Friday, August 19, 2011

Gud Helligånd! o, kom - bios of Johannes Johansen, August Winding and Thomas Laub

At Heligeaandkirken. Hymn for noon service when we were in Copenhagen was Danske Salmebog 523 Min nåde er dig nok, a paraphrase of 2 Cor. 12:9 by Johannes Johansen (1983 and 1995). Mel.: Gud Helligånd! o kom
Gud Helligånd! o, kom
Mel.: August Winding 1861
Thomas Laub 1917

Johannes Johansen
Den Store Danske, Glydendal's open encyclopedia, has this: "Johannes Johansen, f. 1925, dansk præst og salmedigter; biskop over Helsingør Stift 1980-95. Han udgav sin første digtsamling, Thurø-Rim, i 1974 og sine første salmer i 1975; en omfattende samling foreligger i Min egen Salmebog (1996). Det har været Johansens bestræbelse at videreføre det bedste i dansk salmetradition, og han var 1900-t.s betydeligste danske salmedigter efter K.L. Aastrup." The Danske Salmebog bio counts 13 psalms and 2 translations.

August Winding
Not much on him ... what there is comes from liner notes of his recordings ... The Bach Cantatas website has this:
The Danish composer, August Winding, was the son of a clergyman who had a passion for collecting and arranging Danish folk songs. Naturally, August studied with his father. Soon, however, he was to move to greater things; he studied piano with Anton Ree who had known Chopin. This was followed by composition lessons with Carl Reinecke and theory with no less a person than Niels W. Gade, the father of Danish music.

In the first instance August Winding was a pianist. He made quite an impression both in Denmark and in concert halls and recital rooms throughout Europe. His specialities were the concerti of Mozart and Beethoven. He enjoyed playing in chamber ensembles as well as performing as a recitalist. From 1867 he taught at the conservatoire in Copenhagen.

As a composer, August Winding is unfairly remembered only for a few hymn tunes. However, he wrote much other music - including a symphony, Concerto for Piano & Orchestra in A minor, Op.16 (1869); Concert allegro for Piano & Orchestra in C minor, Op.29 (c1875); chamber works; songs; piano pieces.

Source: MusicWeb, from liner notes to the album Piano Concertos by August Winding and Emil Hartmann (Danacord)
Contributed [to the Bach site by its administrator] Aryeh Oron (August 2007)
This review, by blogger John Kersey of a recording of solo piano compositions, adds a couple of details:
August Winding was the son of a pastor, and received his first piano lessons from his parents. In 1847 he studied with Carl Reinecke and from 1848-51 with Anton Rée, also studying composition with Niels Gade. In 1856 he completed his studies in Leipzig and Prague, where he studied with Dreyschock. Returning to Denmark, he became well-known for appearances as a soloist, particularly in Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto. In 1864, he married Clara, daughter of J.P.E. Hartmann. From 1867 he taught at the Royal Conservatory, as well as privately. In 1872 he developed a nervous injury to his arm as a result of overwork which forced him to stop concertizing and devote his attention to composition. He resumed teaching at the Conservatory in 1881 and became a member of its board after the death of Gade in 1890. In 1888 he reappeared in public as a soloist and gave a limited number of concerts between then and his death, receiving the accolade of a state professorship and annuity in 1892.
Thomas Laub
Wikipedia's article "Music of Denmark" has this: "Thomas Laub (1852–1927), an organist, was devoted to reintroducing the old Protestant hymn tunes which had been forgotten or altered over the years. He published a number of important works including Kirkemelodier (Church Melodies) (1890), Udvalg af Salme-Melodier i Kirkestil (Selected Hymn Tunes in the Church Style) (1896 and 1902), Dansk Kirkesang (Danish Church Song) (1918) and Musik og Kirke (Music and Church) (1920). Laub also wrote folk song music and together with Carl Nielsen published En Snes danske Viser (A Set of Danish Folk Songs) (1917)." Pix (left) available on Creative Commons license via Wikipedia. But the main bio is a Wikipedia stub.

Laub collaborated with Carl Nielsen on the songbook used for Folk High Schools. See the discussion of Danish songs and hymns" on the Carl Nielsen Society website ... lots of information, summarized in this cutline: "Thomas Laub was one of Nielsen's collaborators on the Folk High School Melody Book and composed two volumes of Danish Songs together with Nielsen." And this:
Carl Nielsen was not religious in the conventional sense of the word. This did not prevent him from writing music for a number of hymns (Salmer og aandelige Sange, composed 1913-1915, published 1919). His friend the organist, composer and reformer of church music, Thomas Laub, had reproached him:

"A composer of hymns must be A Child of the House, by which I do not mean that he has a patent on faith - his faith can be weak, it can be wrong - but he must feel at home, that is to say he must have lived with congregational singing preferably from childhood, he must know it from its uses ...", he wrote to Nielsen.
But there's quite a bit more, including some pretty good atmospherics on Danish folk music.

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