Another Christmas in Norway. 2011 is also a year of big changes for me. I’ve moved and taken a new job in western Norway. My new position is in Os, just about 20 miles south of Bergen, Norway’s second largest city. Bergen is also known as the cultural capitol of Norway (Edvard Grieg lived here). I look forward to hearing more concerts and taking advantage of the cultural riches in Bergen. (Finally I’ve discovered that there is civilization and culture in Norway).
Being so close to Bergen, Os is fairly large, about 20,000 inhabitants. There are just 2 churches in Os. The main church is a wooden structure built in 1870. The seating capacity is about 500. The other church, Nore Neset is fairly new (built in 2000). The organ in Nore Neset is a fine small 2-manual instrument. The organ in Os Church is from the 1950’s, not the best period in Norwegian organ building. Os has great natural beauty and is fairly close to the renowned Hardanger Fjord.
A few weeks ago I played for a funeral in Os Church. A violinist also played. As in most churches in Norway the organ is in the rear gallery. The violinist has acrophobia (fear of heights). The only solution was that he played from the front and I accompanied on the organ from the back. Fortunately the music was slow so there were no ensemble problems.
The weather in western Norway is similar to England’s weather – mostly overcast with occasional bright intervals. No snow yet as of the 1st of December, just a couple light frosts. To put a positive spin on it you could say the weather is stable here, more so than the changeable patterns up north. As we approach the winter solstice the days are short, but fortunately not as short as they are in northern Norway. On December 11th the sun rises at 9:35 am and sets at 3:30 pm. The coming days will be slightly shorter. On the shortest day, December 21st, the sun rises at 9:45 am and sets at 3:30 pm. I really don’t like going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. But that’s life in Norway -- a country of extremes.
I look forward to this new adventure. Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.