Rikard Nordraak


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Nordraak, Rikard

 

Born June 12, 1842, in Oslo; died Mar. 20, 1866, in Berlin. Norwegian composer, pianist, and collector of folk songs and dances.

Nordraak was active in the social movement for the development of a national music. He was a friend of E. Grieg and exerted an important influence on the latter’s musical work. In Copenhagen in 1864, he organized the Euterpe Society, which popularized the new Scandinavian music. He was the author of the national anthem to the text by B. Bjørnson and the music for Bjørnson’s dramas Mary Stuart in Scotland (1870, Stockholm) and Sigurd the Bad. He also composed choruses for male voices, art songs, piano works, and folk-song arrangements.

REFERENCES

Findeizen, N. Muzyka v Norvegii. St. Petersburg, 1910.
Lange, K., and A. Østvedt. Norvezhskaia muzyka. Moscow, 1967. Pages 24–26. (Translated from English.)
Erpekum, Sem A. van. Rikard Nordraak. Oslo, 1942.
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Bull heard performances by Edvard Grieg and Rikard Nordraak in the 1850s, and was instrumental in their continuing education and development.
The exception in the same period is Rikard Nordraak (1842-1866) and Agathe Backer Grondahl (1847-1907) who studied at Theodor Kullak's Neue Akademie der Tonkunst in Berlin.
If the Bergen Philharmonic playing Grieg on tour seems predictable enough (the opening Peer Gynt Suite no 1 in Birmingham is replaced by the Funeral March for Rikard Nordraak at the Proms the following night), the Walton symphony is anything but.
Sadly, there are also a few things deleted from the English version--some pictures, such as those of Hans Christian Andersen that no longer appear alongside the section on "Melodies of the Heart"; the photograph of the page of Grieg's album from Copenhagen whereon Rikard Nordraak had written a halling (dance) excerpt; and the beautiful color plate of Gjendine Slaalien, the important friend, hostess, and folksinger who was responsible for inspiring several of Grieg's best folksong settings, which is exchanged for a much smaller black-and-white photo showing her several decades older than Grieg would have known her.
Halfdan Kjerulf and Rikard Nordraak compositions appear on only a handful of programs, and close friend Agathe Backer Grondahl's appear in only four.