Ole Bull: Norway's Romantic Musician and Cosmopolitan Patriot

Front Cover
Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1993 - Biography & Autobiography - 354 pages
0 Reviews
Norway's Ole Bull led one of the most remarkable and celebrated lives of the nineteenth century. Colorful and charismatic, he was a composer and virtuoso violinist who won acclaim from Moscow to Cairo and from Canada to Cuba, associated with the cultural elite of his day, and promoted himself and the culture of Norway with a flair that rivaled P.T. Barnum's. A child prodigy, Bull was admitted to the Bergen orchestra as first violin at the age of eight. He soon was playing to admiring audiences across Europe and in North America, idolized on both sides of the Atlantic for his superb technical skill in improvisation and his ability to play the violin polyphonically. His success was marked by controversy, however. Though he was hailed as "the Paganini of the North, " some critics labeled him a charlatan for his seemingly magic tricks on the violin. Ole Bull counted among his friends and admirers many of the great names of his era: Schumann and Liszt, Emerson and Wagner. Longfellow found in Bull a model for the musician in his Tales of a Wayside Inn. Hans Christian Andersen portrayed Bull as a veritable fairy prince in his "Episode of Ole Bull's Life, " a characterization that in part inspired Ibsen's Peer Gynt. Although he spent most of his adult life abroad, Bull's love for and pride in his native land were always manifest. He was a staunch Norwegian nationalist, a tireless promoter of its native art and culture. Some of the concert improvisations for which he was celebrated were rooted in his native slatter (folkdance tunes). He modified his own instrument, flattening the bridge and making the bow longer and heavier, using the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle as a model. By mid-century, Bull wa able to realize his dream of establishing a national theater in Bergen. He gave Henrik Ibsen a start in theater management, employed the poet Bjornstjerne Bjornson, and promoted the music of Edvard Grieg. His attempt to establish a Norwegian colony in the United States, however,
  

What people are saying - Write a review

Ole Bull: Norway's romantic musician and cosmopolitan patriot

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The authors, a father and daughter team, have produced a readable and well-researched account of the life, work, and cultural importance of Norwegian violinist, composer, and patriot Bull (1810-80). A ... Read full review

Contents

Nation and Family
3
Musical Prodigy 18101828
7
Ole Bull Meets Henrik Wergeland 18281831
13
Pleasures and Problems 18311833
20
Breakthrough in Italy 18331835
26
Recognition 18351836
37
Back to Norway via Moscow 18361838
46
Touring Europe 18381843
58
Last Years Bull and Boston 18761880
184
THE MUSICIAN
201
The Violinist and Folk Music
203
The Violinist as a Cosmopolitan
211
The Italian Style
225
Music for the Public
250
The Norwegian Style
259
THE MAN AND THE MYTH
269

American Adventure 18431845
78
From Algiers to Revolution 18451848
92
Norwegian Theater and Henrik Ibsen 18481852
102
OleanaA Paternalistic Colony 18521857
115
Ole Bull Meets Bj0rnson 18571862
137
An Academy of Music 18621867
149
NorwegianAmerican 18671872
161
Second FamilyBull and Madison 18721876
174
The Myth
277
List of Works
293
Appendix A The Bull Name
315
Musical Dedications
321
Bibliography
329
Index
337
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1993)

Einar Haugen is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Scandinavian and Linguistics, emeritus, at Harvard University.  Camilla Cai is assistant professor of music at Kenyon College.  They are father and daughter.

Bibliographic information