Bjarne Brustad - Biography

Bjarne Brustad

Bjarne Brustad (1895-1978) was born in Oslo. He studied composition and violin at the Music Conservatory in Oslo, and also in Berlin, where his teachers included Gustav Lange, Emil Telmanyi, and Carl Flesch. He made his debut as a violinist in Oslo in 1914, and for many years he played the violin and viola with the Philharmonic Society Orchestra in the Norwegian capital; from 1928 to 1943 he was solo-viola player with this orchestra. He has taught composition and violin at the Norwegian State Academy of Music, and in 1951 he was granted "kunstnerlønn" (the annuityawarded by the State).

Brustad was always alert to trends and happenings in the musical world at large, and he was one of the first Norwegian to embrace impressionism. A good example is provided by his oriental Suite for orchestra (1920). In the 1930s he was to some extent taken up with Norwegian folklore and neo-classisism, and in 1950 or thereabouts he radicalised his tone language, stopping short, however, of becoming an atonalist. Since the mid-1960s he tended to forsake such tone-language, and his recent compositions are all endowed with a simply musicality; they are, he said, "music for ordinary people".

Eventyrsuite for solo violin of 1932 is one of the finest instances of folk music providing the inspiration for a formal work. Brustad himself felt that, during the 1930s, he had moved away from the melodic towards a specifically instrumental-technical and epic-lyric style embracing a larger canvas, as exemplified by the central movements of the Eventyrsuite

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