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Wilhelm Sollie: Arild Sandvold's organ works – in the light of Norwegian-German interpretation traditions.

Portrettbilde av Arild Sandvold

A study on how the so-called Reger-Straube-tradition can shed light on Sandvold's organ works and -aesthetics.

Field of study: Performance Practice


Arild Sandvold (1895-1984) was considered one of the leading contemporary Scandinavian organ artists. In the period 1917-1969, he was a professor of organ at the Conservatory of Music in Oslo, and for 33 years he held the position as organist in Oslo Cathedral. For two periods, from 1921 to 1922, and in the autumn of 1927, he studied with Thomaskantor Karl Straube (1873-1950) at the Landes-Konservatorium in Leipzig. These two short periods must have been decisive for Sandvold, as he himself stated: “I can say that I base my entire musical raison d’etre on my years of study in Leipzig, and my main teacher there, Karl Straube, has meant an infinite amount to me, also for my own human development” (in Sandvold, A: «Om jeg ikke husker feil», in Norsk Musikktidsskrift, Kongsvinger 1975, p. 83.) Karl Straube was the first German performer and pedagogue to tackle Max Reger’s (1873-1916) organ works in Germany.

The thesis will examine how German interpretive traditions, primarily represented by Straube and Reger, make themselves felt in Sandvold’s works and views, both on a musical and aesthetic level, and how this insight can contribute to a practical performing context. The project will include a comparative interpretative study in which Sandvold’s performing practice, scores and writings will be contrasted with Straube’s practice.

The intention is to discuss and develop concepts that will be able to visualize the main aspects of Sandvold’s interpretation and performance practice, and which in an overall perspective can contribute to developing research on musical interpretation, especially related to the performance of organ music. Sollie's ambition is to shed light on the relationship between historical awareness and aesthetic experience by analyzing Sandvold’s performance practice.

The research work will be presented as a monograph.

Published: Jun 8, 2022 — Last updated: Mar 8, 2024