"A new elite Swedish choir of the
hightest class was born last night". So said Swedish newspapers on November 10
1975. Professor Dan-Olof Stenlund's newly-formed "Malmö Chamber Choir" had
given its first public performance, and the reception was deafening. "You can
be sure that this choir will make itself heard in very wide circles",
prphesied one spellbound music reporter.
The favourable reviews gave the choir a flying start, and Malmö Chamber Choir started
a busy schedule, alternating concert tours and TV appearances with radio and recording
dates. Malmö Chamber Choir can today look back on an intensive 25 year period of tours in
Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, England, Israel and the
Some of the members have been with the choir since the start in 1975, as has Dan-Olof
Stenlund himself, but the majority go on towards new goals after a fw intensive years of
development with the choir.
Half of the choir members have been trained at the colleges of music in Malmö or
Copenhagen, and after a few years with the choir many have attained success as soloists or
The music springs from the text
But the light of individual achievments falls short in comparison with the accomplished
light source that the choir is transformed into. It becomes a precision instrument that
can produce the musical shades and subtleties that Professor Stenlund wants. They have had
monumental successes, and can lead the uninitiated to believe that great music can be
compared to a demonstration of physical strength. Dan-Olof Stenlund's recipe for success
points in the opposite direction hwever:
"The strength lies in the ability to live the part" he whispers. "And
to grasp the feeling of a tone-poem you must start by giving yourself to the text. The
text is all-important. A choral song is the result of a text which has inspired a composer
to write a musical interpretation. Every study must therefore begin with reading the text
aloud to oneself, over and over again."
He made clear during a public rehearsal that he follows his own teachings. Before setting
the pitch for the choir he reminded them of his tenet:
"Consider carefully what the text wishes to convey. Create a picture of it in
your mind. Then enter that picture and become one with it. Onlyu then are you ready to
meet the music."