Hans Christian Andersen and Music



The life of Hans Christian Andersen was full of music. Already as a child in Odense, his beautiful singing voice was known by many people, and with the nickname "The Little Funen Nightingale" he got access to some of the upper class homes, where he entertained with song and recitation. Having been succesful in this "business", he wanted to make his fortune at The Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, and eventually in his "years of trial" 1819-22, he actually gained access to the theatre - first as a private pupil of the theatre's choirmaster and later he was accepted at the singing school. Throughout his life Andersen pursued a joy in singing and entertaining, and he gladly pulled out his socalled "show horses", including e.g. the Italian "Te voglio bene".

Andersen's libretto for Hartmann's opera "The Raven" (1832), with a dedication to Hans Christian Ørsted's daughter, Mathilde.

As a writer he wrote 8 librettos, including one of the most popular Danish operas ever: "Liden Kirsten" (Little Kirsten). The music was by Andersen's close friend, I.P.E. Hartmann (1805-1900). Besides, he wrote the text for several musical plays and vaudevilles and many of his poems were set to music by contemporary composers. Some of these songs are still a central part of Danish musical life, and in som cases with new music, e.g. in the instance of Andersen's beautiful tribute to his Danish homeland
"In Denmark I Was Born": Poul Schierbeck's new music from 1926 has to some degree superseded the original by Henrik Rung from 1850. Also international composers set Andersen's lyrics to music, e.g. Robert Schumann and Edvard Grieg.

Even more composers have made music under the inspiration of Andersen: music without words - e.g. Eric Korngold's "The Princess on the Pea" - as well as numerous dramatic settings with music based on fairy tales and Andersen's own life-story. This repertoire covers a range from Strawinsky's "The Nightingale" (1914) to Frank Loesser's musical "Hans Christian Andersen" (1952).

www.odmus.dk/andersen/musik presents a database with hundreds of musical titles inspired by the work of Hans Christian Andersen. Subsequently, it will of course be developed, and we will gratefully accept any information to improve the content. Please contact: .

The manuscript for Andersen's "In Denmark I was Born" (1850)

In Denmarks I was Born