Article about the Christmas concert with Alexander Rybak in Halden, Norway

Article published in Halden Arbeiderblad on 21.12.2013

Author of text and photo:  Tom Skjeklesaether

Found by Ulli C. Translated by Laila S.H. English revision by Katie A.

Here is the full “Stille Natt Hellige Natt” ensemble in front of a statue of Jesus in the Immanuel church on Friday evening. They left behind an echo after they continued on

Christmas mood a la Larsen

Early Friday night the Christmas concert “Stille Natt Hellige Natt” was back at the Immanuel church in Halden. There, an unusually packed church waited for Rune Larsen & Co.
Some will say that Larsen is perfecting his team when he takes to the road with his Christmas ensemble, consisting of Tor Endresen, Elisabeth Bettan Andreassen, Marian Aas Hansen and Alexander Rybak. The last one of course still equipped with his well acclaimed violin.

Along with this quintet, the musicians Øystein Lund Olafsen and Olav Torget provided sufficient sound in the church room so that the echo probably won’t die out until well into the new year.

Childish Rune Larsen
Rune Larsen’s task in the performance is to be the voice that is binding it all together, with a mix of humor and sincerity. During the 75 minutes it takes, Larsen shows himself as a fount of witty, Bible related children’s sayings:
“Røyk og Myrra” (“Cigarettes and myrrh” – word play on Røyk “cigarettes” and Røkelse “incense”)
“5 brødre om til 2 fisk” (“5 brothers to 2 fish” – word play on Brødre “brothers” and Brød “bread”)
and “Tre visne menn” (“Three withered men” – word play on Visne, “Withered ” and Vise “wise”).

It is Rybak who reveals that he and Rune Larsen are about equal childish and that makes their travels a lot of fun.
Not that “Stille Natt Hellige Natt” crosses over to a stand-up comedy. There was plenty of time to present Christmas songs over a broad spectrum; from those often heard in church, like the song that gives the concert its name “Stille natt, hellige natt”, via “Deilig er den himmel blå” to the closing “Deilig er jorden”, performed with the whole audience standing in a sing-along.

Bing Larsen
Rune Larsen also told about the time when his family got their first record player, when little Rune was nine, once upon a time in the last century. And his father bought their first records, including Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”. Rune fell in love with the B-side, “Count your blessings” which he performed with great empathy.

Everybody was shining in the solo spotlight
In addition, the four did what they are the best at. Rybak got the biggest applause for his neck-breaking violin acrobatics. Endresen did a double, both as Spanish talking Jose Feliciano with the evergreen “Feliz Navidad” and as Jussi Bjørling with “O Helga natt”. Marian Aas Hansen and Elisabeth Andreassen were at their best in a gospel song that was probably called “Amen”.

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