Jubilee Oratorio 2023

A newly written jubilee oratorio in Lund Cathedral

The year 2023 is an anniversary year for Lund Cathedral as the oldest altar was consecrated on 30 June 1123, exactly 900 years ago. This anniversary will be celebrated throughout the year in various projects and events. As part of the celebrations, a new oratorio by composer Stefan Klaverdal is being created. An oratorio is a large musical work for orchestra, choir and soloists with a narrative text taken from the Bible. The oratorio “Vid porten” (“At the gate”) is unique in several ways. The church choirs and musicians are co-creators together with the composer Stefan, inspiration is drawn from old musical works from the Cathedral and the bells in the church towers are part of the oratorio. In addition, the entire unique process is documented in order to inspire others.  The anniversary oratorio is funded by Signatur Foundation Sweden.

Choirs as co-creators of the work

The first unique aspect of the oratorio is how the work is created. Stefan develops the music in workshops together with the cathedral choirs. The pieces take their starting point from several different historical musical oeuvres written in honour of the cathedral, combined with modern music. The aim here is to make the choir members more aware of their education in singing and music and to ask basic questions such as: What is music really? Can anything be music? In parallel with this process, other choirs have been invited to do the same workshops with music students. There are many synergies, and it is interesting to see how the collaboration affects the original ideas. It is a complex process and the exchange of knowledge is great.

The Cathedral clock and carillon interact in the oratorio

The Jubilee Oratorio is planned to be a large work for three choirs, orchestra, organ, electronics and soloist. But another unique aspect of this work is the involvement of the cathedral’s carillon in the church towers. The melody is created by using the curvature (shape) of the church roof as a template for the melody. The chimes of the carillon is then heard in the oratorio, creating a sense of recognition for the local inhabitants in Lund.

What will the cathedral’s music be like in 900 years?

The theme of the new jubilee oratorio naturally revolves around the cathedral and its essence, but on a deeper level the music is about the people who have moved in and around the church during 900 years. The questions that the project group has worked with are many: How have people been affected by the church over the centuries? How are we affected by the church and its music today, and what will this relationship look like in another 900 years? What values will exist then? What role will the church, music and faith play then?

Music has carried culture through time

“Lund Cathedral is a landmark. On a deeper level, it is also a symbol for different phases of life, for spiritual deepening and, not least, for a connection to time, both past, present and future”, says Lena Sjöstrand, cathedral chaplain. “Celebrating the cathedral’s 900th anniversary is therefore not only a celebration of the past, but also a way of manifesting a belief that this building will continue to be of central importance to Lund in the future. Music has been a carrier of culture and people through time, which is why it is so gratifying to have a new anniversary oratorio that can live on for a long time and also be a memory of our time right now, as we celebrate 900 years,” says Lena.

The process is documented

In addition to the process with the choirs and carillons, this entire unique process will be documented through film, photo and written texts.

“We are working to make the oratorio a fantastic gift for the cathedral’s anniversary” says composer Stefan Klaverdal. “But we also hope for various synergy effects. One is the learning process that musicians and choir members are involved in. We hope to help them so that they are able to think creatively in the on-going educational process. Then, of course, we hope that through the documentation we make, the process can be made available to others who want to try this way of creating music,” concludes Stefan.

Premiere on giant Finn’s name day in October

The cathedral has always had a very active musical life. One of the recurring elements today is Lund’s annual international choir festival, the Lund Choral Festival. The final work will be performed as part of the festival in October 2023. The Jubilee Oratorio will have its premiere on the cathedral’s giant Finn’s name day on 16 October in Lund Cathedral.