In the mid-nineteenth century, Europeappeared to be on the verge of a GoldenAge of choral music. There was an astonishingresurgence everywhere of music for men’s andwomen’s voices and for mixed choirs. From asearly as 1810, singing clubs, choral societies andLiedertafel (song-tables) shot up like mushroomsin Berlin, Leipzig, Frankfurt, Cologne andVienna. The best-known was the Liedertafelstarted up in 1808 by Mendelssohn’s teacherCarl Friedrich Zelter, who was leader of thechoral tradition that flourished in the nineteenthcentury has lost none of its strength. Accordingto statistics, no less than ten percent of its ninemillion inhabitants sing in a choir. Värmland,the western province of Sweden, even has areputation for its astronomical number of fivehundred choirs! A large part of the repertoireconsists of old Swedish folk songs, a culturalheritage that came to enjoy renewed and stronginterest in the nineteenth century. Composershave since arranged them for choir, often in anaccessible, neo-Romantic folk-song style and instrophic form. But songs were also adapted in acontemporary style and for all sorts of ensembles.One of the most familiar names in this respect is that of Hugo Alfvén, the foremost Swedish composer of the twentieth century. He becameknown for his furtherance of Swedish choral music and folk songs in Europe, and for his five post-Romantic symphonies and the Swedishrhapsody Midsommarvaka (1904). On the present recording, traditional Swedish folk songs are combined with contemporary choral music.Most of the pieces are Swedish, but Denmark (Jörgen Jersild) and Finland (Jaakko Mäntyjärvi) are also represented.Download booklet
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