Four years after Per Vollestad started working on his thesis about Christian Sinding – the first performing doctorate at the Norwegian Academy of Music – Vollestad has succeeded in what he set out to do. The outside world has learned much more about this composer and his work, both through writings, a cabaret at Festspillene in Bergen on Sinding’s life and art, and the recording of 120 song — many of which have never been heard on record before. Here is the final volume in the CD-series.
Not just words, but pure music
Around the turn of the last century there was in Norway a hard struggle between the Danish-inspired language ‘bokmaal’ and the constructed-from-various-Norwegian-dialects new ‘landsmaal’. The former conservative, the latter more radical. After having written music mostly to German and Danish poetry up until now, Sinding was won over to the ‘landsmaal’-side when he realised the singing qualities of this dialect-inspired tongue. Poet Ivar Mortensson says the songs from then on flowed out of Sinding’s pen like “the brook down the hillside”.
Finally out into the light
In his own day Sinding was one of the most well known composers in Norway, but after his death in 1941 the interest for both man and music vanished. The composer himself is much to blame; all his life he burnt manuscripts and papers that might be of interest to posterity. It certainly did not do things better when he eight weeks before his death became a member of the Norwegian Nazi Party (NS). What the public did not know was that he at this stage had regarded himself as “beside himself” and “not accountable” for a long time, in addition to being almost deaf since 1937. Per Vollestad’s work has shed a new light on this composer, and hearing his songs has posed the question: how is it possible for Norway to sit on such a treasure for so many years without enjoying it?