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20 May - 03 June 2020

The Norwegian Soloists' Choir

& Grete Pedersen

Next event:
  • Free. Scroll down to watch the concert.

The Bergen International Festival puts performances 02 June on hold together with the world's music industry. Read more at

​​Hymn to freedom. 

In 2020 the Norwegian Soloists' Choir celebrates its 70th anniversary and will perform with its conductor Grete Pedersen its award-winning interpretation of Bach's motets and Poulenc's hymn to freedom, or according to Henri Hell, the litanies of Liberty. The concert was planned to be performed in Håkonshallen, but will be streamed from Oslo instead.

Few choral works are as beautifully conceived as Poulenc's Figure Humaine. Both the music and Paul Éluard's texts were written clandestinely in occupied France during the Second World War, and constitute a hymn to freedom from occupation and tyranny. The composer insisted that the work should be performed unaccompanied – it should be the human voice speaking.

'It is just so very vigilantly executed. The singing makes your hair stand on end', a critic wrote of the album Bach: The Motets, which also received the prestigious Diapason d'or award for 2018. Bach's motets are as great an enigma as the composer himself. It is not known when they were composed, but in Bach's time they were mostly sung at funerals. The motets cast a piercing spotlight on any music they come into contact with, and seethe with hope of life in the world to come.

The Norwegian Soloists' Choir is an innovative ensemble with a rich historical background. It consists of 26 hand-picked professional singers with a tremendous ability to blend their voices, resulting in a highly distinctive choral expression. Grete Pedersen, the choir's artistic director since 1990, was in November 2019 granted the title of Knight of the Royal Norwegian Order of St Olav. In 2019 she received The Lindeman Prize for the Nordic Council's Music Prize.

Photo: Shannon Moratti


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Available minimum 30 days after first streaming. This service is offered by the Bergen International Festival. The music is reproduced with permission by TONO ( Unauthorized performance or copying is illegal.



​1 h


    • ​The Norwegian Soloists' Choir
    • Grete Pedersen conductor

Music by

    • ​Bach
    • Poulenc
    • Grieg 


    • Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
    • Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, motett BWV 225

      • Francis Poulenc (1899–1963)
      • Quatre petites prières de saint François d'Assise FP142

        1. Salut, Dame Sainte
        2. Tout puissant
        3. Seigneur, je vous en prie
        4. Ô mes très chers frères

        Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)

        Komm, Jesu, komm, motett BWV 229

        Francis Poulenc (1899–1963)

        Figure Humaine FP 120

        Tekst: Paul Éluard

        1. De tous les printemps du monde

        2. En chantant les servantes s'élancent

        3. Aussi bas que le silence

        4. Toi ma patiente 

        5. Riant du ciel et des planètes

        6. Le jour m'étonne et la nuit me fait peur

        7. La menace sous le ciel rouge

        8. Liberté

        • Edvard Grieg (1843 – 1907)
        • Hvad est du dog skjøn, Fire salmer, Op. 74.

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