HCA NEWS Music for Hans Christian Andersen

Ten brand new orchestral works will be part of the focus on Hans Christian Andersen for the jubilee year of 2005.

By H.C. Andersen 2005 - 09 October 2002

With solid support from the Ministry of Culture, Edition SAMFUNDET is launching the first truly international project to celebrate the 200th birthday of Hans Christian Andersen in 2005, Symphonic Fairy Tales.

Ten newly composed Danish orchestral works, based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales and poems, will premiere at family concerts all over the world around Andersen's birthday on 2 April 2005. The project will involve symphony orchestras on four continents and, at the moment, negotiations are underway to bring a number of leading international orchestras into the project. 
Symphonic Fairy Tales has been under preparation since May 2000 and has been developed in close cooperation with the City of Odense's secretariat for the Hans Christian Andersen's bicentenary. The composers connected to the project are Per Nørgård, Ib Nørholm, Fuzzy, Bent Lorentzen, Sven Erik Werner, Jesper Koch, Morten Olsen, Svend Nielsen, John Frandsen and Svend Hvidtfelt Nielsen.
Edition SAMFUNDET (The Society for the Publication of Danish Music) was founded in 1871, originally as a private, non-commercial enterprise to secure a future for important works in printed form for Danish cultural history.  Since its foundation, the publishing house has developed into one of the leading Danish publishers, representing one of Denmark's most important catalogues of solo, chamber and orchestra music. 

Musical Andersen
There has been a noticeable interest in Hans Christian Andersen in a musical context since the writer's own time.  He himself worked in close cooperation with the most distinguished Danish composers of the day and, as early as 1829 - that is, as a 24-year old he debuted as an author for the vaudeville Love in Nicholas' Tower, which was to prove to be the first in a long line of musical dramatic works from his hand.  In 1832 came the first of the more serious works, namely the ballad opera The Bride of Lammermoor, with the music of I. Bredal, and the opera The Raven with the music of J.P.E. Hartmann.

His collaboration with J.P.E. Hartmann was particularly fruitful in subsequent years, resulting among other things in the opera Liden Kirsten (1848), which is today one of the period's most successful and durable Danish works.  Internationally as well, Andersen had excellent musical connection and was personal in contact with, among others, Franz Liszt, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Richard Wagner and Robert Schumann.

The latter also composed music for Andersen's poetry.  In "Fünf Lieder" op. 40, which is dedicated to Andersen, there are four of his poems, translated by Adalbert von Chamisso. He is the author of the fifth poem, Verratene Liebe, but Andersen's texts are: Mrzveilchen (March Violins), Muttertraum (A Mother's Sorrow), Der Soldat (The Soldier) and Der Spielmann (The Musician).

Posthumous music
Even after Andersen's death in 1875, interest in interpreting his works musically has been great.  Later composers have particularly found inspiration in his fairy tales for their creative work. 

The earliest known composition inspired by Andersen's fairy tales is the programmatic orchestral piece, Four Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen, musically sketched by Johan Ole Emil Hornemann, which had its premiere at TIVOLI in 1848 - hence, while Andersen was still alive.

The first time a fairy tale formed the basis for a musical dramatic arrangement, however, was in Johan Bartoldy's operetta The Swineherd from 1886. In Hans Christian Andersen and Music (Copenhagen 1930), the Danish author Gustav Hetsch counted no less than 29 Scandinavian composers (22 of whom were Danish) who had up to that time written music for, about or inspired by Andersen, and a countless number have been written since.

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