St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ
Taken from the forests around Oslo, the magnificent tree has been presented to London by the people of Norway every year since 1947, as a token of friendship and thanks for Britain’s support during World War II. And it’s not the only one – there are other Norwegian tree-lighting ceremonies across the UK.
To mark the installation of the tree, the Norwegian Embassy and Statoil have, since 1996, held an annual concert in Trafalgar Square’s iconic church, St Martin-in-the-Fields. For this year’s event, some of Norway’s most talented artists have been selected to lead the concert.
Kicking off the evening is jazzy Dag Arnesen Trio, consisting of Dag Arnesen (naturally) on piano, Magne Tormodseter on bass and Ivar Tormodseter on drums. The trio draws on the atmospherics of classical chamber music, the fluidity of jazz and the resonance of traditional Norwegian folk to create their own mesmerising musical world, giving new, jazzed-up life to the works of composers such as Edvard Greig.
They’ll be followed by a star turn from the The Trondheim Soloists returning to the English capital after their superb performance in 2012. This time around they are bringing the sublime Norwegian soprano Ann Helen Moen to perform a suitably celebratory programme for Christmas, including Handel Arias. Born in Molde and an alumna of the Grieg Academy in Bergen and Copenhagen‘s Opera Academy, Moen has garnered a host of awards for her remarkable vocals, including taking home a prize in the Belvedere Competition in Vienna and Norway’s most prestigious singing accolade, the Esso Award.
Accompanying her on strings, the Trondheim Soloists have a history of collaborating with the highest-calibre artists across a range of genres, and have released more than 20 albums since their formation in 1988. Today, they are recognised as the most innovative chamber ensemble in Norway.
Note: Before the evening’s main event, there will be a free lunchtime concert at the church featuring both The Dag Arnesen Trio and the Trondheim Soloists. From 1pm and over the next 45 minutes you will hear the festive tones of Handel’s Messiah, Adolphe Adam’s O Helga Natt and Verdi’s Ave Maria.