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If you cannot travel to Norway, PBS brings Norway to you

If you cannot travel to Norway, PBS brings Norway to you
Travel to Norway

Today, May 17, is a big national holiday in Norway. One could say it’s similar to the fourth of July in the United States.

  1. Since we cannot go to Norway due to pandemic restrictions, PBS has brought Norway to us.
  2. TV series Atlantic Crossing dramatizes the years when Nazi Germany occupied Norway, and the royal family fled to England and the United States.
  3. Music in the series is beautiful with Norwegian-born Raymond Enoksen writing the score.

The 17th of May is a celebration of the Norwegian Constitution, which was signed in Eidsvoll on the 17th of May 1814. The Constitution declared Norway as an independent country. At the time, Norway was in a union with Sweden – following a 400-year union with Denmark. Unlike the United States, their national holiday does not coincide with the “birth” of Norway, as Norway had been a kingdom for almost 1,000 years prior to 1814. Harald I “Haarfagri” was the first King of Norway, crowned circa 872, and he is my direct blood ancestor. Over the past 1,149 years, Norway has been annexed by different countries, like Sweden, Denmark, and Nazi Germany.

Since we can’t go to Norway due to pandemic restrictions, PBS has brought Norway to us. The television series Atlantic Crossing dramatizes the years when Nazi Germany occupied Norway, and the royal family fled to England and the United States. The occupation during World War II began on April 9, 1940 and lasted five years. During this time, King Haakan VII and Crown Prince Olav lived with their cousin George VI, King of the United Kingdom. Princess Märtha of Sweden, consort to Crown Prince Olav of Norway, went to live in America, with Franklin D. Roosevelt, before finding her DC area home. 

I love listening to the characters in the PBS series. King Haakan VII speaks Danish in the show, Crown Prince Olav speaks an old-fashioned form of Norwegian, and Princess Märtha speaks about 70 percent Swedish, and 30 percent adaption of a Norwegian tone, with words typical for Norwegian as well.

The music in the series is beautiful. Norwegian-born Raymond Enoksen wrote the score for Atlantic Crossing.

He told me: “Coming from a musical family, I started early with singing and various instruments, but I fell in love with the piano and especially synthesizers at the age of 9, when I started my first formal training, after dabbling on my own since age 5. As soon as I learned to read music at the age of 9, I began to write it. I would bring my own compositions to my lessons. I won the young talent award in composition with the Trondheim Symphonic Orchestra in 2005 and composed for 20 award-winning projects. Atlantic Crossing was nominated for best Music at Cannes series in 2020. This score for Atlantic Crossing is far more emotional and thematic than the average Scandinavian style. My score for Thale (an official selection at the Toronto film festival in 2011) was more in the Scandinavian style. The score for Atlantic Crossing mixes the old school (American) thematic grand orchestral language with the more ambient use of vocal and piano Scandinavian style. I’m classically trained in European post-war contemporary style, and that is far away from the aesthetics I work with today.  The ‘should we stay or should we go’ dialog between Crown Prince Olav and the King was the most difficult scene to score because of all the small shifts and emotional nuances.”