Sofia Vokalensemble: Förvårskväll


Förvårskväll – One Early Spring Morning. Swedish choral music by Sofia Vokalensemble, directed by Bengt Ollén.

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About this release

The members of Sofia Vokalensemble under our director Bengt Ollén, invite you to join us on a musical journey through some of our favourite Nordic a cappella choral music. It is music that we have always loved to share with our audience, pieces that through the years we have performed at many concerts in Sweden and touring overseas. In this album, we have chosen a selection of songs that reach from exquisite Swedish National Romanticism to folk chorale and contemporary pieces.

About the artists

Bengt Ollén

The Swedish choral conductor, Bengt Ollén, has studied under Gösta Ohlin and Gunnar Eriksson at the Academy of Music and Drama in Gothenburg and in 1981 he formed the vocal ensemble Amanda.

Bengt Ollén is the Sofia Vokalensemble’s founder and constant conductor. Since 1995 he’s led the vocal ensemble with great passion and a never-dying enthusiasm. His leadership has formed SOVE to a positive and resolute choir through musical development.

Bengt Ollén’s vision is to create music “beyond the notes”. The music that the choir presents shall not only consist of beautiful rings and fine musical interpretations. The music shall also move the listener. Therefore each singer’s commitment is a very important piece in the musical progress. He constantly works on strengthening the choir’s group dynamics. For example he often uses creative improvisation practices as work method, which often leads to exciting concert piece and melody interpretation. Bengt never ceases to encourage communication between singers, both in the musical format but also socially, outside rehearsals. For the music to be good, everyone needs to take part; that is Bengt’s musical belief.

Bengt Ollén is regularly engaged as a guest lecturer at choir festivals, workshops and concerts, both in Sweden and internationally. He works as a teacher of choir singing at Stockholm Musikgymnasium.

Sofia Vokalensemble

The choir’s performances are characterized by a warm, lyrical Swedish choral sound and a stage presence that has taken the ensemble far in international competitions.

In 2012 Sofia Vokalensemble won the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing. The competition, this year held in Maribor, Slovenia, is one of the most prestigious in the world and the participating choirs are the winners of six reputed choral competitions in Europe. Sofia Vokalensemble qualified for the competition after winning the Grand Prix at the International Choral Competition, Maribor, Slovenia, in 2011.

In the autumn of 2009, Sofia Vokalensemble won the Grand Prix at the Grieg International Choir Festival in Bergen, Norway. In the summer of 2008 the choir took two first places in the Grand Prix in Italian Gorizia and in 2006 the ensemble tied for first place in the prestigious Harald Andersén Chamber Choir Competition in Helsinki, Finland. Sofia Vokalensemble has also toured in Czech Republic, South Africa, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Hong Kong, Ireland, Greece, Venezuela and Russia. At home in Stockholm, the choir gives regular concerts in the Sofia church.

Music by Bach, Poulenc, Pärt and Schnittke recurs frequently in the repertoire. The choir has also premiered pieces by, among others Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Fredrik Sixten and Karin Rehnqvist. Sofia Vokalensemble is a choir with great love for music and the work is characterized not only by high musical ambition and close interaction with the conductor: the heart is always there;  on Wednesday rehearsals and weekend training camps as well as at airports, parties, and behind the scenes before a competition.

CD Booklet
  • Let him kiss me (Four Songs of Love) - Sven-David Sandström
  • Until the daybreak (Four Songs of Love) - Sven-David Sandström
  • Awake, O north wind (Four Songs of Love) - Sven-David Sandström
  • His left hand (Four Songs of Love) - Sven-David Sandström
  • Stjärntändningen - Oskar Lindberg
  • Unforgotten - Fredrik Sixten
  • Trilo - arr. Bengt Ollén
  • The half-finished heaven - Sven-David Sandström
  • Aftonen - Hugo Alfvén
  • I denna Ljuva Sommartid - arr. Bengt Ollén
  • Jordens oro viker - Ludvig Norman
  • Kung Liljekonvalje - David Wikander
  • Die Stimme des Kindes - Jaakko Mäntyjärvi
  • Förvårskväll - David Wikander
  • Canticum Calamitatis Maritimae - Jaakko Mäntyjärvi
  • Sverige - Wilhelm Stenhammar
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Catalogue number: CR017

Choir Sofia Vokalensemble
Conductor Bengt Ollén

Photography Various
Engineering Adaq Khan
Mastering Adaq Khan
Producer Andrew King
Creative Director John Bevan
Executive Producer Adrian Green

Recorded 8, 9 February, 2014
Venue Bälinge Church, Sweden
Total Duration 66 mins


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