premiere during this year's festival. She is joined by the familiar puppet Rosenstjert Larsen and a young Norwegian ensemble specialising in Telemann, Bragernes Barokk.
Pilgrim in Organ Shoes is a project for children and young people aged between 6 and 19 who play the organ. They can be heard both in a concert and at a festival High Mass.
J. S. Bach's Das Wohltemperierte Klavier (The Well-Tempered Clavier) II, BWV 870-893 is performed in Oslo Cathedral in a marathon concert with Håvard Gimse and his students. This work, which Bach worked on for much of his life, was also very important for composers such as Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. It is guaranteed to be three exciting hours with master Gimse and his eminent students.
The Staats- und Domchor Berlin under the direction of its conductor and professor in choral leadership at Universität der Künst Berlin, Kai-Uwe Jirka, appears at the festival in the concert Was ist ein Mensch (What is a Human?), a master class and a boys' choir seminar. This renowned choir is joined in Oslo by the early music ensemble Lautten Compagney Berlin. The choir, with roots dating back to the 1400s, is performing less-known and newly discovered works by, among others, Telemann and Rosenmüller. The boys' choir also participates in the festival High Mass in the Oslo Cathedral together with Oslo Cathedral Boys' Choir.
A Mass for Life's Contrasts by Frøy Aagre is premiered by the composer herself on saxophone and with The Norwegian Girls' Choir and Schola Cantorum under the direction of Anne Karin Sundal-Ask and Tone Bianca Sparre Dahl. The composer says: "The work is a different kind of mass in an exciting balance point between classical music and jazz. Thematically it deals with the contrast between birth and death – the greatest events in a person’s life."
The festival also features a world premiere of a work for organ and violin by the German composer Hannes Pohlit. The work Humanité was written for our young Norwegian rising organist star Espen Melbø. The Danish accordionist Andreas Borregaard premieres a work for solo accordion by the world-famous Danish contemporary composer Bent Sørensen.
Premiere versions of old and new hymns are performed by the eminent Uranienborg Vocal Ensemble under the direction of Elisabeth Holte. The three featured composers are Marianne Reidarsdatter Eriksen, Marcus Paus and Bjørn Morten Christophersen.
Our ongoing collaboration with the composer Lasse Thoresen will this time explore tonal similarities between Norwegian folk music and Eastern music. The textual material originates in the works of Norwegian poet Henrik Wergeland and Sufi texts by the Iranian poet Táhirih who became a leading figure in the women's liberation movement in the 19th-century Middle East and unfortunately paid the price with her own life. The title of the concert is The Land of Your Love and no less than three new works by Thoresen are premiered on International Women's Day by the outstanding vocal sextet Nordic Voices in a programme that also features Renaissance music.
Another tribute to women on 8 March comes from Christiania Men's Choir with the concert Venus-Hommage. Oslo Cathedral Choir and Gothic Voices from the UK will demonstrate the contrast between the large choir and the small quartet through another new work by Andrew Smith and other pieces. Andreas Utnem will in his late evening concert Night Hymns perform meditations on well-known hymn melodies along with his own compositions on the Oslo Cathedral's grand piano. We can promise an evocative concert!
Organ and jazz
We are honoured to have a guest appearance from the Belgian Bernard Foccroulle, organist, composer and festival director who will perform music by Bach and Buxtehude on the new "Bach Organ"in the Swedish Church of St Margareta. Memorabilia is composed by Mats Eilertsen with texts by the poet Tor Ulven and liturgical texts, and is performed by Eilertsen's own trio and Trio Mediæval. The Boysen bus is rolling its way towards new organ treasures. This time the bus will stop to visit four churches "with a French accent."
During this year's nine Festival High Masses (services) you can experience no less than four boys' choirs, a collaboration between Scandinavian and German women's choirs, organists and folk singers under the age of 19, and dance as the language of prayer. You will hear a street priest with a doctorate in spirituality and hip-hop who also brings his own jazz band. Slavery is the recurring theme also in the festival high masses both in issues dealing with modern-day slavery and oppression and in the musical programme, from negro spirituals to jazz. In addition, there is music by Hildegard von Bingen, Stravinsky, Rachmaninov, Schnittke and Standford, with choirs, organists and musicians associated with the participating churches.
The festival will be opened by the priest and professor Sturla Stålsett with an introduction to this year's slavery theme. The History of Slavery Past and Present is the title of a lecture by the historian Jon Olav Hove. Turkey expert Jørgen Lorentzen will give a lecture entitled Turkey: From Democracy to Dictatorship, and Mildrid Mikkelsen, leader of the Rosa project poses the question: What is human trafficking? After the festival High Mass in Oslo Cathedral on the festival's final day, the speakers and Oslo's new bishop Kari Veiteberg join in a panel discussion and a summary of the festival's thematic focus.
A photo exhibition on the theme will be staged in Oslo Cathedral.
Festival and Artistic Director
We wish to thank:
The Royal Palace, City of Oslo, Arts Council Norway, Bergesenstiftelsen, DNB Savings Bank Foundation, Dextra Musica, Fritt Ord Foundation, Lyric Writers Fund, Norwegian Composers’ Fund, Fund for Performing Artists, Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, Thon Hotel Opera, Vårt Land, Norwegian Academy of Music, Ola Mæle, Oslo City Hall, the Embassy of Germany, the Embassy of France, Institut Français, the Embassy of Belgium, the Embassy of Italy, Istituto Italiano di Cultura Oslo, Aftenpostens A-kort, Oslo bilutleie, Publikung, Unibuss AS, Kreativ Flora, Marianne Helliesen, Oslo Cathedral, and the parishes of the following churches: Trefoldighet, Gamle Aker, Sentrum og St. Hanshaugen, Sofienberg, Østre Aker, Uranienborg, Frogner, Bragernes, Paulus, Mortensrud, Vestre Aker and the Swedish Church of St Margareta, Joint Council of Churches in Oslo and the Church of Norway.
fredag 02. mars
Åpningskonsert: Les routes de l'esclavage - I slavehandelens spor
lørdag 03. mars
Urfremføring: Eventyret om Telemann
Urfremføring: Eventyret om Telemann
Åpen prøve for studenter og andre interesserte
PIO - Pilegrim i orgelsko
Foredrag: Tyrkia – fra demokrati til diktatur
G.F. Händel: Israel i Egypt
søndag 04. mars
Festivalhøymesse i Oslo domkirke
Festivalhøymesse i Mortensrud kirke
Festivalhøymesse i Vestre Aker kirke
Festivalhøymesse i Sofienberg kirke
Slaveriets historie før og nå
Boysen-bussen med fransk aksent
J.S. Bach: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier II
The Freedom of the Soul
mandag 05. mars
Urfremføring: Messe for livets kontraster
tirsdag 06. mars
Orgelkonsert: Espen Melbø
Salmekonsert med Uranienborg Vokalensemble
onsdag 07. mars
Et ecce terrae motus – En kraftfull oppvåkning
torsdag 08. mars
Menneskehandel i Norge i dag
The Land of your Love
fredag 09. mars
Guttekorseminar og mesterklasse
Orgelkonsert med Bernard Foccroulle
Senkveldkonsert: Night Hymns
lørdag 10. mars
Staats- und Domchor Berlin - Was ist ein Mensch?
Mats Eilertsen Trio - Memorabilia
søndag 11. mars
Festivalhøymesse i Oslo domkirke
Festivalhøymesse i Østre Aker kirke
Festivalhøymesse i Frogner kirke
Festivalhøymesse i Svenska Margaretakyrkan
Festivalhøymesse i Bragernes kirke
Slaveriet i vår tid
Urfremføring: Verk av Bent Sørensen
Avslutningskonsert - André Campra: Requiem