Presented at the Grieg Conference in Bergen May 31, 2007
Rune J. Andersen, Sweden
EDVARD GRIEG, ALF HURUM, AND MUSICAL IMPRESSIONISM
My paper deals with a discrepancy between a composer’s musical output on the one hand and a statement made by the same composer on the other. The composer is Alf Hurum (1882–1972) who is regarded as the first Norwegian musical impressionist and whose compositional career streched from 1903 to 1927. From his Op. 4 from 1911 and onwards the main bulk of his compositions exhibits strong impressions from the music of Claude Debussy. Hurum encountered the music of Debussy for the first time in 1911 in Paris, an encounter that was clearly a positive and liberating revelation to him. In spite of this fact Hurum in the first edition of the reference book Musikkens verden from 1951 says the following: ”During a period of my years of study I was interested in the music of Claude Debussy which pointed the way to greater harmonic freedom—in a couple of early piano pieces I experimented with the whole tone scale—however, this interest was short-lived and did not exercise any influence on my musical development.” In the second edition of Musikkens verden from 1963 Hurum altered his original statement. Now he simply points out that the composers which have had a significant influence on his musical line of development were Grieg, Debussy and Stravinskij.