Summary

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.

Keywords: The Bergen Music Festival of 1898, Norwegian Music history, Johan Halvorsen, Edvard Grieg