O Helga Natt – Jussi Björling

Although I’m now officially on holiday I’m struggling a bit to get into the festive spirit this year, but this should help. Here’s a Christmas song that even Ebenezer Scrooge himself would find hard to resist. On December  20th 1954 the great Swedish tenor Jussi Björling did a benefit recital in the Södersjukhuset, Stockholm’s largest hospital; the performance was also broadcast on the radio. Because wasn’t recorded in a proper studio the acoustic isn’t great, but I love the intimacy of the setting with just a piano accompaniment. Here is an excerpt from that concert, the old carol “O Holy Night” sung in Swedish.

Update: I stupidly put the wrong link in earlier, now fixed.

5 Responses to “O Helga Natt – Jussi Björling”

  1. Phillip Helbig Says:

    Looks like YouTube has written his surname in Danish or Norwegian instead of Swedish (pronounced the same as Björling, though).

    From a YouTube comment: I read that someone asked Pavarotti something like “Would you compare yourself to Jussi Bjorling?” and he answers “Please, I’m only human”.

    • telescoper Says:

      I understand also that Jussi is actually a Finnish name. It’s a nickname anyway – his real name was Johan Jonatan Björling.

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      Have a listen to Giuseppe di Stefano upon whom Pavarotti modelled himself.

      • telescoper Says:

        Di Stefano was a very different singer, but he had a wonderful voice and was a great foil for Maria Callas in many classic performances.

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    This became popular in the English speaking world after the Three Tenors did it. I was in a church once just before Christmas where it was called, and chaos broke out when the congregation wrongly assumed that they were meant to go up the extra octave as at 4.18.

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