David Monrad Johansen

Norwegian conposer, pianist and music critic David Monrad Johansen was born in Vefsn on 8 November 1888 and spent his childhood near Mosjøen. He studied at the conservatory in Christiania (now Oslo), then in Berlin, and then in Paris.

His best-known composition is Voluspaa Op 15 from 1926, for soloists, choir and orchestra, based on the poem of the same name from the medieval Icelandic Edda.  For twenty years he wrote reviews for Aftenposten. He wrote the first major biography in Norwegian of Edvard Grieg.

In the 1920s and 30s Johansen occupied a central position in Norwegian musical life, as the central figure to musical nationalism, but during World War II he sided with the occupying German forces, joining the Norwegian fascist party. As soon as the war ended, he was convicted of treason and served four years of hard labour.

He later returned to favour and continued to receive performances. He was still writing music at the turn of the 1970s - a Quintet for flute and string quartet for the fiftieth anniversary of the Norwegian Composers' Association, when he was seventy-nine, and a string quartet for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Hindar Quartet.

David Monrad Johansen died on 20 February 1974, aged eighty-five.

A selection of articles about David Monrad Johansen

CD Spotlight. Soft-painted Colours - Gerald Fenech listens to music by Norwegian composer David Monrad Johansen. 'This is brilliantly performed Nordic music with warmth written all over it.'

 

 

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