Almost 80 years ago to the day, Swedish Radio aired the premiere of Lars-Erik Larsson’s A God Disguised, as war ravaged the world. Today humanity faces a new crisis, but just as it did then, Lars-Erik Larsson’s music and Hjalmar Gullberg’s lyrics remind us of the divine capacity in each one of us.

The concert was broadcasted on April 4 at 8:00 pm UTC+2 in Swedish Radio P2 and SVT2.
See the concert here.

After Johann Sebastian Bach fell out with his employer, the duke of Weimar, to such an extent that he served time in prison, he moved to Köthen where he was hired by Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Köthen. The prince, being a musician himself, appreciated Bach’s talents, paid him well and gave him ample latitude in composing. Among his compositions from this period are instrumental suites, sonatas and partitas for violin and probably also the Brandenburg Concertos.

The concerto for two violins in D minor was likely also written in this period, even though the surviving performance materials are dated around 1730. The first and last of the concerto’s three movements are thrillingly contrapuntal: The first brings to mind a fugue with elegant imitations in the solo parts, and in the last, the two soloists chase each other in elaborate moves. Between them lies a dreamlike, tranquil sicilienne that has been described as “the best eight minutes of music ever”. Here, the two soloists are renowned violinist Janine Jansen and rising star Johan Dalene, both of whom will return to Berwaldhallen next season.

Janine Jansen also performs a masterpiece of the violin repertoire: the Adagio from Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor. Jansen has previously recorded the concerto and performed it numerous times in concert. The second movement is known for its warm, vocal melody underscored by a gently moving orchestral accompaniment.

Malin Byström is one of today’s most acclaimed opera singers. Her first performance as Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello was at the Royal Swedish Opera in 2015 when she was lauded for giving the role “more of a temperament than is usually offered” and making it “anything but a timid little Venetian girl”. Here, Byström performs two part from the final act: the melancholic Willow Song, which Desdemona tells Emilia – sung by Ingrid Tobiasson – that her mother used to sing, and the prayer Ave Maria.

David Wikander’s Kung Liljekonvalje, King Lily of the Valley, has been a constant of Swedish choral repertoire since the 1920s, mostly the later version for mixed choir even though the one for male chorus was the first. The melancholic poem by Gustaf Fröding published in the late 19th century is set to a combination of inviting melodies, a rich vocal arrangement and colourful harmonies.

Hjalmar Gullberg’s A God Disguised, the text that Lars-Erik Larsson composed for the Swedish Radio, with the radio listeners in mind, comes from the 1933 book Love in the Twentieth Century. The composition took time, however: “I didn’t dare work on routine; my respect and admiration for this poetic work was too great”, Larsson said in an interview in 1985. Finally, when it seemed like fellow composer Hilding Rosenberg would get the job instead, the ideas came. “It may have been a mistake, since Gullberg and Rosenberg were also working together, but it might have given me a nudge.”

On April 1st 1940, Swedish Radio broadcast the premiere of A God Disguised, conducted by Lars-Erik Larsson himself. In the years since, it has become one of our most popular classical works, performed especially often by youth and school choirs; in fact, Larsson imagined a “youthful, enthusing choral sound” for this life-affirming work. Soloists in this concert are soprano Hanna Husáhr and baritone Jakob Högström and the work is narrated in Swedish by famed actress Stina Ekblad. Högström and Ekblad also both took part when A God Disguised was performed in 2008 for Lars-Erik Larsson’s centenary.

In times like these, it is particularly important not to lose each other in anxiety and fear, long distances and even longer times between meetings. A simple call can make a big difference. Music, poetry and other arts can offer distraction, perspective and consolation. And Hjalmar Gullberg’s words, translated here by Scottish composer John Michael Hearne, are seldom more telling:

When comes a heaven-sent healing for souls in deep distress
And when, free from all reckoning, a hand will bless:
Then comes a light to spread such joy to a soul surprised –
That seated by our side was a god disguised.

David Saulesco



dot 2019/2020





The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra is a multiple-award-winning ensemble renowned for its high artistic standard and stylistic breadth, as well as collaborations with the world’s finest composers, conductors, and soloists. It regularly tours all over Europe and the world and has an extensive and acclaimed recording catalogue.

Daniel Harding has been Music Director of the SRSO since 2007, and since 2019 also its Artistic Director. His tenure will last throughout the 2024/2025 season. Two of the orchestra’s former chief conductors, Herbert Blomstedt and Esa-Pekka Salonen, have since been named Conductors Laureate, and continue to perform regularly with the orchestra.

The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra performs at Berwaldhallen, concert hall of the Swedish Radio, and is a cornerstone of Swedish public service broadcasting. Its concerts are heard weekly on the Swedish classical radio P2 and regularly on national public television SVT. Several concerts are also streamed on-demand on Berwaldhallen Play and broadcast globally through the EBU.


32 professional choristers make up the Swedish Radio Choir: a unique, dynamic instrument hailed by music-lovers and critics all over the world. The Swedish Radio Choir performs at Berwaldhallen, concert hall of the Swedish Radio, as well as on tours all over the country and the world. Also, they are heard regularly by millions of listeners on Swedish Radio P2, Berwaldhallen Play and globally through the EBU.

The award-winning Latvian conductor Kaspars Putniņš was appointed Chief Conductor of the Swedish Radio Choir in 2020. Since January 2019, its choirmaster is French orchestral and choral conductor Marc Korovitch, with responsibility for the choir’s vocal development.

The Swedish Radio Choir was founded in 1925, the same year as Sweden’s inaugural radio broadcasts, and gave its first concert in May that year. Multiple acclaimed and award-winning albums can be found in the choir’s record catalogue. Late 2023 saw the release of Kaspars Putniņš first album with the choir: Robert Schumann’s Missa sacra, recorded with organist Johan Hammarström.

Tobias Ringborg is equally appreciated in opera houses and concert halls – as a conductor, soloist and chamber musician. Winning the prestigious Swedish Soloist Prize in 1994 launched his career – the same year, he graduated with diploma from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, afterwards continuing his studies at the Juilliard School in New York City.

As a violinist, he has performed with all the major Swedish symphony and chamber orchestras and has worked with conductors including Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Neeme Järvi, Okko Kamu, Sakari Oramo and Daniel Harding. His international merits include performances with orchestras all over Europe and the United States, and first prize in Concours International de Musique de Chimay in Belgium.

Ringborg started his conducting career when he won an international conducting competition in Helsinki in 2000, and has since appeared with most Scandinavian orchestras, often in dual roles as both conductor and solo violinist. He has a life-long passion for opera, debuting as opera conductor at Folkoperan in Stockholm in 2001, appearing later that same year at the Royal Swedish Opera, being hired by the Malmö Opera the following year.

He is a potent ambassador for Swedish music, having recorded numerous albums with chamber music and violin concertos by primarily Swedish composers. He plays on a Gagliano generously loaned by the Järnåker Foundation. Tobias Ringborg has received the Herbert Blomstedt Conductor’s Award and is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

22-year-old Swedish-Norwegian violinist Johan Dalene is already making an impact on the international scene, performing with leading orchestras and in celebrated recital halls both at home and abroad. His ability to “make his Stradivarius sing like a master” (Le Monde), coupled with his refreshingly honest musicality and engagement with musicians and audiences alike, has won him countless admirers. This talent was heralded most recently as winner of the Norwegian Soloist Prize and First Prize at the prestigious 2019 Carl Nielsen Competition.

Dalene was recently selected as a European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO) Rising Star, and during the 2021-22 season, performed recitals in some of Europe’s most prestigious concert halls, while also engaging in Education, Learning and Participation work with diverse communities in cities across the ECHO network. Johan was also a BBC New Generation Artist from 2019-22 during which time he performed recitals, chamber music and concerti with the BBC orchestras, all broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Dalene began playing the violin at the age of four and made his professional concerto debut three years later. In Summer 2016, he was student-in-residence at Switzerland’s Verbier Festival (where he made his performance debut in 2021) and in 2018 was accepted on to the Norwegian Crescendo programme, where he worked closely with mentors Janine Jansen, Leif Ove Andsnes and Gidon Kremer. Andsnes subsequently invited Johan to play at the Rosendal Chamber Music Festival and they performed together again in May 2019 at the Bergen International Festival.  In 2019 he joined Janine Jansen and other members of the Crescendo Programme for a performance at the Wigmore Hall in London, and at the International Chamber Music Festival in Utrecht. In April 2020, during lockdown in Sweden, Johan performed Bach’s Concerto for 2 Violins with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, alongside Janine Jansen. During the 2020/21 season, he was Artist in Residence with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, performing concerti, recitals, and chamber music together with members of the orchestra.

Dalene studies with Per Enoksson, Professor at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, as well as with Janine Jansen, and has also participated in masterclasses with a number of distinguished teachers, including Dora Schwarzberg, Pamela Frank, Gerhard Schulz, and Henning Kraggerud. He has been awarded various scholarships and prizes, notably from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, The Anders Wall Giresta Scholarship, Queen Ingrid’s Honorary Scholarship, The Håkan Mogren Foundation Prize, Equinor Classical Music Award, Sixten Gemzéus Stora Musikstipendium, The G.T. Bäckmans Kulturstipendium, Norrköping Kommuns Kulturstipendium and Rolf Wirténs Kulturpris.

Johan Dalene plays a Stradivarius violin from 1736, generously on loan from the Anders Sveaas’ Charitable Foundation.