Göteborgs Konserthus Salt – an oratorio in celebration of Gothenburg’s 400th anniversary

World premiere with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, conductor Joana Carneiro, Gothenburg Symphony Choir, Mari Eriksmoen soprano and Anders Larsson baritone.

Concert length: 2 h incl. intermission Scene: Stora salen
370-530 SEK Student 185-265 SEK

Albert Schnelzer is one of Sweden’s most acclaimed composers. To celebrate the city of Gothenburg’s 400th anniversary he has composed a large oratorio for orchestra, choir and soloists, and now it is finally time for the world premiere!

The theme of Schnelzer’s oratorio SALT is the sea, which can be full of promise and exciting, but also frightening. The soprano represents the sea, and the baritone soloist represents mankind and the migrant. All texts relate to the sea, and there are musical references to works such as Debussy’s La Mer (The Sea). The oratorio was commissioned by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the city of Gothenburg’s 400th anniversary in 2021.

During this concert, which is rich in contrast, we also hear John Adams’ Doctor Atomic Symphony, which is about the testing of the first atomic bomb, and Samuel Barber’s meditative Adagio.

The orchestra is led by the internationally acclaimed conductor Joana Carneiro.


Get to know the composer Albert Schnelzer.

Introduction to the concert

Take a seat in the Great Hall one hour before the concert begins and learn more about the music you will soon experience! You will get the stories behind the music, knowledge of the composers and own reflections about the classical pieces. The introduction last for about 30 minutes, it is free and free seating in the hall. Warm welcome!


Due to its spiritual and solemn qualities, Barber's Adagio has been played at memorial services such as the memorial service for Franklin Roosevelt in 1945 and the funeral of Princess Grace of Monaco in 1982, in addition to the composer's own burial. At the age of 28, Barber was appointed professor of composition at the Curtis Institute, where he himself had studied a few years earlier. By then he had already won the Pulitzer Prize two years in a row, and he would later receive it twice more. As a composer, he was perhaps best loved for his Adagio for Strings, originally the second movement of a string quartet in B minor from 1936. It was Arturo Toscanini who persuaded him to arrange this adagio, and the great conductor premiered the piece with his NBC Symphony in 1938, and then often included it on their program. STIG JACOBSSON

John Adams is one of the most appreciated American composers currently active. He became one of the foremost figures of minimalism, but his early, so strictly monothematic music has come to be replaced by a kind of postminimalism that is far more profound, refined and emotionally flexible. Here you can even find traces of turn-of-the-century romanticism and a disarming dash of humor. In his rich output you can find a wonderfully poignant violin concerto, the surprising clarinet concerto Gnarly Buttons and effective orchestral pieces such as The Chairman Dances and Short Ride in a fast Machine, and contemporary operas such as Nixon in China and The Death of Klinghoffer. From the music in the opera Doctor Atomic (2005), Adams compiled a half-hour long symphony after a couple of years, which has become a concentrate of the opera. It is about scientist Robert Oppenheimer's moral dilemmas and desperation when creating the first atomic bomb. Here, history mixes with politics, science and ethics in a way that can illuminate many other complex changes in society. The symphony is held in a sounding unity, but three parts can be distinguished, and parallels have been drawn with Sibelius's Seventh Symphony, which had a great influence on Adams' musical thinking, even if the tonal language is completely different. There is also influence here from both Purcell and Varèse. Those who know the opera can also recognize the different parts of the symphony, the panic that arose in the second act when an electrical storm hit the test area a few hours before the detonation, or General Leslie Groves symbolized by the alcohol-like trombones, or the ritual dances that the local indigenous people perform. Perhaps the most memorable part is the one that ends the symphony, a trumpet version of the opera's baritone interpretation of John Donne's (1572–1631) sonnet "Batter my heart, three person'd God". STIG JACOBSSON

Intermission 25 min

Albert Schelzer (b. 1972) Salt The work was commissioned for the celebration of Gothenburg's 400th anniversary and is an oratorio for choir, two soloists and orchestra. The opening chorus has the text "Salt, bittersalt" from Karin Boye's poem Havet. Musically, the introduction is an allusion to Debussy's La Mer (timpani and double bass on a lying low h against the slow pulse of the harp) and should be seen as a nod to the history of music and the collective memory of how the sea is portrayed in perhaps the most famous work about the great, deep and infinite.

Thursday 20 April 2023: The event ends at approx. 21.30
Saturday 22 April 2023: The event ends at approx. 17.00


The Gothenburg Symphony, called "one of the world's most formidable orchestras" by the Guardian, has toured the USA, Europe, Japan and the Far East and performed at major music centres and festivals throughout the world. Chief conductor is Santtu-Matias Rouvali who started his tenure in 2017. Barbara Hannigan and Christoph Eschenbach are principal guest conductors since 2019. Already at the orchestra's very first years, the great Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar was appointed principal conductor, contributing strongly to the Nordic profile of the orchestra by inviting his colleagues Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius to conduct their own works. Subsequent holders of the post include Sergiu Comissiona, Sixten Ehrling and Charles Dutoit. During Neeme Järvi's tenure (1982-2004), the orchestra became a major international force. In 1997 it was appointed the National Orchestra of Sweden. During his celebrated tenure as music director (2007-2012), Gustavo Dudamel took the Orchestra to major music centres and festivals in Europe, making acclaimed appearances at BBC Proms and Vienna Musikverein. The list of prominent guest conductors has included Wilhelm Furtwängler, Pierre Monteux, Herbert von Karajan, Myung-Whun Chung, Herbert Blomstedt and Sir Simon Rattle. The orchestra also runs extensive concert projects for children, and regularly releases digital live concerts free on gsoplay.se. The orchestra has been involved in many prestigious recording projects, the latest one the complete Sibelius Symphonies with Santtu-Matias Rouvali for Alpha Classics. Earlier, the orchestra has issued over 100 recordings on BIS, Deutsche Grammophon, Chandos, Farao Classics and several other labels. The Gothenburg Symphony is owned by the Region Västra Götaland.

Portuguese Joana Carneiro has been a dear guest of the Gothenburg Symphony for several years. She is principal guest conductor of the Real Filharmonia de Galicia and artistic director of the Estágio Gulbenkian para Orquestra. She is in demand for her focus on contemporary music both in concert halls and on the opera stage. In the 2021–2022 season, she conducted the opera The Handmaid's Tale at English National Opera and the world premiere of John Adams' oratorio The Gospel According to the Other Mary, directed by Peter Sellars. With Scottish Opera, she conducted Nixon in China and in Lisbon The Rake's Progress. Joana Carneiro was principal conductor of the Orquestra Sinfonica Portuguesa at the Teatro Sao Carlos in Lisbon from 2014 to January 2022. From 2009 to 2018, she was music director of the Berkeley Symphony, succeeding Kent Nagano as the third music director in the orchestra's 40-year history. She was also the official guest conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra from 2006 to 2018. Carneiro's highlights in recent and upcoming seasons include engagements with the BBC Symphony and Philharmonia in London, the BBC Scottish Symphony and Scottish Chamber, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Brussels Philharmonic, Castilla y Leon and La Venice in Europe. Carneiro was born in 1976 and was a finalist in the prestigious Maazel-Vilar conducting competition in 2002 in Carnegie Hall. From 2002 to 2005, she was assistant conductor of the L.A. Chamber Orchestra, and from 2005 to 2008 she was an American Symphony Orchestra League Conducting Fellow at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where she worked closely with the Esa-Pekka Salonen and conducted several performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl.

Norwegian soprano Mari Eriksmoen has established herself on major stages around Europe and collaborates with a number of different orchestras. Eriksmoen has distinguished herself as Mélisande in Pelléas and Mélisande, Pamina in Simon McBurney's acclaimed production of The Magic Flute, Susanna and Sophie in Die Rosenkavalier at Den Norske Opera and Waldvogel in Daniel Barenboim's epic Ring cycle at Teatro alla Scala. Last season she further expanded her repertoire as Gerda in Abrahamsen's Snow Queen in Amsterdam's Concertgebouw under Kent Nagano, as Cleopatra in Handel's Julius Caesar at the Festival international d'opéra baroque de Beaune under Ottavio Dantone, and as Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Harding. In the 2022-2023 season, Mari Eriksmoen sings Don Giovanni at the Kilden Performing Arts Center and Xerxes at the Opéra de Rouen, returns to the Bergen National Opera as Pamina and sings the title role in Monteverdi's Poppea's Coronation with Ensemble I Gemelli. Mari Eriksmoen completed her studies in Oslo, Paris and Copenhagen before starting her career in 2010 by making her debut as Zerbinetta in Ariadne on Naxos at the Theatern an der Wien, conducted by Bertrand de Billy. She later returned as Olympia in Hoffman's Adventures, Euridice in L'Orfeo and as Susanna, Zerlina and Fiordiligi in the Da Ponte Trilogy under the direction of the late Nikolaus Harnoncourt. On record, she appears in Schumann's Scenes from Goethe's Faust with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Harding (Naxos) and Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail with both the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin under René Jacobs (harmonia mundi) and the Glyndebourne Festival Opera under Robin Ticciati (Opus Arte DVD).

In recent seasons, Anders Larsson has appeared in Rigoletto at the Opera in Kristiansund, as well as at Opera Zuid in Maastricht. He has also been a guest at the Wermland Opera where he performed roles such as Falke in Läderlappen and the Count in Figaro's Marriage. He has also performed the role of Wotan in the critically acclaimed Rhenguldet at Dalhalla, as well as numerous other appearances in Wagner operas. He has appeared on stages such as the Royal Opera in Stockholm, Gothenburg Opera, Malmö Opera, The Royal Opera in Copenhagen, Glyndebourne Opera, La Monnaie in Brussels, Oper Frankfurt, Staatsoper Berlin, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona and Teatro Real in Madrid. On the concert stage, Anders Larsson has appeared in Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Royal Philharmonic and the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra and Mahler's Frühe Lieder with the Gothenburg Symphony under the direction of Carlo Rizzi. His performances with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra have included Adam in The Creation conducted by Manfred Honeck and Josef in Berlioz's L'Enfance du Christ with Charles Dutoit. He premiered the title role in His name was Orestes by Daniel Börtz with the Swedish Royal Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert and has sung Donner in Rhenguldet concertante with the Gothenburg Symphony and Kent Nagano. He has also sung Bach's Christmas Oratorio with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, as well as Mahler's Symphony No. 8 and Allan Pettersson's Barefoot Songs with the Swedish Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Sakari Oramo. Anders Larsson is educated at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm. Among the scholarships he received are the Musical Academy's Christine Nilsson scholarship and Birgit Nilsson's scholarship. On cd, Anders Larsson can be heard in Förklädd Gud (Naxos) and Allan Pettersson Barfotasånger (BIS/Naxos).

The choir was founded in 1917 by cousins Elsa and Wilhelm Stenhammar. Elsa Stenhammar was one of the driving forces in turn-of-the-century choir life in Gothenburg and became the choir's first rehearser. On December 8, 1917, the choir debuted in Beethoven's Choir Fantasy with Wilhelm Stenhammar as soloist at the grand piano. As the country's oldest symphonic choir, they were able to celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2017 with a big celebratory concert where Mozart and Brahms as well as Stenhammar, Elfrida Andrée and Björn & Benny were on the program. The Gothenburg Symphony Choir is a non-profit association that is linked to the Gothenburg Symphony. The choir participates in concerts and performances under both the orchestra's and its own auspices. The music is mixed and the repertoire extensive. The Gothenburg Symphony Choir has participated in concerts in, among other places, the Royal Albert Hall and Canterbury Cathedral in England, as well as participated with the Gothenburg Symphony in the annual music festival in the Canary Islands and on a tour to China.

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Nr 4 2022-2023 Tonsättarporträtt: Samuel Barber

Lär känna tonsättaren Samuel Barber (1910-1981).

Nr 4 2022-2023 Hallå där,

Albert Schnelzer, tonsättare