Symphony No. 2 Op. 34 “Fra Riddertiden”
Emil Wilhelm Emilius Zinn Hartmann – Symphony No. 2 “Fra Riddertiden” Op. 34
(b. Copenhagen, 21.February 1836 – d. Copenhagen, 18. July 1898)
Die Barden. p.3
There were many children of musical geniuses. Franz Xaver Mozart, Axel Gade, Siegfried Wagner or the numerous sons of Bach are only a few examples. Although some of them lived in different times and countries, they all have one thing in common: each of them tried to free himself from the oversized shadow of his father. The Danish composer Emil Hartmann also falls into the unloved category, since his father Johann Peter Emilius Hartmann (1805-1900) was, along with Niels Wilhelm Gade, the leading composer in Denmark. He, like Gade, brought a lasting “national tone” to Danish art music. Under these circumstances, it was extremely difficult for the “son of the great Hartmann”, as one could often read in the newspapers, to secure a place in the domestic concert scene. Whether this was absolutely necessary at all remains to be seen. For abroad, especially in Germany, Emil Hartmann was frenetically celebrated. Alongside Niels W. Gade’s music, Hartmann Junior’s works became Denmark’s most important and popular musical exports. Nevertheless, the shadow of his father, in which he was born in 1836, made him think with sorrow throughout his life of his Danish homeland, where he was denied any idiosyncrasy and a personal style. However, this does not correspond to the facts, which can easily be verified by his Nordic-influenced works with Mendelssohnian influence.
Emil Hartmann was – surprisingly – largely self-taught as a composer. With the exception of a few piano lessons with Niels Ravnkilde (1823-1890), a pupil of his father, there is no evidence of any musical studies. His father certainly helped him in the beginning, but he himself was occupied with so many pupils and tasks that his influence may not have been as great as one might assume. At the young age of 22, Emil Hartmann celebrated his debut as a composer. His Passion Psalms for soprano, choir and orchestra were performed on the occasion of a Maundy Thursday service, and his career thus slowly took off. A great success was the ballet Fjeldstuen (The Mountain Hut), which was performed at the Royal Theatre. Consequently, Emil Hartmann quickly became one of the great and promising hopes of Danish musical life and was therefore awarded the „Ancker Legat“ in 1867, which enabled the aspiring composer to undertake a six-month study trip to Germany. The budding composer was extremely enthusiastic about the rich musical life of his neighbouring country and therefore wished to “set the tone” there himself one day. And indeed – Hartmann began to gain a foothold in German musical life relatively quickly. Although his wife Bolette and the children were waiting for him at home in Denmark, Germany increasingly became Hartmann’s second centre of life. A real breakthrough came with the performance of his E minor Symphony – later not counted – by Carl Liebig in Berlin in 1868. Numerous revivals and new works followed, so that Hartmann was able to report with pleasure to his wife about his triumphal procession across the German concert podiums. He owed his success not least to the numerous contacts he had found over the years who were prepared to champion his work. In order to get performances, he pressed them in a sometimes penetrating manner, which, however, also led to his success – around 1870, Hartmann was mentioned in the same breath as Niels Wilhelm Gade, Anton Svendsen and Edvard Grieg! …
Full preface / Komplettes Vorwort > HERE