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Radio Romantica

tue 19 jan 2021 20:00 

Musical Romanticism, explored by Pieter de Oude.

Johan Severin Svendsen’s Norwegian Rhapsody, 1st symphony and Karneval i Paris.

Johan Svendsen was born in Kristiania (Oslo) in 1840, and after a musical childhood in the harmony orchestra, a performance of Beethoven’s fifth was the starting signal to become a composer. To become one, he had to go to Leipzig, because that’s where the big boys were. In 1862, he quietly tried to go there, but he didn’t get farther than Hamburg.

He instantly spent the little amount of money he received from playing in bars. Luckily, he received help from the Norwegian consul in Lübeck. They recognised his talent and made sure he received a scholarship for Leipzig’s conservatory. Not long after, his creativity exploded, and he wanted to become a famous violinist and composer. Unfortunately, he injured his hand, making writing music his priority. As a conductor, he made an effort for Wagner and Berlioz’s music. In his own scores, we can hear energy and poetry combined with Norwegian folk music. Both Grieg and later on Nielson repeatedly praised Svendsen’s virtuoso conductor skills.



  1. Johan Severin Svendsen, 2nd Norwegian Rhapsody, Opus 19.
    Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Neeme Järvi / CHAN 10693
  2. Johan Severin Svendsen, Symphony no.1, Opus 4 in D major.
    Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Thomas Dausgaard / CHAN 9932
  3. Johan Severin Svendsen, Karneval i Paris, Opus 9.
    Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Neeme Järvi / CHAN 10693


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