Norwegian Hymns

Norwegian Hymns
Kirsten Flagstad
Catalogue No.

Between 1958 and 1960, Flagstad served as general manager of the Norwegian National Opera which had been newly established the year before. From her home in Kristiansand, she travelled to many Norwegian churches and sang small concerts there.

These concerts were the result of radio broadcasts and recordings of Norwegian hymns – or, more accurately (in some cases, anyway), hymns sung in the Norwegian language – that were made over the course of three days in September 1956. Producer Torstein Gunnarson asked Flagstad if she would be interested in recording a set of hymns for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation and she readily agreed. The venue was the Ris Kirke, a church near Oslo and her only accompaniment was the church’s organ, played by Sigvart Fotland.

Flagstad had studied the hymns in the summer months of that year in her home near Kristiansand. ‘When it became known that Flagstad was singing hymns,’ wrote Gunnarson, ‘she received requests from many parts of Norway from people who wanted to hear her in church concerts. So, her hymn-singing in Ris Kirke was the beginning of many charity concerts all over the country.’

Fourteen of these were issued on a Decca LP in 1962 but the remaining 21 have remained unpublished – until now, that is, for the tapes were located by Decca archivist Jayne Byrne, resulting in more than a CD’s worth of Flagstad premiereswhich now finds a home on Decca Eloquence’s Flagstad edition.


In glory of the heavens
Lord, hallowed be thy name
Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God Almighty
Love wells from God
Praise to the Lord
Care for me, O God of grace
Lead, kindly light
God bless our Motherland
Fairest Lord Jesus
God shall all things provide
Now thank we all our God
Deep, still, strong, gentle
A mighty fortress is our God
Easter morning, joyous dawning
The pure and mighty flock
The blessed day we now can see
An everyday Christian I wish to be
The church ’tis an ancient house
Oh Lord, thou art so great and strong
I see thee, o Lamb of God
Nobody gaineth eternal peace
I raise up my song to the Lord
The love of God
Sleepers awake!
In God alone
Jesus, thy union sweet
Go boldly forth as you go
Arisen from on high
My Soul, my soul, praise the Lord
Imbued with grace abundant
This alone is needed
Peace as penance for bitter loss
Jesus, thy wounds so deep
Into grief this world sinks
My heart will always wander

Kirsten Flagstad, soprano
Sigvart Fotland, organ


‘The voice we hear on the disc singing these fourteen hymns with such noble simplicity and sincerity is that of Flagstad in 1956 and the recording was made for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation in the Ris Kirke, just outside Oslo. Sigvart Fotland, the NBC’s resident accompanist precedes seven of the hymns with very brief preludes by himself and others, and varies his registrations in accordance with the character of the hymn he is accompanying. The balance between voice and organ is excellent and those many who care for hymns will find this disc very appealing’ Gramphone