German composer and virtuoso pianist Carl Arnold played the most vital part in establishing a professional Norwegian musical life. Yet his own works fell victim to a growing national fervor in Norway. The emergence of composers such as Brahms, Liszt and Wagner soon put his music out of vogue in Germany. But now the time has finally come for the music of Carl Arnold (1794-1873).
Success in Warsaw, Berlin and Vienna
An extremely gifted child, Carl grew up to make his piano debut only 11 years old. After the napoleonic wars had ended, Arnold was able to start a long period of touring in Europe. Not only did André gain him access to the european aristocracy; he also published his early works for piano. They were remarkably well received by the German music journals; another big asset in trying to get prestigious concert engagements. Arnold married the daughter of the piano maker Kisting of Berlin, also promoting his new trichord pianofortes in his concerts.
Norway’s musical founding father
Touring brought Arnold to Oslo in 1848. At the time was looking for a new place to settle, and the leading musicians of Norway were quick to promise him ample opportunities. For the next 25 years Arnold became the predominant figure of the Norwegian capital. He led the Philharmonic Society until 1863, and from 1858 until his death he was also the organist of the Church of the Holy Trinity. He founded Christiania’s first organ and composition school in 1863 and over the next 10 years taught a number of poor and talented music students for free. Kjerulf, Winter-Hjelm and Svendsen are among his most well known students.
Torgersen studied with Einar Steen-Nøkleberg, Eva Knardahl and Lazar Berman at the Norwegian Academy of Music and with Liisa Pohjola at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He has released outstanding recordings with the music of Fartein Valen, Lasse Thoresen and Klaus Egge. Since 2005 Torgersen has performed regularly with violinist Shlomo Mintz in concerts all over the world. As a performer on historical instruments Torgersen has held many concerts and lectures, and has also taken part in numerous workshops with Malcolm Bilson and Bart van Oort. Since 2002 Torleif Torgersen is an associate professor at the Grieg Academy in Bergen.