The Danish Music Review
The Danish Music Review
Military Music in Denmark
Under the title "conditions for military music must be regulated now Niels Friis" the editor, has written this article in which lie sharply criticises the actually very bad conditions for the scarce Danish military music. For a long time Danish military music had been on the downgrade and at last - in 1932 - it was entirely abolished at the re-organisation of the army.
Niels Friis maintains that military music is not a matter concerning the army alone, but that these bands of musicians play an important part in the entire Danish musical life, not least by virtue of the fact that from these bands were chosen the best musicians for greater Danish symphony orchestras. During the German occupation it was agreed in Denmark to establish - as a counterpoise to the musical activity of the Germans - four bands that were stationed outside Copenhagen.
The author draws attention to the fact that Denmark was the only country having abolished military music, and he compares Danish conditions with those of Sweden. In Sweden there are about 50 military bands, and if Denmark were to keep up, it would mean that with about half as many inhabitants as Sweden we should have 20-25 military bands stationed throughout the country. We have five bands, and four of these actually live upon air.
If this critique has been brought now it is due to the fact that the bad conditions mentioned might be changed effectively in connection with the re-organisation of the defense which is now being prepared.
Scandinavian Music on Exhibition
In this article Frede Schandorf Petersen writes about the "Seandinavian Music Days" which took place in Oslo from the 29th September till the 6th October. During this week compositions from the five Scandinavian countries - Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark were played. The "Scandinavian Council of Composers" established in 1946, arranges the concerts taking place in turn in the capitals of the respective countries. (See D.M.R. 1947, page 191 92).
The author sharply criticises the arrangement, as in his opinion the concerts did not give a true picture of the capacity of Northern composers, and this is to rather a great extent due to the de.legates having chosen the works for performance. No clear line could be traced in the programmes leaving the listeners under the impression that the greater part of the compositions performed suffered from narrowness of view and stagnation. Especially this was the case with church music which on this occasion actually did not show anything but musical "domestic industry". There were no works of art in the proper sense of the word.
However, the author doubts that this concert should have shown the actual level of church music in Scandinavia, and as a counterpoise he mentions a number of compositions which - if they had been performed - would have shown a, different result adapted to the spirit of the age. (Some note figures will illustrate the style dominating the concert).
But also the choice of other works, and Linst. also the fact that not a single symphony was performed at the seven concerts is seriously criticised. Finally Schandorf Petersen makes up a musical state as it must appear on the basis of this week of music.
Josef Rufer, the German editor, in this article gives a picture of Boris Blacher, the German composer, unknown in Denmark who as late as in 1937 roused attention in Berlin where the conductor Carl Schuricht gave the first performance of his "Concertante Musi M'.
The author gives an interesting account of this talented composer whose works were prohibited in Germany during the nazi-government. Blacher was born in China in 1903 as the son of Baltic parents of German descent. Already at the age of twelve he started composing, but he was mainly forced to work for himself until he came to Berlin in 1922, where he became the pupil of F. E. Koeh, a somewhat reactionary composer, who was not able to bring him into touch with the contemporary musical currents, and the therefore wasted some valuable years of development. During some time Blacher had to earn his living by arranging and playing operetta music in cinemas.
To-day Blacher stands as one of the leading German composers - even if still disputed - with a considerable production behind him.