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The Bergen Music Festival in the summer of 1898 has always been considered a major event in Norway’s musical history. It has since been discussed by music scholars in a range of literature.This article investigates mainly the festival’s prehistory and the planning process leading up to the arrangement. Edvard Grieg's participation in this has always been emphasized, while his views on the conflicts that took place along the way have permeated most of the literature and come to stand as the «correct» perspective in the writing of the Norwegian music history. By studying and comparing correspondence and other material – printed as well as archive sources – a timeline is reconstructed in this article. Strong differences of opinion are revealed on a personal level as well as between the musical scenes in Norway's two largest cities. Special attention is given to the role and manoeuvring of one of the actors, Johan Halvorsen – at the time of the festival still the leading conductor in Bergen, but soon to become Christiania’s leading conductor.
What is recognized as the Norwegian composer Fartein Valen’s international breakthrough took place at the 1947 festival of the ISCM (International Society for contemporary Music) in Copenhagen. This article investigates what this alleged breakthrough, followed by performances of Valen’s music at the ISCM festivals also in 1948, 1951 and 1953, implied, and the role of the chairman of the Norwegian section, Pauline Hall, in promoting Valen’s music and supporting him in opposing to the nationalist trends among Norwegian colleagues. Considering the reception of Valen in the ISCM and the support he gained especially in Britain, the text also suggests possible reasons for why his music seems to be best received in the North-western parts of Europe as well as Canada and the USA and less so in musical cultures where Austro-German modernism was hegemonic.
This article examines the relationship between music and political values in Cuba. Through historical analyses, the author shows how music has inspired political change and revolutionary ideas and as such has formed an integral part of the revolutionary project. The article also indicates how music has performed an important political critique of several aspects of the revolutionary project. The historical analysis illustrates the importance of historiography and the aesthetic sensibility of today's political project in Cuba, and how this is expressed through the cultivation of cultural theorists like Nicolas Guillen and Jose Martí as father figures of the nation. The analysis shows how the production of historical consciousness is helping to lay the foundation for various forms of musical politics, potentially linking various aesthetic and political experiences together across different eras. The analysis further shows how this focus on a common historical consciousness has made a political impact on a post-socialist Cuba that is characterized more by nationalism than of former Marxist ideas.
Is there a Norwegian organ style? Did the nationalism in music in the nineteenth and twentieth century influence Norwegian organ music? This article discusses stylistic tendencies in Norwegian organ works, with the national movement as perspective. Based on theories of national imprint in music, separation between the sacred and secular in art and culture, and distinction between sacred and secular epochs, the article discusses reasons why national influence largely seems to have passed Norwegian organ music until the second half of twentieth century. Examples of national traits in some organ pieces are shown, with an emphasis on three compositions written on themes from Draumkvedet.
We base our debate on the potential values of bringing improvisational practices into schools. Through using a specific primary school production (Bråkebøtta) as case study, with data collected from both the musicians involved as well as selected teachers, we compare the two perspectives, and consider to what extent improvisational practices may enrich a learning and teaching environment. Indeed, letting three professional improvisers «do their thing» in a school concert setting, represents a situation in which the two perspectives meet in «playful» dialogue. We describe this as a playroom; and by that, we recognise both the playful and adhockery based character of improvisational practices, as well as see how such practices are adaptable to ever changing contexts in various schools. Through trial workshops, interviews and observations we see a link between the musicians’ improvisational tools and strategies, and teachers’ reflections on the production. We describe the performance strategies and tools behind Bråkebøtta as facilitating a communal playroom for all participating parties (pupils, teachers, musicians), and scrutinize the interactive elements in play within such a space.
The discussion about modernistic organ improvisation as an element in catholic liturgy raises questions on the different roles the organist has to combine in the meeting between organ improvisation’s aesthetic tradition, theological legislation, and the congregation’s understanding of music and liturgy. All of this lies on the organist’s shoulders, feeling responsible for the artistic, theological and communicative aspects of organ improvisation in daily practice. The main research question to be addressed in my interview with the influential and acclaimed French organist and improviser Olivier Latry at Notre-Dame in Paris was: How can an improvisation with modernistic musical features both relate to its aesthetic tradition and to the catholic liturgical thinking, and how can an organist combine the roles as artist, theologian and communicator?