The Norwegian Hymn Book—minute for minute
Heidi Håvan Grosch
Save the date: Tune in to NRK’s (nrk.no) 60-hour live broadcast of the Norwegian Hymn Book minute for minute starting at 11:45 a.m. Norwegian time, November 28.
NRK (Norwegian Public Television / nrk.no) has a history of creating “slow-TV” programs that walk us through an experience minute for minute; programs like the Hurtigruten, Bergensbanen (the Bergen Railway), Nasjonal strikkekveld (the National Knitting Evening), or Norlandsbanen (Norlands Railway). This year on the first weekend in Advent, NRK will stream live the singing of the entire new (2013) Norwegian hymnbook, about 60 hours non-stop. 237 choirs (about 3,000 people) from all over Norway are participating, each singing a few of the 899 hymns verse by verse. My choir, Sparbu Songlag, is singing six Pentecost (Pinse) hymns, (numbers 227–232) at 3:00 a.m. early on the morning of Saturday November 29. You can watch us live if you like by going to nrk.no (more web references at the end of this article).
“Hymns are Norway’s cultural inheritance, and have been sung for generations,” says the NRK Director of Broadcasting (kringkastingssjef) Thor-Gjermund Eriksen. This hymn marathon is a partnership between NRK, the choir movement (korbevegelsen) in Norway, and the church council responsible for the release of the 2013 hymnbook last Advent. “Hymns are meant to be sung together,” says Sindre Eide on the Norwegian Hymnbook’s Blog (Norsk salmebok blogg/ September 25), and people around the country (and perhaps the world) will be singing along with the broadcast from Vår Frue Kirke in Trondheim.
Even a celebrity personality from South Korea, Jaemin Park, will be joining a choir to sing a hymn. “It’s more than anyone could have dreamed of,” reports project manager for the new hymnbook Vidar Kristensen on the NRK website. “NRK has grasped the treasure that is hiding between the covers of the hymn book.” This new resource spans many languages and musical styles; even Alf Prøysen has an entry with “Julekveldsvisa.”
• To see the broadcast live go to Nrk.no (type in salmeboka in the search window). For a direct link go to: tv.nrk.no/serie/salmeboka-minutt-for-minutt
• norsksalmebok.no (go to produkter) is the place to go to order the 2013 Norwegian hymnbook or get an online version (including an app for your phone!).
• www.gammel.kirken.no/?event=doLink&famID=365702 is the Norwegian Church’s site.
Direct quotes taken from the Norwegian Church’s website.
P.S. Remember to watch my choir, Sparbu Songlag (at 3:00 a.m. Norway time) sing the following Pentecost hymns (and I apologize to both my mother and my aunt for not having an LBW with me here in Norway to cross reference the songs!). The names are listed in order of author (forfattere), translator (oversettere), composer (komponister), and arrangement (satskomponister), with the number from the old hymnbook in parentheses.
• 227 Sannhets tolk og taler (Schmückt das Fest mit Maien) (NoS 226)
Benjamin Schmolck 1715, M.B. Landstad 1861, Ludvig M. Lindeman 1863 (composer & arrangement)
• 228 O lue fra Guds kjærlighet (NoS 215)
Du loge av Guds kjærleiks-eld (NoS 216)
Birgitte Cathrine Boye 1778, Elias Blix 1902 (N), 1400-t Wittenberg 1529, Per Steenberg 1947
• 229 Den signede dag, som nu vi ser (NoS 219)
N.F.S. Grundtvig 1826, etter Dagvisen fra 1400-t (nr. 789), C.E.F. Weyse 1826 (composer & arrangement)
• 230 Du som går ut fra den levende Gud (NoS 218)
N.F.S. Grundtvig 1836, fritt etter James, Ludvig M. Lindeman 1871 (composer & arrangement)
• 231 Apostlene satt i Jerusalem (NoS 221)
N.F.S. Grundtvig 1843, Ludvig M. Lindeman 1865 (composer & arrangement)
• 232 I all sin glans nu stråler solen (NoS 222)
N.F.S. Grundtvig før 1843, 1853, translated into Norwegian 1979, Henrik Rung 1859 (composer & arrangement)
This article is a part of Heidi Håvan Grosch’s column Rønningen Ramblings, which appears a couple times a month in the Norwegian American Weekly.
This article originally appeared in the Nov. 21, 2014, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.