This article is a reworking of a paper presented at The 6th International Conference on Chopin in Warsaw, 2006. The study of Tellefsen’s mazurkas shows that several traits can be traced back to Chopin’s style idiom. Tellefsen tried to put his own stamp on the genre by assimilating traits from Norwegian folk music into his mazurkas. From the very first presentation of the mazurkas in Norway, these Norwegian folk music traits were heard and experienced as something positive. However, from the 1860s onwards, Tellefsen’s music was gradually understood as an inauthentic expression of ‘the national’. His work also became criticised for its close relation to Chopin’s style and a lack of personal tone. Following this, Tellefsen’s music seems to have failed to meet two important requirements of 19th century music aesthetics, the requirement to be original and the requirement to present something ‘national’ through music.

Keywords: T.D.A. Tellefsen, 19th century music history in Norway, mazurkas, cultural nationalism, authenticity, originality