Harald Sæverud

Post is not available in the requested language For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language.Harald Sæverud (1897-1992) Harald Sæverud was during his long activity as a composer called the ”grand old man” of Norwegian music. Born in Bergen in 1897, Sæverud studied with Borghild Holmsen in his home town, and later at the music academy in Berlin (1920-1921). His great symphonic talent…

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Harald Sæverud (1897-1992) Harald Sæverud was during his long activity as a composer called the ”grand old man” of Norwegian music. Born in Bergen in 1897, Sæverud studied with Borghild Holmsen in his home town, and later at the music academy in Berlin (1920-1921). His great symphonic talent was already apparent in his first symphony, parts of which were composed in his youth. Today his nine symphonies are landmarks in Norwegian symphonic production. The most-well known of these are No. 5 Quasi una fantasia (1941), No. 6 Sinfonia dolorosa (1942) and No. 7 Salme. Generally, the orchestra has been his chief expressive medium, and his five concertos for cello, oboe, piano, violin and bassoon, respectively, are among his major works. Stage music and piano pieces also make up an important part of his production. In the nineteen-seventies, he has largely been occupied with chamber music. In addition to the abovementioned symphonies, Sæverud´s best-known compositions include the piano-pieces Rondo amoroso and Kjempeviseslåtten and the stage music to Ibsen´s Peer Gynt (1947) as well as the orchestral works Canto ostinato (1934) and Galdreslåtten (1942). Sæverud has been awarded a number of national and international honours and distinctions. The dismal atmosphere of the Second World War was the setting for one of Harald Sæverud´s most productive periods. Composition was his way of resisting the occupation troops, and his furious protest rings in every single note of the three ”war symphonies”, the most deeply felt of which is Sinfonia dolorosa — symphony of suffering. Also written during the war, his many piano pieces are in sharp contrast to these works. Sæverud has collected the piano pieces in the suites Slåtter og stev fra Siljustøl, the titles of which suggests a world far removed from the brutal reality of the war, bursting with inspiration from nature and flights of the imagination. Henrik Ibsen´s dramatic poem Peer Gynt (1867), one of the greatest works of western litterature, was staged for the first time in 1876, with Edvard Grieg´s incidental music. Grieg´s music, composed in collaboration with Ibsen, is a masterpiece in its own right, but has to some extent, notably in the 20th century, been critizised for being too romantic. Tyrone Guthrie, who produced the play with Grieg´s music for the ”Old Vic” in 1944, voiced new ideas, and the Norwegian producer and actor Hans Jacob Nilsen took a further step in his book Peer Gynt, eit antiromantisk verk (1948). The play was translated by Henrik Rytter into the second national language of Norway, ”Nynorsk”, and Nilsen staged it at Det Norske Teatret in Oslo in 1948. Sæverud, who had been commissioned to write a completeley new score for this production, received an unconditional acclaim for originality and imaginativeness. In undertaking the task, Sæverud, in close association with Hans Jacob Nilsen, composed 28 musical items for an orchestra for only 24 players. Later he published 13 pieces for symphony orchestra in two Peer Gynt suites.