Composers / Arne Nordheim / Places catalog
Nidaros Cathedral is the biggest mediaeval church in the North and the seat of the first bishop of Norway. It was built at a spot where, after the Battle of Stiklestad, the body of King Olav (later canonised) was buried. The Norwegian constitution of 1814 included a clause stipulating that Nidaros was to be the coronation church in Norway. It saw the coronations of Karl III Johan, Karl IV, Oscar II and Haakon VII, as well as Queen Maud. In 1908, the parliament abolished the coronation clause, but King Olav V and King Harald with Queen Sonja received a blessing in the Cathedral. So the Cathedral represents the political and cultural history of Norway. In many of his works, Nordheim used the Norwegian Gregorian sequence Lux illuxit, sung on the Feast of St Olav (29 July) to commemorate the king's death. He also used it in 1997 when, asked to compose a piece of music for the millennium of Trondheim, he wrote his oratorio Nidaros to words by Paal-Helge Haugen. The oratorio discusses important existential issues, such as the relationship between God and people, and it also serves as a kind of summary of Nordheim's compositional work.
Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim. Phot. Daderot. (creative commons)
Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim. Phot. Erik A. Drabløs. (creative commons)