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Johan Halvorsen

Johan Halvorsen

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Johan Halvorsen was a Norwegian
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

, conductor
Conducting
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

 and violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

ist.

Biography


Born in Drammen
Drammen
Drammen is a city in Buskerud County, Norway. The port and river city of Drammen is centrally located in the eastern and most populated part of Norway.-Location:...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 he was an accomplished violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

ist from a very early age and became a prominent figure in Norwegian musical life. He received his musical education in Kristiania (now Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

) and Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

, and was a concertmaster
Concertmaster
The concertmaster/mistress is the spalla or leader, of the first violin section of an orchestra. In the UK, the term commonly used is leader...

 in Bergen
Bergen
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway with a population of as of , . Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland county. Greater Bergen or Bergen Metropolitan Area as defined by Statistics Norway, has a population of as of , ....

 before joining the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is one of the the oldest symphony orchestras in the world...

. He was a concertmaster in Aberdeen
Aberdeen
Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 25th most populous city, with an official population estimate of ....

, Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, then a professor of music in Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

, and finally became a student once again, in St Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

 (with Adolph Brodsky
Adolph Brodsky
Adolph Davidovich Brodsky was a Russian violinist.He enjoyed a long and illustrious career as a performer and teacher, starting early in Vienna, going on to Moscow, Leipzig, and New York City and finally Manchester. During its course he met and worked with composers such as Tchaikovsky and...

), Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 (with Adolf Becker), and Liège (with César Thomson
César Thomson
César Thomson was a Belgian violinist, teacher and composer.He was born in Liège in 1857. At age seven, he entered the Liège Conservatory of Music, and studied under Jacques Dupuis and Lambert Massart. By age 16, he was considered to have "a technique unrivalled by any other violinist then living"...

).

Returning to Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 in 1893, he worked as conductor
Conducting
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

 of the theatre orchestra
Orchestra
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

 at Den Nationale Scene in Bergen and of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the world's oldest orchestral institutions. It performs some 110 concerts a year, and is based at the 1,500-seat Grieg Hall in Bergen, Norway.-History:...

. He became concertmaster of the Bergen Philharmonic in 1885, and principal conductor in 1893. In 1899 he was appointed conductor of the orchestra at the newly-opened National Theatre in Kristiania, a position he held for 30 years until his retirement in 1929.

As well as theatre music, Halvorsen conducted performances of over 30 opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

s and also wrote the incidental music
Incidental music
Incidental music is music in a play, television program, radio program, video game, film or some other form not primarily musical. The term is less frequently applied to film music, with such music being referred to instead as the "film score" or "soundtrack"....

 for more than 30 plays. Following his retirement from the theatre he finally had time to concentrate on the composition of his three great symphonies
Symphony
A symphony is an extended musical composition in Western classical music, scored almost always for orchestra. A symphony usually contains at least one movement or episode composed according to the sonata principle...

 and two well-known Norwegian rhapsodies
Rhapsody (music)
A rhapsody in music is a one-movement work that is episodic yet integrated, free-flowing in structure, featuring a range of highly contrasted moods, colour and tonality. An air of spontaneous inspiration and a sense of improvisation make it freer in form than a set of variations...

.

Halvorsen's compositions were a development of the national romantic
Romantic music
Romantic music or music in the Romantic Period is a musicological and artistic term referring to a particular period, theory, compositional practice, and canon in Western music history, from 1810 to 1900....

 tradition exemplified by Edvard Grieg
Edvard Grieg
Edvard Hagerup Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt , and for his collection of piano miniatures Lyric Pieces.-Biography:Edvard Hagerup Grieg was born in...

 though written in a distinctive style marked by brilliant orchestration
Orchestration
Orchestration is the study or practice of writing music for an orchestra or of adapting for orchestra music composed for another medium...

. Halvorsen married Grieg's niece, and orchestrated some of his piano works, such as a funeral march which was played at Grieg's funeral.

His best known works today are the Bojarenes inntogsmarsj (Entry March of the Boyars
Entry March of the Boyars
Entry March of the Boyars is an orchestral composition by the Norwegian Johan Halvorsen from 1893. It belongs to the most popular works of the composer, and became quickly an international success....

) and Bergensiana, along with his Passacaglia
Passacaglia
The passacaglia is a musical form that originated in early seventeenth-century Spain and is still used by contemporary composers. It is usually of a serious character and is often, but not always, based on a bass-ostinato and written in triple metre....

 and Sarabande
Sarabande
In music, the sarabande is a dance in triple metre. The second and third beats of each measure are often tied, giving the dance a distinctive rhythm of quarter notes and eighth notes in alternation...

, duos for violin and viola based on themes by George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music...

.

Selected compositions


Operetta
  • Mod Nordpolen; in 3 acts


Incidental music
  • Gurre, Op. 17; music for the play by Holger Drachmann
    Holger Drachmann
    Holger Henrik Herholdt Drachmann , was a Danish poet and dramatist. He is an outstanding figure of the Modern Break-Through....

  • Nordraak
    Rikard Nordraak
    Rikard Nordraak was a Norwegian composer. He is best known as the composer of the Norwegian national anthem.-Biography:...

    iana
    -ana
    -ana is a suffix of Latin origin, used in English to convert nouns, usually proper names, into mass nouns, as in Shakespeareana or Dickensiana, items or stories related to William Shakespeare or Charles Dickens....

  • Askeladden
  • Reisen til Julestjernen (Journey to the Christmas Star); music for the play by Sverre Brandt
    Sverre Brandt
    Sverre Brandt was a Norwegian theatre worker and playwright, born in Trondheim. He is remembered for his children's play Reisen til julestjernen from 1924, which has been staged numerous times at theatres in Scandinavia, and also adapted into a film. He was financial manager at Nationaltheatret...

  • Tordenskjold, Op. 18; music for the historical play by Jacob Breda Bull
    Jacob Breda Bull
    Jacob Breda Bull was a Norwegian author.Bull is best known for the novel Vesleblakken and for other novels and stories about descriptions of folk life in the Østerdalen valley. He also wrote historical novels, contemporary novels and poetry.Bull was born in Rendalen, the son of the priest Matthias...

  • Kongen (The King), Op. 19; music for the play by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
    Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
    Bjørnstjerne Martinius Bjørnson was a Norwegian writer and the 1903 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. Bjørnson is considered as one of The Four Greats Norwegian writers; the others being Henrik Ibsen, Jonas Lie, and Alexander Kielland...

  • Fossegrimen, Op. 21; music for the play by Sigurd Eldegard
  • Vasantasena; music for the old Indian play
  • The Merchant of Venice; music for the Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

     play
  • Much Ado about Nothing (1915); music for the Shakespeare play
  • Livet i skogen, Op. 33; music for William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

    's As You Like It
    As You Like It
    As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the folio of 1623. The play's first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility...

  • Dronning Tamara (Queen Tamara); music for the play by Knut Hamsun
    Knut Hamsun
    Knut Hamsun was a Norwegian author, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920. He was praised by King Haakon VII of Norway as Norway's soul....

  • Macbeth (1920); music for the Shakespeare play
    Macbeth
    The Tragedy of Macbeth is a play by William Shakespeare about a regicide and its aftermath. It is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy and is believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607...



Orchestra
  • Bojarenes inntogsmarsj (Entry March of the Boyars
    Entry March of the Boyars
    Entry March of the Boyars is an orchestral composition by the Norwegian Johan Halvorsen from 1893. It belongs to the most popular works of the composer, and became quickly an international success....

    ) for orchestra (or concert band) (1895)
  • Festovertyre (Norwegian Festival Overture), Op. 16 (1899)
  • Nächtlicher Zug from Miniatures for string orchestra, Op. 29 No. 2 (1910); arrangement by the composer
  • Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson in Memoriam, Op. 30 (1910)
  • Norway's Greeting to Theodore Roosevelt, Op. 31 (1910)
  • Suite ancienne to the Memory of Ludvig Holberg
    Ludvig Holberg
    Ludvig Holberg, Baron of Holberg was a writer, essayist, philosopher, historian and playwright born in Bergen, Norway, during the time of the Dano-Norwegian double monarchy, who spent most of his adult life in Denmark. He was influenced by Humanism, the Enlightenment and the Baroque...

    , Op. 31 (1911)
  • Festmarsj (Festival March). Op. 32
  • Scène funèbre
  • Sérénade, Op. 33 (1913)
  • Bergensiana, Rococo Variations on an Old Melody from Bergen "Jeg tog min nystemte Cithar i Hænde" (I Took Up My Newly Tuned Zither) (1913)
  • Norske rapsodie No. 1 (Norwegian Rhapsody No. 1) in A major (1919–1920)
  1. Springar
  2. I went so lately to my bed
  3. Halling - Springar
    • Norske rapsodie No. 2 (Norwegian Rhapsody No. 2) in G major (1919–1920)
  4. Dance tune from Åmot
  5. Han Ole
  6. Springar
    • Symphony No. 1 in C minor (1923)
    • Symphony No. 2 "Fatum" in D minor (1924, revised 1928)
    • Symphony No. 3 in C major (1929)
    • Norske eventyrbylleder (Norwegian Fairy-tale Pictures), Op. 37 (1933); reworking of 1925 incidental music
  7. Peik, prinsessen og stortrollet (Peik, the Princess and the Big Troll)
  8. Prinsessen kommer ridende på bjørnen (The Princess Comes Riding on a Bear)
  9. Trollenes inntog i berget det blå (Entry of the Trolls into the Town Hall)
  10. Dans av småtroll (Dance of the Little Trolls)
    • Festovertyre (Norwegian Festival Overture), Op. 38
    • Elegi for string orchestra
    • Forspill til den hvite Ring
    • Rabnabryllaup uti Kraakjalund, Norwegian Folk-Song Arrangement for string orchestra


Concert band
  • Hallingdal Bataljon's Marsj (1882–1883)
  • Gatemarsj (Street March)
  • Norwegian Sea Picture
  • Salutation to the Royal Couple of Norway


Concertante
  • Air norvégien (Norwegian Air) for violin and orchestra, Op. 7 (1896/1903).
  • Veslemøy's Song for violin and orchestra (1898); dedicated to Kathleen Parlow
    Kathleen Parlow
    Kathleen Parlow was a child prodigy with her outstanding technique with a violin, which earned her the nickname "The lady of the golden bow"...

  • Norwegian Song "The Old Fisherman's Song" for violin and string orchestra, Op. 31 (1901, 1913)
  • Andante Religioso for violin and orchestra (1903)
  • Concerto in G major for violin and orchestra (1909)
  • Bryllupsmarsch, Norwegian Wedding March for violin and orchestra, Op. 32 No. 1
  • Danses norvégiennes No. 1 for violin and orchestra (1915)
  • Danses norvégiennes No. 2 for violin and orchestra (1915)


Chamber music
  • 6 Stimmungsbilder (6 Mood Pieces) for violin and piano (1890)
  • Suite in G minor for violin and piano (1890)
  • Danses norvégiennes for violin and piano (1897)
  • Elegie (Andante) for violin and piano (1897)
  • Passacaglia in G minor on a Theme by George Frideric Handel
    George Frideric Handel
    George Frideric Handel was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music...

     (from Harpsichord Suite in G minor, HWV 432) for violin and viola (1897)
  • Sarabande con Variazioni in G minor on a Theme by George Frideric Handel for violin and viola (1897)
  • Crépuscule for violin and piano (c. 1898)
  • Suite Mosaïque for violin and piano (1898)
  1. Intermezzo orientale
  2. Entr'acte
  3. Scherzino – "Spurven" (The Sparrow)
  4. Veslemøys sang (Veslemøy's Song)
  5. Fête nuptial rustique (An Old-fashioned Wedding)
    • String Quartet in E, Op. 10
    • Little Dance Suite for violin and piano, Op. 22
    • Slåtter, Peasant Dances for violin solo (1903)
    • Miniatures, 5 Easy Pieces for 2 violins and piano, Op. 29 (1910)
    • To serenader (Two Serenades) for violin and piano
    • Norske viser og danse (Norwegian Folk Songs and Dances), 30 Folk Arrangements for violin and piano
    • Concert Caprice on Norwegian Melodies for 2 violins


Choral
  • Varde, Cantata for male chorus and orchestra, Op. 11 (1904); words by Per Sivle
    Per Sivle
    Per Sivle was a Norwegian poet, novelist and newspaper editor. He is known for his novel Streik from 1891, and for his collections of stories issued between 1887 and 1895, Sogor , Vossa-Stubba, Nye Vossa-stubbar and Sivle-Stubbar...

  • Alrune for soprano solo, female chorus and chamber orchestra, Op. 20 No. 1
  • Kantate ved kroningen i Trondhjems Domkirke den 22 juni 1906 for soprano, baritone, mixed chorus, orchestra, harp and organ, Op. 27 (1906); words by Sigvald Skavlan
  • Bergensiana for mixed chorus

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