Presented at the Grieg Conference in Bergen June 2, 2007
Camilla Hambro, Norway/Sweden
Doctoral student, University of Gothenburg
Were Agathe Backer Grøndahl’s Performative Strength Wasted upon “Scrappy Works like Edvard Grieg’s”-?
At the untimely death of Edvard Grieg’s lesser-known compatriot, close friend and interpreter Agathe Backer Grøndahl (1847-1907) he made the following entry in his diary: If a mimosa could sing, it would sound like her most beautiful, intimate tunes. As the Norwegian composer and music critic Pauline Hall noted 1947, Backer Grøndahl became a banner for women composers in Grieg’s era, a stimulation for those that followed in her footsteps. With 150 piano works, an Andante for piano and orchestra, Scherzo for orchestra, the cantata Nytaarsgry, arrangements of Norwegian folktunes and over 250 romances, Backer Grøndahl’s output is a major contribution to 19th century music. Beside her active life and glittering career, Backer Grøndahl, together with her sister Harriet Backer and Erica Nissen, made it a priority to join the women’s suffrage movement’s club in Kristiania.
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Camilla Hambro paper 2007