Composers / Thomas Tellefsen / Persons catalog

Halfdan Kjerulf

Halfdan Kjerulf (1815–1868) – Norwegian composer, piano pedagogue  and music critic in the newspapers  Kristianiaposten, Den Constitutionelle (1840s) and Morgenbladet (1860s). Kjerulf studied music in Leipzig and  Copenhagen from 1849 to 1851.  Kjerulf’s family belonged to of Danish civil servants  situated in Norway during the period of the Danish-Norwegian union. Following this, in questions concerning  the Swedish-Norwegian union and the ongoing discussion about  Danish dominance in cultural life,  Kjerulf was considered a moderate conservative. Also, during his whole life, he kept a critical attitude to the more radical part of the Norwegian artist elite. This meant that his relations to people like Ole Bull og Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson for longer periods was rather restrained. In Kjerulf’s view Norwegian  folk culture had to be combined with European art traditions to form a lasting  foundation for a national art. Even though Kjerulf composes music in a style characterized by himself as “European”, he made use of elements taken from Norwegian folk music in several of his songs. Some of his songs were to texts by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnso. Kjerulf also arranged several folk tunes for piano. Some of these are today considered as predecessors of Grieg’s folk tune arrangements.

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