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This year’s moving and beautiful carol was specially commissioned for the Financial Times with the help of Nicola Clase, Sweden’s ambassador to the UK, who asked Johan Hugosson to compose the piece. The carol was recorded by the choir of Stockholms Musikgymnasium at the 17th-century Kungsholms Church in Stockholm, and conducted by Bengt Ollen. The world premiere can be heard on FT.com.
Clase invites the 18-year-old choristers to London every December for the St Lucia’s Day celebrations. “They wear crowns of lit candles as they sing traditional songs to celebrate the feast of St Lucia,” she says. “This newly commissioned carol adds a new dimension to their repertoire.”
The lyrics for this year’s carol are taken from a creative adaptation of three medieval Scandinavian and British rune poems by Dr Hannah Burrows, a lecturer in Scandinavian studies at the University of Aberdeen.
This poetic form was one of the inspirations for the Swedish composer, who trained at London’s Royal College of Music. “The challenge for me was to compose something which combined the essentially Viking tradition of these rune poems with the atmosphere of Christmas. I have tried to evoke winter in the music,” says Hugosson.
To see the carol’s lyrics and a complete version of the musical score, please go to ft.com/carol2015
Nils-Erik Gunna Arn
Louise Arn Ytterberg
Adam Bergman Karlsson
Gustaf Lof Hagstrom
Otto Lyth Berg
Claudia Veronik Rawicka
Dmitri Toprover Kniazev
Bengt Ollen conducts the choir of Stockholms Musikgymnasium in the premiere performance of this year’s FT carol which was composed by Johan Hugosson. The lyrics are taken from Dr Hannah Burrows’ creative adaptation of three medieval rune poems
Photograph: Steve Ager