The Swedish tradition of singing in mixed choirs, which goes back to the middle of the nineteenth century, has grown during later generations into a popular movement of great importance. According to statistics, one tenth of the nine million inhabitants of Sweden sing in a choir, and Swedish choirs have a strong position in international music life, as do those from the other Nordic countries. Most of the pieces on this disc date from the second half of the twentieth century, a time when contemporary compositional techniques made their way into the domestic choral tradition.
Knut Håkanson belonged to a numerous generation of Swedish composers who experienced the musical innovations of Richard Strauss, Debussy and others, and often tried to fuse features from their music into a nationally-minded musical style. Håkanson was known for trying to synthesize Bach-influenced counterpoint with Swedish folk music. His three choral pieces to poems by the very popular Erik Axel Karlfeldt (a Nobel Prize winner in 1931) were composed in 1929, a few months before the composer’s premature death. He considered the song ‘Brusala’ to be his most valuable composition.