Composers / Thomas Tellefsen / Places catalog
Tellefsen – composer
Thomas Tellefsen left forty-four opuses. Most of his compositions are for solo piano. In terms of style, they are strongly linked to the music of Chopin, as is also suggested by the formal rules he used in composing. Like Chopin, he wrote waltzes, nocturnes and mazurkas. His first collection of mazurkas, Quatre Mazurkas, Op. 1, appeared in print in 1846. Tellefsen was among the first Norwegian composers to use traditional music as a point of departure for many of his compositions. Apart from mazurkas, this is clearly audible in his pieces with titles in Norwegian, such as Huldredandsen, Op. 9, Bruraslaatten, Op. 26 and Walhallafesten, Op. 40.
Tellefsen also wrote two piano concertos. The first, in G minor, Op. 8, was composed in 1848, probably with the supervision and support of Chopin. His Concerto No. 2 in F minor was written in 1853. Both have a traditional three-movement structure. The first movement is based on a double exposition, the middle movement is slow and calm, in a ternary ABA form, while the third movement in both concertos is of a rondo design. For its time, the list of chamber pieces written by Tellefsen is quite abundant. He composed two sonatas for violin and piano, one for cello and piano, one piano sonata and a sonata for two pianos, as well as a piano trio. There is only one fully orchestral piece: an Overture in D major. All his larger works point to Tellefsen’s Classical orientation, which shows in the clear formal rules to which he adheres and the symmetrical structure of phrases in themes. Towards the end of his life, Tellefsen sent his complete published opuses to the libraries in Norway to preserve them for posterity. They are kept in the Gunnerus Library in Trondheim, Ringve Museum of Music in Trondheim and National Library in Oslo.
Title page of Compositions for piano by Thomas Tellefsen, Cologne: M. Schloss, n.d. (1863)
Title page of Piano Concerto in F minor, Op. 15 by Thomas Tellefsen, Paris: S. Richault, n.d. (1854).
Waltz in G Major, Thomas Tellefsen, manuscript from the collection of the Fryderyk Chopin Museum (M/308).