Ole Bull Norwegian Pioneer

Ole Bull - a Norwegian Pioneer

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of his birth (the violinist virtuoso and composer was born in 1810 and died in 1880).

The name seems veiled in magic and myth - precisely the way he wanted it to be. The wizard-like virtuoso on endless tours all over the world, the wild and unstoppable entrepreneur, the gambler, the discoverer of Ibsen and Grieg...

Arve Tellefsen has had a passion for Ole Bull and his music for more than 30 years. Now we can enjoy Tellefsen's unequalled tone in SACD Surround Sound for the first time - in repertoire that is really close to his heart.

On this release Tellefsen presents both the extremely virtuoso, slightly melancholy and above all the strong melodic material that is so characteristic of Ole Bull's music. By way of his remarkable ability to carry a melody Tellefsen takes the listener down a path leading away from everyday life. With the vocal quality of his violin tone, Tellefsen opens up for the world of magic - precisely what Bull the composer wanted to do with his music.

"Ole Bull was the first international celebrity to come out of Norway. He was the 'star' of the 1800s, admired, despised, ambitious and intense", says Arve Tellefsen "the stories are many and separating fiction from fact is not always easy.

Just as the pop stars of today, he had a good sense for what kind of stories that would stick in the minds of the public."

Bull was the front man when the first theatre with Norwegian as its main language was founded, and he hired the 23 year old Henrik Ibsen to run it.

He inspired his contemporaries and those who came after him so that they would use their Norwegian origin as a trademark when promoting themselves in the international arena.


It was Bull who in his national-romantic efforts to promote a distinct Norwegian identity took the initiative to establish the first Norwegian-speaking theatre in the country, in Bergen, and who went out and recruited a brilliant but struggling playwright from Skien in East Norway to head the theatre.

The young playwright’s name was Henrik Ibsen.

Another person who benefited from Bull’s musical influence and wisdom was Edvard Grieg.

It was he who persuaded Grieg’s parents to send their son to Europe for his musical education, and soon Grieg came to consider Bull his mentor.

At Bull’s funeral in 1880, Grieg gave the following oration:

"Because you were above all others an honor to your country; because you above all others have raised our people to the sunlit heights of art;

because you were the first pioneer of our new, more national music, above all others faithful, warm-hearted and soul-conquering;

because you have thus planted a seed that will bear rich fruit in the future and for which coming generations will bless you; with a thousand and again a thousand thanks for all of this,

I place this laurel wreath on your grave on behalf of Norwegian music.

May you rest in peace."


Ole Bull Norwegian Pioneer

Ole Bull - Norway's Romantic Musician

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