The Danish Music review
The Danish Music Review
Young Swedish Music
In this and the following two articles all written in Swedish, Ingmar Bengisson, writes about "Young Swedish Music". The author underlines the necessity of understanding the situation and efforts of the youngest generation of Swedish composers the background of the Swedish musical culture being its soil and foundation. Sweden.is on the border-line of the European sphere of culture and has not been able to uphold a living contact with the musical life and ideals of the continent to such an extent as f.inst Denmark. The history of Swedish music is rather characterized by progressive jerks than by a steady flow built on tradition. The important composers now having won a name in Swedish musical history - Johan Helmich Roman (baroque) and Franz Berwald (classical romanticism) - have not been appreciated in their native country till several decades after their death.
New Swedish music is divided into four groups the first of which - composers born about 1880 - is associated with late-romanticism with a touch of nationalism (Nalanael Berg born 1879, Edvin Kallstenius, born 1881, Kurt Allerberg and Oscar Lindberg, both born 1890). With the next group (Hilding Rosenberg born 1892 and G6sta Ngstroem) Swedish music for the f irst time gets in direct touch with the "modernistic" currents of the early 20th century, but the reaction among the music critics of Stockholm was not long idle in characterizing this new tendency in a composition of the greatest present day Swedish composer - Rosenberg - as a musical inferno. In the third group consisting of composers born in the first decade of 1900 (Dag Wirén, born 1905, Gunnar de Frumerie and Lars-Erik Larsson both born 1908) only feeble traces of the new tendencies make themselves felt. The works of these composers are mainly of a diverting nature with slight French-impressionistic reminiscenses.
Larsson who has studied with Alban Berg has sincelhe middle of the thirties sought more idyllic conventional ways. - The fourth and youngest group consists a. o. of Karl Birger Blomdahl (known for his trio for strings performed at Lund in Sweden on the occasion of the I. S. C. M. festival 1947 and whose concert for violin and string orchestra will be played at the I. S. C. M. festival in Amsterdam 1948), Sven-Erik Bdek and Ingvar Lidholm who have all been pupils of Rosenberg. However, this has not in the least influenced the development of their individual styles. With Rosenberg they have gone through a strict school, and they have thus learnt their musical craft from the ground through the study of Palestrina Bach - counterpoint - until they have found their own styles.
The author draws attention to the lack of proportion between the number of writers, painters, and composers, and he points out that part of this is due to the need of contact in Sweden with the currents of our time, and he 'concludes this section of his article by stating how the masses try to replace spiritual culture with material comfort, while the creative artist becomes more abstract and intellectual in expression, and this results in the lack of contact between the work of the artist and the public.
This article which will be followed by two more articles on the same subject is a biographical sketch by Erik Stahl on Serge Prokofiev, the Russian composer. On the basis of the book by Israel Nestjev, the Russian author: "Serge Prokofiev. His Musical Life", as well as a number of articles from "Sovietskaja Musyka" and by means of extracts from the autobiography of Prokofiev the author discusses various biographical and psychological traits in Prokofiev's life. In the third article Erik Stahl will throw light upon the musical style of the Russian composer.
Musical Education in Folk-Schools
In continuation of previous articles in D.M. Anker Ravnmark writes about musical education in folk-schools, underlining that the musical education of teachers neither from a professional nor from a pedagogical point of view is up-to-date. The author is not of the opinion that teachers are to be sought among specially educated musicz pedagogues, but that it is necessary to raise the knowledge of music during the education of the teachers who are also going to teach music. However, a collaboration ought to take place between music teachers educated at the conservatory and at seminaries Linst by entrusting the pedagogues from the conservatory with the task of teaching instrumental music in schools for the benefit of establishing school orchestras. - Finally the author mentions three important problems which must quickly be solved, the third of which is the foundation of a research institute of pedagogy and psychology.
// Herbert Rosenberg, Ph.D. on page 65 reviews the book by G. Révész: "Einführung in die Musikpsychologie" summarizing his reflections in the following manner: -"Anybody wishing to get a deep insight into the essence of music will benefit by reading this interesting book. Especially music pedagogues ought to consider it their duty to be informed of the problems of musical psychology. It is regrettable that there does not exist any 'book in one of the Scandinavian languages of the kind mentioned here. It would thus be a valuable contribution to add a Danish translation of Révész's book to our musical literature".
// Knuddge Riisager, the composer, on page 55 under the title of "Music in the Madhouse" writes about the book by Berta Geissmar, who was for many years Furtwängler's secretary, with the title "The Baton and the Jackboot (American title: "Two Worlds of Music") which has now appeared in Danish. The following lines should be quoted of Riisager's article: "It is not necessary to reproduce the contents of the book - it may be read as a detective novel and ought- to be known by anybody still doubtful as to the problem of the interference of the state with intellectual liberty. This problem is to-day as important as in 1933. We must realize that facts simply rejected in the period of 1933-39 because they seemed incredible to-day must be faced as realities. We now need a resistance movement taking up a positive attitude in this spiritual war by refusing to accept the oppression of intellectual liberty under any ideological pre1ext whatever".
// On page 59 a translation from Russlan into Danish is given of the original text of a resolution regarding the state of the present day Russian composers, published by the Soviet-Russian press on the 12th February. By its strictly condemning tone it has roused attention in several European countries.
// Sigurd Berg, the editor, on page 57 reviews a book by Niels Fr Us which is a historical investigation of The Danish Corps of Court-Trumpeters. The work which has only been issued in 150 numbered copies is characterized as a valuable contribution to Danish musical history.