“My approach to arranging this carol, as well as the other carols in Nordic Christmas, was to look at the text (originally in Danish by Nikolai Grundtvig, 1783–1872) and its background to see if there are new meanings hidden in the material. Perhaps there are circumstances around its creation or messages the original authors were trying to say that somehow get lost in the way they are interpreted today. Lovely is the dark blue sky is usually performed as a lustrous up-tempo carol, but thinking of Grundtvig’s story and life, writing this text between episodes of severe mental illness, and his vision of a child looking at the dark blue sky at night, I made the atmosphere of this arrangement more dreamy, still and full of wonder. I still wanted to keep it childlike, with the choir singing tenderly and the soprano solo is ideally sung by a child.
The melody was written ‘by an old man who had never before composed any music’, as stated in the 1853 hymnbook in which this melody first appeared. It is the only known composition of its writer, the Norwegian-Danish Jacob Gerhard Meidell (1778–1857), who was a captain in the Danish Army and later a customs inspector in Copenhagen. The text was written by one of the great Danish hymn writers, N F S Grundtvig in 1810. It was written between a manic and a depressive episode. During a time of being well, he wanted to write about Christmas through the eyes of a child. The message is simple, as a children’s song with storybook elements.”
- Kim André Arnesen -
Diverse in terms of theme and mood, with works suitable for a variety of festive and commemorative occasions, both sacred and secular, this series provides an exciting collection of contemporary works for choirs of all types, voicings and abilities.
Spanning many different styles including the jazz-influenced world of Will Todd’s Jazz Carols and Iain Farrington’s The Blues Service, the tranquil beauty of James MacMillan’s Ave Maris Stella, and the energetic jubilation of Gareth Treseder’s Blessed be that Maid Marie, the series provides a wealth of new music, perfect for choirs looking to expand their horizons and explore new repertoire.