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The 2016 Festival Theme: Mammon

Sunday 14. February, kl 09:59

Mammon is a biblical concept which is associated with wealth, greed, gluttony, desire – and power!

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus preached that you cannot serve both God and Mammon. Mammon is a theme which stimulates reflection. How are we affected, for better or for worse, by living in one of the richest countries in the world, asks Petter Myhr, director of St. Olav Festival?

The forces of Mammon can be seen in full swing in television series such as the Norwegian Broadcasting System’s Mammon as well as in daily news bulletins.

The specific reason for choosing Mammon as a festival theme this year is that The Norwegian Bank (Norges Bank) was established in Trondheim exactly 200 years ago in 1816, only two years after the Norwegian constitution was adopted. A budding nation, needs a bank! In addition to this, the Norwegian Bible Society was founded the same year. So the evolving democracy was built on sound financial and spiritual foundations. Of course, Mammon is a theme which is relevant for several other reasons than those anniversaries. It provides Norwegians with a good opportunity to appraise our present fortuitous affluence. How does being so rich influence us in positive or negative directions?

This concerns us all. The refugee crisis is the worst since the Second World War. We are unable to envision that Europe will change because of what is now happening, and this is also strongly related to Mammon. We have chosen to focus on this theme not to give people a bad concience, but rather because we want to explore the opportunities and challenges which it presents, says Myhr, and continues:

How can we live decent lives in the richest country in the world? What exactly is wealth? And what really matters – for you? We want to inspire.

The festival theme is explored in commissioned works, including Kim André Arnesen’s The Wound in the Water Kim André Arnesens bestillingsverk, an hour long choral symphony for choir, strings, soprano soloist and harp, which is the opening concert of the festival.

Mammon is a of symbol for the pursuit of money, profit and material wealth. I have approached the theme on three different levels: how we forfeit ourselves as well as personal relationships, the capacity for love and charity in the rat race. I also try to show how this destructive process inflicts injuries on Mother Earth, hence the title, says the young Grammy-nominated composer. Mammon is also a major theme in a variety of concerts and in various non-musical events on the programme.

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