Review of the Christmas concert with Alexander Rybak in Herøy church (Fosnavåg, Norway)

Article from the paper issue of Vestlandsnytt.

Published on  03.12.13

Found by Ulli C. Translated by Jorunn E. English revising by Anni J.

Humorous Christmas medley a capella in an intense tempo, solo performances and beautiful singing. And Rudolf`s nose is still red. It`s easy to see that the bunch is having a great time.

Tranquil and beautiful night at Herøy church.

The Christmas concert “Silent Night Holy Night” with the Norwegian top artists Elisabeth Andreassen, Marian Aas Hansen, Tor Endresen, Rune Larsen and recently also improved with Alexander Rybak, also gathered a sold out church in Herøy and created a nice Christmas mood for a stressed out pre-Christmas mind.

It’s impressive to fill the church once more only three days after Hanne Krogh and her three fantastic tenors held a concert. The locals obviously appreciate the fact that the big Norwegian stars also give priority to the rural areas when they plan their concert tours.

The concert “Silent Night Holy Night”, was performed with the same concept and format as earlier and many of the people present also show up faithfully year after year. But this is what Christmas is like, we enjoy doing the same things over and over again. But even if the direction was the same and the surplus goes to the Strømme foundation this year as previous years, there were still a whole lot of new songs in the program which in sum made this yet another memorable and wonderful pre-Christmas  moment at the cathedral.

The famous artists emphasise their strong points. The popular Elisabeth “Bettan” Andreassen handles most genres, from quiet ballads to more catchy and jazzy material. Her interpretation of the gospel flavoured “Amen/This Little Light of Mine”, great backing vocals from the rest of the bunch, was one of the highlights during the concert. The audience couldn`t help getting carried away. Bettan also had a beautiful performance of a Swedish Christmas song that warmed our hearts.

Alexander Rybak showed off with his violin, and added a new dimension to the concert.

Marian Aas Hansen also has a lovely voice, and had amongst other things a quiet and beautiful and interpretation of “Oh Little Child of Bethlehem”. Aas Hansen has recently  released her own Christmas CD in Norwegian, which she performed excerpts of. In this album you’ll find for instance nice versions of “Det Lyser i Stille Grender” and “Himlen i Min Favn”. A warm and tranquil Christmas CD in the Silent Night spirit, that was for sale and many took the opportunity to buy it.

Alexander Rybak was a refreshing element to the ensemble. The charming joyful guy, who seemed to handle the church room equally well as the Eurovision stage in Moscow, is a magician with his violin. He had amongst other things a beautiful interpretation of The hymn “Mitt Hjerte Alltid Vanker” which went straight to the hearts of the audience. The highlight was however his musical performance of “Vi Tenner Våre Lykter” from “Skomakergata”. A firework of a performance with moods, variations and improvisations on a high level, where also his Belorussian heritage also was expressed. Brilliant, which led to thunderous and well deserved spontaneous applause!

Rune Larsen tied the whole thing together as usual in a safe and secure way, where he in a storytelling way with the Christmas gospel and short anecdotes mediated the Christmas gospel. He also had some vocal performances like “Ikke En Spurv til Jorden”, dedicated to those who experience sorrow and loss, more than Christmas joy these days.

Tor Endresen is also a popular and humorous artist with many fans, he also had many great performances. One of the highlights was a sweeping fresh and rhythmic Spanish version of “Feliz Navidad”, which was very catchy, and not to forget his powerful interpretation of “O Helga Natt” according to tradition ended the nice and warm moment with a standing ovation from a delighted audience.

We must not forget the two musicians, Øystein Lund Olafsen on piano and Olav Torget on guitar who took part in creating harmonious and beautiful moods with a safe and beautiful accompaniment.

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