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The Church of Norway introduced its new hymnal at Advent 2013, to much delight and little resistance. Hearing old hymns in fresh, modern settings led to the new set of arrangements being likened to a ‘box of jewels’, and that’s the impression here. Like Emmanuel Vigeland’s great altarpiece for the Uranienborg Church (shown on the cover), the abiding impression is of modernity wedded to an almost Byzantine simplicity but depth of line. Most of Norway’s eminent hymn writers were involved, but special mention to Marianne Reidarsdatter Eriksen’s beautiful rendering of ‘Kom regn. Kom fred. Kom trøst’, which is destined to become a national favourite. The Dolby Atmos version, which will run on a BluRay machine, offers sound, miraculously, from above: a genuinely immersive experience.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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