Even though Johan Svendsen (1840–1911) was one of the most celebrated Norwegian composers and conductors of his time, the knowledge of exactly what he wrote has been lacking. The first part of this article describes Bjarte Engesets work on a new and detailed thematic catalogue, and covers several new findings that update the worklist of the composer. Less than one third of Svendsens works are available from publishers today, so there is a clear need for a modern complete practical/critical edition (JSV). Such an edition should also use the possibilities of the internet and modern computer technology. A closer study of the Svendsen-sources shows that the manuscripts often have a special significance. Many of the old printed editions do not coincide with the manuscripts in important details, and there are several arguments supporting the use of some of the manuscript-variants in modern performances. Some of the early manuscripts also have quite different, interesting versions of the works. Several particular editing problems related to Svendsens works are discussed: staccato markings appearing only at the start of sequences, the ambiguous meaning of staccato dots in abbreviated notation, etc. Johan Svendsen orchestrated with much subtlety and detail, so a thorough analysis of his use of dynamics, articulations and phrasing slurs is fundamental to the editing process. Especially in the cases where the editor is tempted to make additions to the score by analogy, such an analysis can prevent a modern edition from neglecting the subt-lety in this composers use of instruments.
Johan Svendsen (1840–1911) was probably the most important contributor to a symphonic tradition in Norway in the second half of the 19th century. His works, including two notable symphonies, were performed regularly during his lifetime. Several sources have claimed that Svendsen worked on a third symphony, but it may seem that he was un-able to complete the work as his compositional activity waned in the 1880s. However, a famous anecdote would have it that his wife, in a fit of jealousy, burned the completed manuscript.
In 2007, conductor Bjarte Engeset identified sketches for a cyclic symphonic work by Svendsen. I have elaborated and arranged parts of the material for a celebratory concert marking the centenary of Svendsens death.
A performable version, so to speak, of the sketches, to my mind throws new light not only on an unfinished or lost symphony but may also be a valuable contribution to understanding Svendsens artistic development, as this material demonstrates a more dramatic musical language than most of his earlier works.
The surprising discovery of two canons from Muzio Clementi: Canone (Gradus ad Parnassum II, 1828) and Edvard Grieg: Canon a 4 voci (1860) shows a rare model of construction of a four-voice-canon for piano (four voices in I-IV-V-I, instead of I-V-I-V). The article discusses details of form and construction of these two canons, in relation to the canon- and fugue-theory of the 19th century. In both cases it is remarkable how the respective composers deal with this unusual form and the limits of the piano (for example the playabilty of the four voices). Perhaps Grieg had known the canon by Clementi – his canon looks like a counterpoint-work of a young student making fun of the `serious schoolŽ of counterpoint Grieg learned in Leipzig. Clementis canon, however, is of greater dimension and ambition.
There is said to be two distinct schools of orchestration in 19th-century western music. These schools are labelled French and German. Whereas French orchestration, exemplified through the art of Hector Berlioz, is considered to be progressive, innovative and colourful, the German school, including composers such as Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, has a reputation of being rather conservative and monotonous. In this paper I have shown that there are significant differences between, for instance, Hector Berlioz and Robert Schumanns approach to orchestration, and that this is demonstrated clearly in the music of the composers from the two different main schools. I have also investigated the notion that Richard Wagners orchestration is a synthesis of the French and German schools, and therefore superior to that of other 19th-century composers.
The Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara (born 1928) has written numerous different types of music. In his work we can find songs, choral music, chamber music, symphonic music, electronic music, etc. Notably, many of his 10 operas have become quite popular in his homeland, Finland. His last opera, Rasputin (2003), takes us to Russia in the years before the 1917 revolution and focuses on the close relationship between the enigmatic monk Rasputin and the last Tsar family of the House of Romanov. Rautavaara wrote both the music and libretto, and the opera shows the composers complete mastery of this genre.
This article deals with the St. Matthew Passion of the Norwegian composer Trond Kverno. The work reveals the composers awareness of the creative potential inherent in the tradition of European sacred music. Based on the gospel according to St. Matthew (chapters 26 and 27), its text contains biblical passages highlighting connections between the suffering of Jesus and events described in the Old Testament. Kvernos Passion may thus be regarded as an exercise in typological exegesis, reaching back to the venerable tradition of Biblia pauperum. Aspects of Kvernos melodic and harmonic writing are discussed with reference to Norwegian folk music, notably Draumkvedet. The author opines that Kvernos Passion incorporates traits conducive to reflections on the function of creativity and memory, collective as well as individual.
Music was among the Norwegian author Alexander L. Kiellands main interests. Kiellands earliest literary text was dedicated to the first Wagner Festspiel in Bayreuth (1876), and there would be references and descriptions of music and musical performance in several of his later works. In these works Kielland, the realist, expresses views typical of musical -Romanticism. In the novelette Siesta (1880), music and musical performance take on a significance that weaves the literary narrative together with a musical progression described in the text. Kiellands novelette may thus be seen as an example of musicalization of fiction, hence as a text with intermedial implications. This article starts with a presentation of Alexander Kiellands views on music, followed by a discussion of musics topical and structural significance in the development of his novelette Siesta.