Friday, June 10, 2005

Aftenposten on the Anniversary

June 8
Bergen

Aftenposten’s Kultur section profiled three young Norwegian soloists who perform on a new double CD from SIMAX: “Våre fem store” (Our Five Greats).

Who have the creators of the CD deemed Norway’s five greats? Edvard Grieg, Johan Svendsen, Johan Halvorsen, Harald Sæverud and Geirr Tveit. For background, see my blog about Dan Dressen’s lecture on Norwegian composers.

Performers are the Oslo Filharmoniske Orkester with conductor Michael Jurowski and soloists. Norge 2005, the organization that planned the country’s centennial, supported the CD project financially. Program chief Anders Ringen said, “Music was part of the nation-building around 1905, so it was completely natural and important to contribute to this project.”

The front page of the Kultur section carries a photo of a princess on stilts, part of Oslo’s entertainment during the June 7 festivities. Inside, an editorial notes that Stortinget (Parliament) and the king stood at the center of the dissolution of the union in 1905, and appropriately did so again during the centennial ceremonies.

Spontaneous applause greeted King Harald and his family along the way from the palace to Parliament, evidence of the people’s good wishes for the monarch after operations and illness.

Lofty words and sentiment seemed to carry the day:

“Today Norway and Sweden are considerably more important to each other economically than the two lands sometimes were for each other before 1905.”

“We are more alike, for good or ill – than some others in our region.”

So as not to insult the Swedes, the Norwegians have taken care to “mark” the anniversary of the dissolution of the union, rather than “celebrate” it. So, the front-page photo of a jubilant footballer and this quotation made me laugh: “We put the Swedes in their place.”

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