Arts Blog

Winter Songs by Ola Gjeilo

One of the highlights in our recent, four-day Festival of Carols, was this new recording by Norwegian-born composer, Ola Gjeilo (YAY-lo). Mr. Gjeilo’s inspiration is varied, going back to his youth: classical, jazz, film music, and also non-musical inspiration, such as architecture. “Winter Songs” is to some extent a “Christmas” album, but not exclusively. To me, it is really more a meditation on the season of winter, and how it is a period of rest and transition between Autumn and Spring. A quieter time, and more contemplative, and with unique beauty. The crisp air, and the occasional surprise of snow can be felt in Gjeilo’s music here. Some pieces are inspired by women poets such as Christina Rossetti, Emily Brontë, and Hildegard Von Bingen. Gjeilo creates a journey through a wintery landscape with traditional carols, original choral works (sung by the Choir of Royal Holloway), and pieces for piano and strings (played by the composer and 12 Ensemble). Many of our listeners responded so favorably to the inclusion of “Winter Songs” in the Festival, and I’m sure they’ll delight in hearing them more as we journey through the season of winter. Ola shares more in my conversation, posted on this page.

Winter SongsOla Gjeilo
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