Oakeley, Sir Herbert (Stanley)

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(Ger. Essek; Hung. Eszék).

The largest town in Slavonia, the region of Croatia on the Drava. It was first mentioned in 1196. Immediately after the expulsion of the Turks, in 1687, Jesuits and Franciscans arrived. The first full organ was built in 1762 in the Franciscan church by Antonius Römer of Graz; the Franciscans employed organists and Kapellmeister, and assembled extensive musical archives. The military band (‘musica turcica’) also participated in church and civic festivities.

In the 19th century increased prosperity brought a flourishing of music. The Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde der Königlichen Freistadt Eszék (1830–38) took part at mass and in concerts, and organized a music school. Founded in 1847 by Pajo Kolarić, the first civilian band planted that tradition in the town. The Esseker Zivilkapelle (1867–76) had 20 members under a board led by Count Gustav Prandau, a musical amateur whose legacy includes about 600 compositions of his own and of Central European masters (held by the Museum of Slavonia in the town); the board helped arrange promenade concerts and supervised music in the primary schools and Gymnasium. Choral groups also date from this period: the Essegger Gesangsverein was founded in 1868 by the teacher and organist Ivan Nepomuk Hummel, and the Lipa society (1876–8, refounded 1894) remains active. The Osječko Dobrovoljno Glazbeno Društvo (Osijek Voluntary Music Society) – founded in 1891, renamed Kuhač in 1907 (after the Osijek-born musicologist Franjo Ksaver Kuhač, 1834–1911) and active until the end of World War II – had about 100 members, an orchestra (from 1891) and a music school (from 1921, still in existence). Also born in the town was the violin virtuoso Franjo Krežma (1862–81).

German troupes brought opera and operetta in the 19th century. The foundation in 1907 of the Hrvatsko Narodno Kazalište (Croatian National Theatre), with an opera company, attracted many professional musicians. That theatre has stayed in operation (with breaks during 1927–35 and World War II), specializing in chamber pieces in the Croatian and international repertories. In 1970 an annual festival of chamber opera and ballet was initiated, the Annale Komorne Opere i Baleta, and in 1976 a biennial piano competition, Memorijal Darko Lukić. A Filharmonijsko Društvo (Philharmonic Society) existed between 1921 and the start of World War II.


L. Šaban and Z. Blažeković: ‘Izveštaj o dvogodišnjem sređivanju triju glazbenih zbirki u Osijeku i pregledu glazbenih rukopisa i knjiga u franjevaćkim samostanima u Slavoniji i Srijemu’ [Report on the classification and cataloguing of three musical archives in Osijek during 1978–9 and the review of musical manuscripts and books in Franciscan monasteries in Slavonia and Srijem in 1978–9], Arti musices: muzikološki zbornik, xi (1980), 47–95

K. Kovačević, ed.: ‘Osijek’, Leksikon jugoslavenske muzike, ii (Zagreb, 1984), 129–31

B. Ban: Glazbena škola Franje Kuhača: povijest i život [Kuhač's music school: history and life] (Osijek, 1996) [with Eng. summary]


Oscar I, King of Sweden.

Composer and patron of music. See under his son, Prince Gustaf.

Oscar II, King of Sweden.

Patron of music, younger brother of Prince Gustaf.


Capital city of Norway. It was founded about 1050 and became the capital in 1299. It was officially known as Oslo until 1624, when it was renamed Christiania; from 1897 it was called Kristiania, and in 1925 reverted to Oslo.

Little survives of the music of the Middle Ages. The so-called ‘Olavsmusikken’ was used during the Mass of St Olaf on 29 July, and was probably partly composed in a church or religious house in Oslo; the sequences Lux illuxcit and Predicasti are extant. Another sequence, the ‘St Hallvardsekvensen’, may also have originated in Oslo. The Reformation was introduced to Norway in 1536, but Catholic musical practice continued until the introduction of Reformed liturgical music (Hans Thommissøn’s Psalmebog, 1569, and Niels Jesperssøn’s Graduale, 1573). The leading musicians in Oslo, as in the rest of Norway, from the end of the 16th century until the beginning of the 18th, were the organists and municipal musicians; grammar schools (formerly the cathedral schools) also cultivated music.

The first municipal musician in Oslo recorded by name was Peter Trompeter (1637); later figures were Erik Piber (c1650), Paul Røder (1655–72), Henrik Meyer (1710–58), Peter Høeg (1758–60) and C.F. Groth (1795–1828). The earliest known organist was Lauris Orgemester (1524); later organists included Antoni Walter (d 1668), Johan Utrecht (from 1668), J.F. Classen (from 1749) and J.C. Krøyer (from 1777, d 1809). The cathedral school existed by about 1250. The first known cantor was Narve Toresson (1474); others were Klemet Pederssøn (d 1581), Claus Berg (from 1581, d 1614) and Classen (from 1720). After 1800 the office of cantor in Oslo was combined with that of organist at the Vor Frelsers Kirke. From the mid-18th century the number of semi-public and public concerts in the city increased; many foreign performers visited it, including Mingotti’s opera company and G.J. Vogler, and musical societies were founded. Its first dramatic society was formed in 1764; the better-known Dramatiske Selskab was established in 1780, reorganized in 1799 and disbanded in 1838. The municipal musicians generally directed public concerts.

Although the city was the capital of Norway for hundreds of years, it did not replace Trondheim and Bergen as the country’s musical centre until the early 19th century. This status was connected with the institutions then established: the Musikalske Lyceum (1810–38) and the Christiania Theater in 1827 (which became the Nationale Theater in 1899). The first Norwegian Singspiel, Waldemar Thrane's Mountain Adventure, was presented at the Musikalske Lyceum in 1825. Light opera was occasionally performed at the Christiania Theater from as early as 1827. From about 1860 the theatre produced one new opera a year as well as many operettas. When the renowned L.M. Lindeman became organist at the cathedral (formerly the Vor Frelsers Kirke) in 1839, the city gradually became a centre of sacred music; Lindeman’s comprehensive work on the collection of Norwegian folk music was also carried out there.

Famous teachers, composers and conductors now came into closer contact with the capital, among them Kjerulf, Grieg, Johan Svendsen, J.G. Conradi and J.D. Behrens. Conradi founded the first choral societies there, and Behrens had considerable influence on Norwegian choral singing as founder and conductor of the Norske Studentersangforening (1845), the Christiania Handelsstands Sangforening (Mercantile Choral Society, 1847) and the Christiania Haandverkersangforening (Artisans’ Choral Society, 1848). The German ‘Harz-Verein’ orchestra went to Norway in 1840 and in six years gave more than 300 concerts in and around Oslo, mainly of music by such composers as the elder Johann Strauss and Joseph Lanner. Many of its members, including Ferdinand Rojahn and Carl Warmuth, settled there. In 1843 Warmuth founded a music business which continued until 1908; as the country’s largest music dealers and publishers it was of considerable importance in Norwegian musical life. Other significant names in this sphere were the Hals Brothers (who founded a piano factory in 1847, a concert office in 1880, a music shop and press in 1887), Edvard Winther (a music shop from 1822 and press from 1826), P. Håkonsen (shop and press from 1881) and H. Zapffe (shop and press from 1893).

The Musikalske Lyceum presented a series of vocal and instrumental works as well as light opera, and the Philharmoniske Selskab, formed in 1846, continued this tradition. Purely symphonic concerts were rare until Kjerulf and Conradi began their subscription concerts in 1858, and the attendance at these concerts was disappointing; they had to be suspended the following year, and the Philharmoniske Selskab came once more to the fore. However, in 1867 Grieg and Otto Winter-Hjelm started their subscription concerts, which this time met with success. Until 1871 Grieg often conducted these concerts and in 1871 the Musikforening was founded, largely on his initiative; it was active until the Filharmoniske Selskap was formed in 1919. Some of Norway’s greatest musicians served as conductor of the Musikforening: Grieg, Svendsen, Ole Olsen, Johan Peter Selmer and Iver Holter. Between 1899 and 1919 the orchestra of the Nationale Theater also gave popular orchestral concerts, conducted by Johan Halvorsen.

The Musik-konservatori was of great importance in the musical life of the country; founded in Christiania in 1883 by L.M. Lindeman and his son Peter, it was initially a school for organists, but was designated a conservatory of music in 1894. Choral activity increased steadily during the century. Many new societies were founded, such as Grøndahl’s Choir (1878), the Ceciliaforening (1879) and Holter’s Korforening in 1897. On several occasions these took part in great choral and orchestral concerts. Several song festivals were held in Christiania (1866, 1896, 1914 and 1935). The Christiania Strygekvartet (1865–94) was the first Norwegian chamber group; another ensemble, the Kvartetforening, was formed in 1876.

For economic and social reasons there was no opera company in Oslo before 1950, and until then there were only occasional performances of opera. Foreign groups paid occasional visits, the Lyceum had given some performances, and a series of works was presented at the Christiania Theater, often with foreign performers; until 1919 the Nationalteatret gave performances of many operas and light operas. Between 1918 and 1921 Kristiania had a regular stage for opera, the Opéra Comique, but it was plagued by economic difficulties. In 1950 the Norsk Operaselskap (Norwegian Opera Company) was formed, giving opera a considerably firmer foundation. It gave frequent performances, and eventually the Norske Opera was opened in 1959 under the direction of Kirsten Flagstad, subsequently presenting opera and ballet of an international standard. The company is now funded by the government. The Oslo Sommeropera festival (1983–92) gave several Norwegian premières, such as Ariadne auf Naxos, La clemenza di Tito, La finta giardiniera and A Midsummer Night's Dream, and also church concerts. Both the Oslo Nye Teater and the Norske Teater give many musicals.

The Filharmoniske Selskap (Philharmonic Society) was formed in 1919 to replace both the Musikforening and the orchestra of the Nationale Theater, and has become Norway’s foremost professional symphony orchestra. In 1980 it changed its name to the Oslo Filharmoniske Orkester. Mariss Jansons became chief conductor in 1979 and Esa-Pekka Salonen was the permanent guest conductor from 1984 to 1989. The orchestra, which had 102 members in 1995, has made a number of tours to the USA, Japan and several European countries, attended several international festivals and made many outstanding recordings. The Oslo Filharmoniske Kor, founded in 1921, has some 90 members; Stefan Sköld became director in 1990. The Norske Kammerorkester (founded 1977) is based in Oslo. It was directed by Terje Tønnesen from 1977 to 1981, succeeded by Iona Brown in 1984. It has made many recordings and tours and collaborated with leading soloists including Mstislav Rostropovich. The city acquired a Konserthus in 1977; its two halls can seat 1700 and 300 and the organ in the large hall has 90 stops. The city's newest and largest concert venue is the Oslo Spectrum (opened 1991), accommodating an audience of 11,000 (major sports events are also held there). The orchestra of the Norwegian Opera has occasionally performed away from the opera house. The establishment of a broadcasting station, Norsk Rikskringkasting (NRK), in 1925 was of great importance for the country’s musical life. It has supported many Norwegian performers and ensembles, and founded its own orchestra in 1946; it also has several choirs.

Chamber groups in the capital in the 20th century included the quartets of G.F. Lange (1899–1906), Buschmann (1911–19), Johan Halvorsen (1915–19), the Filharmoniske Selskap (formed in 1919) and Hindar (1944), the Norske Blåsekvintett (1955) and the Oslo Blåse-solister (1972). The Oslo Sinfonietta, established in 1986, plays mainly contemporary music, as do the Borealis and Cicada ensembles. The city’s most important music traders and publishers are Norsk Musikforlag (founded 1909) and Musik-Hus (1939). Among the leading organists in the city during the 1990s were Terje Kvarn and Kåre Nordstoga (at the cathedral), John Lammethun (Uranienborg Kirke) and Harald Herresthal (Majorstua Kirke).

The conservatory was reorganized as the Musikkhøgskole in 1973, and came under full government funding in 1978. The Statens Operahøgskole was established in 1964 as Statens Operaklasse. The Østland Musikkonservatorium also serves as a conservatory for the Oslo district. Private schools include the Barratt-Dues Musikkinstitutt (1927). The University of Oslo set up its institute of musicology in 1958. The Norwegian music collection in the university library in Oslo is the country’s largest music library. The Norsk Folkemusikkinstitutt (1951) has a comprehensive collection of Norwegian traditional music. There are also collections of music in the Deichman Library and the Musikkhøgskole, and of musical instruments at Bygdøy Folk Museum and at the Musikkhøgskole.

The capital has also become a centre of jazz. Not until about 1950 was there any great activity in Norwegian jazz; the Norsk Jazzforbund was founded in Oslo in 1953 and the Norsk Jazzarkiv in 1981. Most of the country’s musical organizations are based in Oslo: the Norges Organistforbund (1904), the Norsk Musikerforbund (1911), the Norsk Musikklaereres Landsforbund (1914), the Norsk Komponistforening (1917), Ny Musikk (the Norwegian branch of the ISCM, 1938), Norske Populaerautorer (NOPA, 1957), the Landslag for Musikk i Skolen (1955) and the Rikskonsertene (1967), a foundation for the promotion of new music. Festivals based in Oslo include the Oslo Kammermusikkfestival (founded 1989), the Oslo Jazzfestival and the Ultima-Oslo Contemporary Music Festival. World Music Day was held in Oslo in 1953 and 1990. Queen Sonja's international music competition was established in 1988.


H.J. Huitfeldt: Christiania theaterhistorie (Copenhagen, 1876)

J.G. Conradi: Kortfattet historisk oversigt over musikens udvikling og nurvaerende standpunkt i Norge [Short historical review of the development and present state of music in Norway] (Christiania, 1878)

Nordisk musik-tidende (1880–92)

T.H. Blanc: Christiania theaters historie i tidsrummet 1827–77 (Kristiania, 1899)

G. Reiss: Musikken ved den middelalderlige Olavsdyrkelse i Norden (Kristiania, 1912)

M. Berkenhoff: Boken om Filharmonien (Oslo, 1929)

I.E. Kindem: Den norske operas historie (Oslo, 1941)

E. Høigaard: Oslo Kathedralskoles historie (Oslo, 1942)

A. Berg and B. Hagtvedt: Vår Frelsers Kirke (Oslo, 1950)

A. Hernes: Impuls og tradisjon i norsk musikk 1500–1800 (Oslo, 1952) [with Fr. summary]

Ø. Anker: Christiania Theaters repertoire 1827–99 (Oslo, 1956)

Ø. Anker: Kristiania Norske Theaters repertoire 1852–1863 (Oslo, 1956)

H. Huldt-Nystrøm: Fra munkekor til symfoniorkester: musikkliv i det gande Christiania og i Oslo (Oslo, 1969)

E. Nordsjø: Fra drøm til virkelighet: norsk operasangerforbund 1926–1976 (Oslo, 1975)

N. Grinde: ‘Latinskolen og dens kor i Christiania ca 1720–40’, SMN, iii (1977), 15–32

K. Michelsen: ‘Om musikkfirmaet Carl Warmuth i Christiania’, SMN, iii (1977), 33–51

H. Huldt-Nystrøm: ‘Hva sang disciplene ved Christiania Kathedralskole i 1600-årene?’, SMN, v (1979), 27–48

A. Hendriksen: Musikalsk virksomhet ved Christiania Theater fra 1850 til 1877 (diss., U. of Oslo, 1983)

E. Solbu and H. Jorgensen, eds.: En levende tradisjon: Jubileumsskrift til 100-års dagen for opprettelsen av Musikkonservatoriet i Oslo (Oslo, 1983)

I. Halvorsen: Det musikalske lyceum (diss., U. of Oslo, 1984)

K. Michelsen: ‘Historien om Harz-Musikverein’, SMN, xiv (1988), 147–74

Ø. Norheim and H. Herresthal, eds.: Carl Warmuth, kongelig Hof-Musikhandler, Christiania: Festskrift til 150-årsjubileet 1993 (Oslo, 1993)


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