On Saturday 29 October, Benny Andersson, together with fiddlers from Orsa Spelmän and BAO members Göran Arnberg (keyboard) and Pär Grebacken (clarinet), joined the acclaimed organist Gunnar Idenstam and nyckelharpa player Johan Hedin, for a one-off concert at the 11th century Nidarosdomen, in Trondheim, Norway.
The performance got underway at 8pm as Benny, playing accordion, led his fellow musicians in a processional up the candlelit aisle of the cathedral to take their place on ‘stage’ beneath the pipes of the magnificent Steinmeier organ.
Although the 2 hour event ran without an interval, it was split into three distinct sections:
The first five pieces performed were all Swedish folk tunes, including a beautiful and moving composition by ‘Perra’ Moraeus, Koppången and Benny’s Machopolska.
Benny and the fiddlers left the stage while Gunnar – who performed with Benny in Piteå back in 2012 – and Johan played a varied selection of traditional and self-penned pieces for organ and nyckelharpa accompanied by Göran Arnberg.
The final third of the evening was dedicated to some of Benny’s most famous choral music, Vilar glad. I din famn, Kärlekens tid, O klang och jubeltid, Anthem and En skrift i snön. All vocals, including solo sections, were sensitively performed by the Nidarosdomen choir.
To the surprise of the cathedral’s 1000 capacity congregation, the evening concluded with an un-programmed finale which was in marked contrast to the, until then, classical tone – a loud and rousing rendition of Dancing Queen.
The previously sedate audience erupted with whoops of delight and were instantly on their feet, singing, clapping and even dancing in the aisle. When the musicians eventually left the stage, they did so to a standing ovation.
Afterwards Benny told icethesite that he had enjoyed the occasion immensely. “It is always fun to try new things and wonderful to have the opportunity to work with such talented musicians as Gunnar and Johan again,” he said.
There are no plans to repeat the concert and no official recording was made.