…. a Swede in many ways, my heart is truly blue and yellow … our little country has in many ways made the difference to the world; lighthouse beacon flashing light, the dynamite, Skype, the pacemaker, the blowtorch, Volvo, multi-row self-aligning radial ball bearing and the toroidal roller bearing, the safety match, Tetra Pak, the absorption refrigerator, zipper, adjustable spanner/wrench, Losec, bleaching process for paper, computer mouse, gamma knife for brain surgery, the Mecanum wheel, three-point seat belt , Spotify and the multi-barrel, lever-actuated, machine gun and meatballs.
Little Sweden has given the world: Great Garbo, Björn Borg, Europe, H&M, Ingemar Stenmark, Ingrid Bergman, AGA, Annika Sörenstam, ABBA, Birgit Nilsson, IKEA, Ericsson Telecommunications, Ingmar Bergman, Carl Larsson, Swedish House Mafia, Astrid Lindgren (Pippi Longstocking), Avicii, Henrik Stenson, Anders Celsius, Nobel Prize, Lennart Nilsson (The Miracle of Life), August Strindberg, Carl von Linne, Roxette, “How Great Thou Art” and Zlatan Ibrahimović,
When it comes to music “How Great Thou Art” probably our most famous song, one of the most sung hymns in the world.
- Written by Carl Gustav Boberg, a 26-year old pastor in Sweden. As the story goes, Boberg was caught in a thunderstorm one Sunday afternoon after church. From his perch in the mountains, Boberg watched as the storm swept in with a bolt of lightning and massive clap of thunder. The storm hurtled through the meadows and grain fields, reverberating across the countryside with the sound of its astounding power. After the storm, pastor Boberg looked out his windows overlooking Mönsterås Bay. A rainbow spread across the sky, the birds were singing, the church bells were softy tolling, and Carl was overwhelmed by God’s power and majesty. The result was an outpouring of adoration and worship in the writing of the song, O Store Gud.
And after this, I guess ABBA comes in any form.
The piece I have chosen is Sweden for me.
The Drottningholm Music (Movement 1: Allegro)
- The Drottningholm Music (Swedish: Drottningholmsmusiken) is the popular name of the music that was composed by Johan Helmich Roman.
- First performed at Drottningholm Palace at Lovön near Stockholm on 18 August 1744 at the wedding of Crown Prince Adolf Frederick and Princess Louisa Ulrika of Prussia.
- The music was composed especially for the royal wedding and consists of 33 movements. The movements are very different from each other; there is music both for ceremonious entries and for dance, for example, minuets.
- The wedding was celebrated in three days, under which the royal orchestra, directed by Roman, is believed to have been strengthened by the orchestra that Adolf Frederick had brought from Germany. The number of musicians was approximately 24.
- Johan Helmich Roman (1694 – 1758) was a Swedish Baroque composer. He has been called “the father of Swedish music” or “the Swedish Handel.”
- He joined the royal chapel in 1711 as violinist and oboist. Around 1715 the King granted Roman permission to study abroad, and the young composer spent some six years in London. He almost certainly studied under Johann Christoph Pepusch, met Francesco Geminiani, Giovanni Bononcini, and, most importantly, George Frideric Handel, whose music made a lasting impression on Roman.
- He was the leader of Swedish Opera through most of Swedish Opera’s Age of Liberty.
- Today the Drottningholm Palace is the private residence of the Swedish King and Queen. It is located in Drottningholm. Built on the island Lovön (in Ekerö Municipality of Stockholm County), it is one of Sweden’s Royal Palaces.
- It was originally built in the late 16th century, and it served as a regular summer residence of the Swedish royal court for most of the 18th century. Apart from being the private residence of the Swedish royal family, the palace is a popular tourist attraction.
- The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, mainly because of the Drottningholm Palace Theatre and the Chinese Pavilion. It was added to the list in 1991. The UNESCO comments were:
“ The Royal Domain of Drottningholm stands on an island in Lake Mälar in a suburb of Stockholm. With its palace, perfectly preserved theatre (built 1766), Chinese pavilion and gardens, it is the finest example of an 18th-century northern European royal residence inspired by the Palace of Versailles.”
“Klinga mina klockor / Ring my bells”
- In 9187 Benny Anderson gathered the most popular Swedish female singers, 21 in total (Frida one of them)
- “The Dream Choir” became their title and together with the Radio Symphonics they recorded this. This the clip of their first rehearsal.
- Music of course written by Benny Andersson, lyrics by Björn Ulvaeus.
- The song stayed at Swedish chart for five weeks, peaking at 5th position.
- For me this song is so Swedish anything can be … it gives me the Swedish summer visions with the long days and short nights, the flowers, blue sky … and wheat field … laughter and dance.
- It has a very strong traditional Swedish folk music undertone.
“Ring my bells silver bright and clear
as the evening star glitteringly and wonderfully.
The ringing of my bells was the beat of my heart
the dim depth of my spring swirls in my stream.
Sing my happiness, sing my longing,
sing my wordless missing
and my silent grief.
And when my concerns are constantly growing
in a bad time, so
ring, ring my bells
the sound that gives the mind peace.
The ringing of my bells was the beat of my heart”
“Till havs / At sea”
- Johan Jonatan “Jussi” Björling (1911 – 1960) was a Swedish tenor. One of the leading operatic singers of the 20th century, Björling appeared for many years at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and less frequently at the major European opera houses, including the Royal Opera House in London and La Scala in Milan.
- Appointed Hovsångare (Royal Court Singer) by the King of Sweden in 1944.
- Elected member of Kungl. Musikaliska Akademien (Royal Swedish Academy of Music) in 1956.
- Received Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Performance, 1960 (for LP “Bjoerling in Opera”)
- Ranked greatest singer of the century by Classic CD (United Kingdom) “Top Singers of the Century” Critics’ Poll (June 1999).
- He has a chair dedicated to him in Kilbourn Hall at the internationally renowned Eastman School of Music
- Entered Gramophone’s Hall of Fame in 2012.
- Luciano Pavarotti, in a 1988 interview for the Swedish daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, stated that “When I’m about to train a new opera, I first listen to how Jussi Björling did it. His voice was unique and it’s his path that I want I wish more than anything else that people compared me to Jussi Björling”.
- The song – “Till Havs / At Sea” is a poem by Swedish-Finnish poet Jonatan Reuter, with the introductory word “Now the sea’s fresh wind is blowing”.
- In 1922, the music was composed by the Swedish composer Gustaf Nordqvist as part of “Three songs” for solo voice and piano or orchestra. The song was one of Jussi Björling’s parade numbers.
- This video Jössi Björling from his movie “Resan till dig / The journey to you”, recorded from Swedish TV, restored and repitched. Royal Orchestra, S. Waldimir (conductor), 27.09.1953.
- Of course me as an old sea dog, this song has a very special meaning.
- Such a beautiful poem and powerful music, just like the ocean.
- Not because I’m a Swede … but for me, Jössi is one of the greatest tenors, sorry Luciano and Jonas.
“Till havs / At sea”
“Now the fresh wind of the sea is blowing from southwest
(Nu blåser havets friska vind ifrån sydväst)
And sweetly caresses the sailor’s cheek of the winds best
(Och smeker ljuvligt sjömans kind av alla vindar bäst)
At sea, at sea
(Till havs, till havs)
to storms, you bold hunting
(till storms, du djärva jakt )
At sea, to storms,
(Till havs, till storms, )
each man on duty
(var man på vakt)
On an endless path, life is free, so not thrive
(På endlös led är livet fritt, ej trives tvång,)
When the sea sings, green and white,
(När havet sjunger, grönt och vitt,)
his high song of liberty
(sin höga frihetssång)
At sea, At sea
(Till havs, Till havs )
To storms, you bold hunting
(till storms, du djärva jakt,)
At sea, to storms,
Till havs, till storms,
were each man on guard,
(var man på vakt)
Swell beautifully, beautiful sails, swell in the dust of the wind,
(Sväll vackert, vackra segel, svullna i vindens damm)
Fly forward with delight towards the scales
(Flyga framåt med glädje mot vågen)
in the highest desire of the moment!
(i ögonblickets högsta önskan!)
At sea, at sea
(Till have, till havs)
to storms, you bold hunting,
(till stormar, du djärva jakt,)
To storms, to sea,
(Till stormar, till hav,)
were you on guard,
(var du på vakt)
“I can’t tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start”
….. this is my number ONE!!!!!
- This song and video is a collaboration between Volvo and Avicii, celebrating new beginnings. In the summer of 2014, for the launch of their XC90 model (Made by Sweden).
- “Feeling Good” (also known as “Feelin’ Good”) is a song written by English composers Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse for the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd.
- It was first performed on stage in 1964 by Cy Grant on the UK tour and by Gilbert Price in 1965 with the original Broadway cast
- Nina Simone’s version, arranged and produced by Hal Mooney, was recorded in New York in 1965 and appeared on her album I Put a Spell on You.
- “Feeling Good” was covered by Canadian singer Michael Bublé as the lead single from his album, It’s Time. The single was released in 2005.
- For me, this is the best version. Tim has done a brilliant arrangement of the song and the singer is Audra Mae, an American singer, and songwriter from Oklahoma City (1984.) She is the great-great-niece of Judy Garland.
- Avicci = Tim Bergling,(1989 – 2018), was a Swedish electronic musician, DJ, and songwriter who specialized in audio programming, remixing and record producing.
- Tim started mixing in his bedroom at the age of 8 and at the age of 16, he began posting his remixes on electronic music forums, which led to his first record deal.
- Avicci was one of the most successful artists in the world with over 10 million albums sold. His songs were topping the charts all around the globe.
- But 320 gigs a year and the constant pressure to deliver had taken its toll on his body and mind.
- Tim died on 20 April 2018 near Muscat, Oman, at the age of 28.
- On 1 May, reported that the cause of death was a suicide due to self-inflicted injuries with a broken wine bottle, dying of blood loss.
- On 26 April, his family released an open letter stating:”Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions. An over-achieving perfectionist who traveled and worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress. When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be able to be happy and to do what he loved most – music. He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness. He could now not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace. Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in; he was a sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight. Tim, you will forever be loved and sadly missed. The person you were and your music will keep your memory alive. We love you, The Family”