Hymns on slow TV

Salmeboken minutt for minutt

Slow television has become very popular in Norway. We have had programs about ships sailing for days, trains crossing the country, women knitting. Last weekend it was time for The Hymn Book Slow TV event.  A new national hymnal is produced and 200 different choirs singing each of the 899 hymns in the new Norwegian hymnal, was shown directly on Norwegian TV for 60 hours. You can listen on this link.

Salmeboken minutt for minutt

Norway is not a very religious country. It has in fact been a political pressure the last decades to make the country more secular, and religion is more or less gone from the constitution, from the education, from the media. So in the beginning there was quite little media coverage of this event. But the program attracted 2.2 million spectators, and that is a lot in a country with 5 million people. And when foreign press started to show interest, so did the national, eventually.

Salmeboken minutt for minutt

Most of my friends are secular, if not atheists (I believe, personal beliefs of this kind is not usually talked about). I think many of them realised it is not dangerous to listen to hymns once in a while. Personally I see hymns as part of our culture, and a beautiful one as such. It seems a lot of people discovered the same last weekend, because suddenly bookstores all over the country are sold out for the new hymnal. I made a short video from my visit to the church where most of the hymns were performed. Some more photos on this link.

 

Salmeboken minutt for minutt

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36 thoughts on “Hymns on slow TV

  1. Singing is fun and for me it’s okay to sing Christian hymns even though I am not Christian. That depends solely on the music, if I like it or not. I like classical music. O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden for example (O huvud, blodigt, sårat, sorry no idea what’s it called in norsk) was one of my favourite songs since I was a teenager. And it has rather sanguineous lyrics. I’m singing in a local choir. The French are very Catholic, but only on the countryside. The choir is in a small city and they seem to have some problems to sing a Catholic mass (we sing Messe Breve of Leo Delibes atm). They think it’s too serious, not cheerful and jazzy enough. Culture isn’t always jazzy and cheerful. But well.. I suffered from more or less depressions my whole life, no wonder I like “O huvud, blodigt, sårat”. 😉

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    1. I need to check that hymn. I certainly understand the meaning of “O huvud, blodigt, sårat”, but I don’t know this one. I don’t sing in any choir, I am a happy listener. I didn’t know unntil a couple of days ago. Thank you Stanze.

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  2. What a nice idea, again. The hymns are so heartwarming.
    I like the Slow TV in Norway. I followed a little bit the Hurtigruten in 2011. And I still have the website with the broadcasting bookmarked. It’s amazing and brings back some good memories as I travelled with Hurtigruten once. Ha en kjempefin ettermiddag. 🙂

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  3. A number of years ago chants by monks were fairly popular (Enigma incorporated them into some of their albums).

    One of my favorite vocals (though not hymns) are those as background for music in Vangelis “Heaven and Hell”. I first heard it on the original Cosmos TV show.

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  4. I love slow in this hectic world; slow tv, slow food, slow and intense living…
    The picture with the tree full of lights and the church in the background, together with the hymnes… the ultimate christmas feeling!

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  5. Lovely scenes, Bente. I’m not religious in the formal church-going sense, but agree that hymns at Christmas are really enjoyable. Your churches are beautiful too. There’s nothing like snow and Christmas lights to make the season come alive.

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  6. I was raised as a Methodist and became a Lutheran. Both of those traditions have wonderful hymns. I especially enjoy those I remember my grandmother singing, and those we learned as children. The Wesley brothers, especially, were very forward thinking, and included much about the natural world in their hymns.

    A friend and I were intrigued by the “slow blogging” movement some years ago. We both agreed that posting less frequently is good for us — once a week for me. Then came “slow food,” but I hadn’t heard of slow tv. It seems like a terrific extension of the “slows” movement. I wish my mother still were here. She would watch plenty of slow knitting on tv!

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  7. What a wonderful tradition! I, too, am a wholly secular being, but drawn no lines when it comes to beautiful music. Think of Bach’s oratorios! So much lovely singing and playing here, too. Thanks so much for this.

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  8. Very heartwarming! Beautiful pictures, and the video brought tears to my eyes as I felt the connection to my childhood and my family. I also love the idea of slow tv. I live in a culture that only seems to be interested in faster-faster and everything new. Sometimes it’s good to slow down and look back to our roots and traditions. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. As someone interested in Slow Travel I am intrigued by the notion of Slow Television, which seems very Norwegian in approach. I see no conflict in both being agnostic and enjoying Christian hymns (or Sufi music for that matter).

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  10. I didn’t know the “slow” movement had reached television as well. If TV must exist, then bravo for Slow TV!

    Here in the U.S. religion remains a powerful force in social life (or at least that’s what people tell pollsters), but a national church such as you have in Norway is forbidden by our constitution and has been from the founding of the country. No state funding of religion is permitted, so we could have neither a national church or a national hymnal.

    How interesting that this event was so popular. I think we’re seeing more people wanting to connect with and recover beautiful things of the past.

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  11. Singing together is something so beautiful and as non religious as I am I will always get goosebumps when I hear Gregorian chants or a good wassailing. They represent, to me, the passions of the seasons. Slow is always good!

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  12. Looks beautiful. I second your sentiments Bente. I am not religious either, but I think traditions and rituals are important and should not be allowed to die down in the name of secularism.

    PS: Love the new look 🙂

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  13. Slow tv must be a norwegian phenomena, I have not experienced anything similar here in Canada. And it is not that easy trying to explain that watching ‘Hurtigruta minutt for minutt’ is a great tv show:) Love you pictures from Trondheim – it is a beautiful city.

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  14. I’ve never understood what makes people watch a TV show of the train driving from Oslo to Bergen… Why not take the train instead?
    Slow TV is not my bag.
    I’m a Norwegian, but I find Norwegians to be weird. For example on the bus or the subway in the morning, there’s a bunch of people and no one is talking to eachother! They’ve turned a social thing into something quiet and personal.
    Then, if you take the bus/subway on Friday/Saturday night, they’ve had some drinks and everyone’s talking…

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