Making of Anne Sofie von Otter's album, 2000-05-17


In the Studio in January 2001

Stockholm, October 17, 2000

"It's like returning home" confides Benny Andersson to Janne Hansson, recording engineer and owner of Atlantis Studios, which, some 26 years ago, was the setting for ABBA's first steps into music history. Benny hadn't been back here since.

Just minutes before, the legendary Abba member had accompanied Anne Sofie von Otter on the piano in a recording of his and his companion Bj÷rn Ulveus's original Abba song "Like An Angel Passing Through My Room". Jammed into the control room, the other musicians on the album, record producer Elvis Costello, his wife and the entire DG team were held in breathless awe as the two stars from completely different worlds collaborated in the studio before them. When it was over, the only noise for minutes was the gentle hum of the machines as everyone looked at each other in disbelief and excitement at what they had just witnessed. One of those truly historic and magical moments that occur only once in a while had been captured on tape.

Anne Sofie had obviously been enjoying the collaboration. The two pop giants had been showering her with encouraging comments as she interpreted their song. Indeed earlier that day, Benny had also played accordion to the Tom Waits classic "Broken Bicycles". Also Elvis Costello, who has arranged all the songs for Anne Sofie, sometimes picks up an instrument or two to add a little detail to the overall sound. Old friends keep popping in, like Steve Nieve and Michael Blair who've both been touring with Elvis, only to find themselves being caught up in the special atmosphere and participating! They mix naturally with Svante Henryson, Mats AsplÚn, Kalle Moraeus and the Fleshquartet, musicians all well-known to Anne Sofie.

It is with touches such as these that the combination of Elvis's arrangements and the ethereal quality of Anne Sofie's voice have provided for a very special album. It is bringing to light a completely different side of Anne Sofie, 'the other woman' as it were, away from the world of opera and lied, and yet close and recognisable, and unmistakably herself.


In January, Elvis Costello completed mixing this album and the final track listing was made. The 18 songs on the album include:

- No Wonder - newly written for Anne Sofie by Elvis Costello
- Like an Angel Passing Through My Room together with Benny Andersson
- For No One - words and music by Lennon and McCartney
- For the Stars - duet with Elvis Costello and also new for this album
- Don't Talk (Put Your Hand On My Shoulder) - by Brian Wilson
- Broken Bicycles / Junk - by Tom Waits

The album will be released this spring. (Recording Producer: Elvis Costello)