The Danish Music Review
The Danish Music Review
Young Swedish Music, 3
In his account of young Swedish music Ingmar Bengtsson this time writes about Karl-Birger Blomdahl. The author who in the two preceding articles sketched the historical and cultural background for the works of the youngest Swedish composers here gives an account of the level they have reached when after the end of their studies they start their own careers. It seems as if by means of their fundamental theoretical and practical education they are going the way of the "neue Sachlichkeit", now twenty to thirty years old. However, the author maintains that this is but half the truth which he comments by Linst. quoting Hjalmar Söderberg: "... the past never comes back".
Blomdahl is the oldest of "the young group". He was born in Wäxiö (Småland) in 1916, came to Stockholm in 1934 and started as an engineering student. Most of his leisure time he spent at concerts, and after the lapse of one year he gave up his study, devoting himself entirely to music. At this time Blomdahl had no more knowledge of music than any other young man interested in music. But his personality was already mature and independent to such an extent that from the very beginning of his new study he was able to follow his own line and to choose his teachers accordingly. But on one point a certain weakness was noticeable: Blomdahl never became a practical musician, completely at home with an instrument, and this lack has left certain traces in his music.
Next the author examines characteristic features in Blonidalil's works which from the outset (about 1938-43) are somewhat influenced by Carl Nielsen (1865-1931), the great Danish composer, Sibelius, and Hilding Rosenberg, his teacher. In his works from 1944 and onward Blomdahl attains an independent style. He soon left sharp and flat tonality and found his new basis in Hindemith's "Unterweisung im Tonsatz" which ideas lead him on. Two lines may be traced in his art: a purely expressive and a constructive polyphonic line. In his trio for strings which was performed at the I.S.C.M. festival at Lund (Copenhagen 1947) lie succeeded in combining these two lines in a cogent and mature maniner. Very often Blomdahl has been accused of being far too constructive, polyphonic, intellectual and thus "insensible" in his art. Blomdahl himself would give the following answer to this: he cannot - at present - write more plainly if he wants to be true. However, the author's opinion is that whenever you want to express something you must take the fact into consideration that the listeners should be able to feel and understand this expression, it must find resonance; therefore the aim should be to conquer the contrast between the "demand for truth" and the "demand for contact".
A Ten Year-Old Conductor
Holger Valbjørn, the violinist, writes about Pierino Gamba, the ten year old Italian conductor who this spring conducted a number of concerts in Copenhagen, partly with The Royal Orchestra, partly with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Copenhagen, and who has had a formidable success. The author says that the scepticism which all musicians had nourished beforehand was put to shame at the first rehearsal, and the unbelievable superiority of the boy entirely overwhelmed the whole orchestra. Next a number of examples of his masterly conducting technique are given.
// Poul Schierbeck, the Danish composer (page 124) on the 8the June celebrates his 60th anniversary. First and foremost he is a composer of songs and cantatas, but he has also composed a symphony (1914) and the "Fête Galante", an opera, that had its first performance at The Royal Opera of Copenhagen in 1931.
// Fritz Crome, the excellent Danish music pedagogue, composer, and pianist, (page 125) died on the 25th April. He was educated o. a. by Moskovsky and has formerly been a teacher at The Stern Conservatory in Berlin. From 1925 he was a teacher at The Royal Donish Music Conservatory.
// On page 121 ff Johannes Smith writes about Stravinsky's book: "Poetique Musicale" which has been issued in a Danish translation. Not a musician himself the author maintains that Stravinsky's fundamental opinions are valid not only in music but also in other fields of art, and he underlines the interesting fact that Stravinsky attaches a huge importance to tradition.
// The orchestral score of the "Te Deum Danicum", the great choirwork by Professor Knud Jeppesen, the Danish composer, which Was broadcast on the 2nd October, 1947, by the B.B.C., conducted by Mogens Wöldike, has been published by Wilhelm Hansen, Copenhagen, who has also issued new editions o. a. of the piano concerto by Robert Schizmann.