In the 19th century, Scandinavian musical life was long dominated by the stylistic influences of European musical centres such as Vienna, Paris, Leipzig and Berlin. That is because most of the Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish composers studied music abroad. One of the most important institutions to do so was the renowned Leipzig Conservatory, which many future composers from the Nordic countries attended after it was founded at Felix Mendelssohn’s instigation in 1843. They included, besides Niels Gade and Edvard Grieg, Halfdan Kjerulf, Johan Severin Svendsen, Johan Halvorsen, Christian Sinding and Robert Kajanus.
Berlin played a similarly significant role; Franz Berwald ended up here for more than ten years. Wilhelm Stenhammar completed his training as a pianist with Heinrich Barth at the conservatory in the Prussian musical metropolis. Jean Sibelius studied here with Albert Becker, while Ture Rangström studied with Hans Pfitzner. All of them plunged enthusiastically into the concert life of Leipzig and Berlin, got to know countless new works, undertook pilgrimages to Bayreuth and – thoroughly enjoyed Germany’s culinary offerings. Not least because of their capacity to hold their drink, the Scandinavian music students were also called “Vikings” in certain establishments.
In his Philharmonic Salon Götz Teutsch leads us down the trails of the northerners. Under the heading The “Vikings” in Germany, Thomas Thieme will read texts by Henrik Ibsen, Knut Hamsun, Herman Bang, August Strindberg and others. Members of the Berliner Philharmoniker, as well as Cordelia Höfer (piano), will play works by Berwald, Sibelius, Stenhammar, Rangström, Gade and Grieg.