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Thread: Fartein Valen

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    Default Fartein Valen

    The Norwegian composer Fartein Valen was born in Stavanger in 1887 but spent his early years, five of them, in Madagascar. His parents were Christian missionaries.

    Valen studied composition first at the Conservatory in Oslo from 1906 to 1909 and then at the Musikhochschule in Berlin. Whilst in Berlin and subjected to a number of strong influences, Valen composed his first published works, among them his Violin Sonata, Op. 3. The works composed in Berlin are in a mature, late-romantic vein and use quite a different musical language to his later works.

    From 1917 to 1924 Valen struggled to develop as a composer, a struggle which resulted in the Song for orchestra Ave Maria, Op. 4 and the Piano Trio, Op. 5, the only two works to emerge from these years. Independently of the Second Viennese School Valen continued to push back the frontiers of tonality until they ceased to exist. For the next twenty years after he produced systematic exercises in counterpoint, both in the style of Bach and his own strictly executed dissonant polyphony. During the 1930s and 1940s Valen composed a series of large-scale orchestral works, including his four symphonies, the Violin Concerto and the symphonic poem Kirkegården ved haver (The Churchyard by the Sea).

    During his lifetime Valen's music was unfortunately little understood, but he has subsequently come to be regarded as one of Norway's most important contributions to twentieth-century music. Despite all opposition he never lost faith in his chosen path as a composer, drawing strength from a deeply held Christian outlook.


    Recommended listening:

    Violin Sonata. A fine early work composed whilst in Berlin.

    String Quartet No. 2. Valen is chiefly recognized for his polished, atonal style, beautifully showcased in the first movement of his second (and last) quartet.

    String Quartet No. 1.

    A masterly Violin Concerto.

    The symphonies (I am just starting to warm up to them):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWd_AW0RGtU
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebiawpQCWYw
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lx7TWogGvFg



    Valen was certainly one of the great composers to come out of Norway, and should be recognized as such. His unique style is a blend of classical lyricism and atonality, making for special hearings.

    What do you think of this composer's music?
    Last edited by Portamento; Mar-25-2017 at 19:18.

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    I certainly will explore, not just yet on a Sunday morning, thanks for posting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    I certainly will explore, not just yet on a Sunday morning, thanks for posting.
    Valen will be a bit adventurous, as from what I gather you are not much of a modernist!
    Last edited by Portamento; Mar-26-2017 at 06:19.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Portamento View Post
    Valen will be a bit adventurous, as from what I gather you are not much of an atonal fan
    But always open for another try.

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    Good. I am excited to hear what you think.

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    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    Fartein Valen is on the syllabus for music history in 3rd year of highschool here in Norway. The famous composition being "Churchyard by the Sea". I find his music very beautiful

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    I certainly will explore, not just yet on a Sunday morning, thanks for posting.
    Have you done your exploring yet? I would love to know what you think of Valen.

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    An interesting, short, old documentary from his Valevåg house and featuring the Violin Concerto

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2Te8aA7pN0

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