Stockholms Musikgymnasium choir sing the Rune Carol at Kungsholms Church
Stockholms Musikgymnasium choir sing the Rune Carol at Kungsholms Church © Steve Ager

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

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

Choir members

Joel Albinsson
Fanny Alenius
Julie Ansorge
Nils-Erik Gunna Arn
Louise Arn Ytterberg
Edward Arvinius
Alexandra Astafourova
Elias Bellman
Adam Bergman Karlsson
Ida Bjarke

Susanna Boder
Maria Bodin
Matilda Bond
Gustav Brorson
Harald Carlinger
Jenny Edsvik
Emma Elgh
Klara Eliasson
Elsa Fahlander
Moa Fox

Theo Hafstrom
Daniel Hirschberg
Paula Hogman
Frida Jansson
Amanda Kann
Axel Karlsson
Lovisa Lanryd
Filippa Lindberg
Sigrid Lindblom
Gustaf Lof Hagstrom

Elsa Lovung
Otto Lyth Berg
Michelle Marand
Lava Mustafa
Sara Nyberg
Carl Oberg
Nils Ohman
Fabian Olander
Fanny Papay
Claudia Veronik Rawicka

Gabriela Sanchez
Martin Skarby
Felicia Takman
Filippa Telin
Martin Tibbing
Dmitri Toprover Kniazev
Dennis Udd
Carolina Vogel
Sandra Wanderoy
Sebastian Wegmann
Jasmina Zare

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

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