John Høybye „Flame and Storm“

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„Many a time our human world has been turned upside-down by a world event: the plague, 
the world wars, or a pandemic like Covid-19. We long for them to pass into history, so that 
we can get back to normal – and find peace, ‘a timeless and tranquil form’. This longing, 
this grief, this search, and above all this goal are the subjects of ‘Flame and Storm’. 
It is based on two poems by the Danish lyric poet, Grethe Risbjerg Thomsen (1925-2009). 
The first four lines are from the poem Redemption, the last two from Waiting Field. 
John Høybye has put them together for this new work – in a corona time. 
In the first poem the poet has a goal and is working towards it through taming the elements 
of fire and air. By chiselling her grief she can record it for ever – and thereby let it pass. 
In the second poem, she acknowledges her impotence, but not her determination to try 
all means available – including praying for a miracle and finding a strange new god.“ John Høybye

My goal is to force ev’ry flame, ev’ry storm
into a timeless and tranquil form.
One day into stone I shall chisel my grief
and disappear into redemptive relief.

My longing finds no answer, and yet it grows not weak,
a miracle I wait for, a foreign god I seek.

The originally danish poems were translated by Edward Broadbridge.

Edward Broadbridge (b.1944) BA London, MA Aarhus, has taught English at University of Aarhus and high schools in Randers, Denmark 1967-2008, plus University of Michigan (1998). As a librettist he has worked together with John Høybye since 2005, beginning with Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid and including The Magic Paint Brush (2007), Psalm 151 (2015), and Teen Age (2021). He is otherwise known as the English translator of the works of the Danish educator, pastor, and hymnwriter N.F.S. Grundtvig (2008-22).


John Høybye (1939)  is a composer, conductor and arranger. He has made an important contribution to the renewal of Nordic choral music, not least because he combines elements from the „classical“ choral sound and texture with elements from gospel- and jazzmusic. In 1993 the Danish Choral  Society honored him as Choral Composer of the Year. Six years later he was honored by the Danish Composer’s Society who  gave him the „1999-prize“.

John Høybye has directed workshops and courses with presentation of his own music in Sweden,  Norway, Estonia, Russia, England and Germany.

He was a member of the artistic committée and one of the composers writing a commissioned work for the World Symposium on Choral Music (Copenhagen 2008).