The Norwegian Radio Orchestra and Chief Conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya present fresh readings of the two romantic symphonies by Otto Winter-Hjelm. A contemporary of Grieg and Svendsen, his work was described as essential for the development of a Norwegian symphonic style.
Otto Winter-Hjelm (1837 – 1931) grew up in a family of civil servants, and musical training was a matter of course in the social circles at the time. Otto was so taken with the subject that he left his University training in the hometown of Kristiania (Oslo) to pursue music studies in Leipzig. After a year of studies there he returned to Kristiania, living from piano students and studying composition with the German composer Carl Arnold. In 1860 he received a state scholarship for further studies abroad, this time in Berlin.
Premieres of the two symphonies
In 1862 he returned to Kristiania, ready to present himself as a composer. The first symphony, sparkling with joy and optimism, was premiered in Den Gamle Logen. In 1867 Winter-Hjelm teamed up with the young Edvard Grieg who had arrived in Kristiania, and the Second Symphony was premiered alongside with Grieg’s first symphony a that same autumn. In some manuscripts the movements were given names ‘Viking life’, ‘Life in the Mountains‘ and ‘Night Fantasies‘. Reviewers were very positive to the ‘soft and endearing melodies – altogether Norwegian in shape and sound’ they heard in this symphony. Only 5 months later Johan Svendsen’s 1st symphony was premiered – making this year the definitive starting point for Norwegian symphonic development.
Norwegian Radio Orchestra and Miguel Harth-Bedoya
Founded in 1946, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra is today regarded with a unique combination of respect and affection by its public. The orchestra´s repertoire is exceptionally wide, ranging from baroque, classical and contemporary to jazz, pop and rock. The Norwegian Radio Orchestra meets its audience at many different venues and central for the orchestra philosophy are concepts like play, curiosity and flexibility. The orchestra has enjoyed enormous success over the past years, harvesting critical acclaim, and has a pivotal role in Norwegian music as it represents a versatility that is unique in Norway. In the past years the orchestra has collaborated with first class musicians and conductors from all over the world, as well as having the privilege of performing every year at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert. In 2013-2020, Miguel Harth-Bedoya was the orchestra’s chief conductor, with many exciting projects and a large international footprint. This fall the orchestra presents the new Chief Conductor, Petr Popelka.