Conrad Baden (1908-89) began to write music in his 30’s, at first mostly pieces for choir and organ. Baden worked as an organist, first in Drammen and later on in Oslo, but he was also an active music journalist in many Norwegian newspapers all through his life. In 1946 Baden presented his compositions in public, and after a period of studies in Paris in 1950 he decided to focus on chamber music and larger works for orchestra.
Once upon a time
The Fairytale Suite from 1960 is based on several well-known Norwegian folk stories, and the movements are short, humorous pictures of program music, all with a characteristic and exquisite instrumentation. He presents Thumbikin, The Lad and the Devil, Soria Moria Castle and the Princess in the blue mountain. But Baden did not base the composition on Norwegian folk music, he is more influenced by Bela Bartók and the French composer group Les Six, and the work is an independent treatment of all these impulses to a moderate/modern tonal language.
The always seeking composer
This record shows the great breadth in Badens symphonic production. He was inspired by everything from neoclassicism (Concertino for clarinet and strings), Norwegian folk dance rhythms (Concert for piano and orchestra) and twelve-tone technique (Variazioni) through his composing career, but between it all one can sense his warm romantic sound and melodic lines. Baden never stopped looking for the perfect form where he could reflect both himself and the time in which he lived, and the critics honoured him for his genuine, personal and expressive works.