On 29 July 1030 at Stiklestad near Nidaros, the modern city of Trondheim in central Norway, the Norwegian king Olaf Haraldsson lost a battle against local supporters of the Danish king Canute the Great (d. 1035) and was killed in action. But if Olaf did not earn military glory on earth that day, his name was destined to be adorned with far more durable fame: sainthood.
Only slightly more than one year after the battle, on 3 August 1031, Olaf’s remains were transferred to the altar of the church of St Clement in Nidaros. Thereby the slain king was officially declared a saint, a martyr. Subsequently, Olaf became the patron saint of the bishopric and of all Norway – until today.
From the installation of the cult of Olaf in 1031 onwards, the clergy of Nidaros had to perform texts and chants as a regular part of the feast of Olaf on 29 July. This included the celebration of Holy Mass and a cycle of canonical hours, also called “Divine Office” (or short “office”).
On an important feast such as that of St Olaf, this cycle included First Vespers (on the evening before the feast), Matins (during the night), Lauds (in the early morning hours), Second Vespers and additional minor hours on the feast day. All of these hours relied heavily upon music: the recitation of psalms and lessons and the performance of hymns, antiphons, and responsories
TracklistPlease note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Total time: 01:44:10
|Original Recording Format|
RIS CHURCH, OSLO
|Recording Type & Bit Rate|
|Release Date||September 30, 2016|
Choir and Organ
“The St Olav cult plays an important role in Norwegian religious life. These 30 mostly very short pieces, meant to be sung at the canonical hours on the saint’s feast day (July 29), are taken from a complete manuscript dating back to the early 16th century and held in the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm. The current project and collaboration between Consortium Vocale Oslo and Graces & Voices was made as part of an EU lifelong learning programme dedicated to the study of Gregorian chant; it presumably also draws on the recent researches into the Office of St Olav by Eyolf Østrem in Uppsala. The two ensembles alternate duties most comfortably, especially in the extended Matins. There are detailed liner notes tracing the history of both cult and music. Absorbing and very spiritual.”
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