Composers / Edvard Grieg / Persons catalog

Johan Sebastian Welhaven

Johan Sebastian Welhaven (1807–1873) – a Norwegian writer, critic and literary scholar. He was a representative of idealist Norwegian romanticism and initiator of the political movement known as Scandinavianism. As an opponent of the nationalists, he attacked in particular Henryk Wergeland for propagating the cultural independence of Norway. Their dispute is one of the most famous in Norwegian literature. In the epic poem Norges Dæmring [The dawn of Norway], published in 1834, Welhaven criticised his compatriots’ faults and opposed the rejection of cultural links between Norway and Denmark (hence he was suspected of a lack of patriotism). Grieg got to know Welhaven’s work as a youth and later composed to his words Dyre Vaa for voice and piano(1880) and Til Ole Bull [To Ole Bull] for male choir (1901). He also dedicated two compositions to Welhaven: Serenade til Welhaven [Serenade for Welhaven], Op. 18 No. 9 for solo baritone and male vocal quartet (to words by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson) and Ved J. S. Welhavens Båre [Music at Welhaven’s grave](to words by Jørgen Moe) for male choir (1873).

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