May 14, 1805 - March 10, 1900
born in Copenhagen, Denmark, composed during the Romantic period
Although he never developed an international following, this innovative leader of Danish Romanticism was greatly appreciated by Liszt, Grieg, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and many famous composers of the period.
Hartmann's father was a violinist, organist, and choirmaster from whom he learned theory, piano, organ, and violin. His mother was a governess to Prince Christian VIII's household, so Hartmann grew up in a physically comfortable and socially prominent environment. Hartmann's father urged him away from a career in music and instead toward law. He graduated from the University of Copenhagen in 1828, which enabled him to support himself for the next 42 years working for the government while also composing, playing the organ, conducting, and teaching. By this time, he had composed several orchestral overtures, three violin sonatas, and a sonata for flute and clarinet; one of his cantatas was premiered in 1826 at the first concert devoted to his works. He held a permanent organist position at Vor Frue Kirke, devoted time to several music societies, and received numerous awards and an honorary doctorate from the University of Copenhagen.
Hartmann wrote three operas: Ravnen, eller Broderprøven (The Raven, or The Brother Test, Op. 12, 1832), Korsarerne (The Cosairs, Op. 16, 1835), and his masterpiece, Liden Kirsten (Little Christine, Op. 44, 1846), with its evocations of the medieval Danish balladic style; the last of these was staged in Weimar in 1856 thanks to the support of Franz Liszt. Hartmann's cantatas also celebrate the Scandinavian spirit in works such as the early classical-style Weyses minde (In memory of Weyse, 1843), Vølvens spaadom (Vølven's Prophecy, 1872) for male voices and orchestra, and Hinsides bjergene (Beyond the Mountain, 1865).
Ancient cultural styles figured into Hartmann's incidental music for Adam Oehlenschlaeger's dramas Olaf den hellige (1838), Hakon Jarl (1844 - 1857), Axel og Valborg (1856), and the Carl Nielsen-like Yrsa (1883). These influences are also evident in Hartmann's music for August Bournonville's ballets Et folkesagn (1854), Valkyrien (1861), and Thrymskviden (1868). Many of Hartmann's later works are religious choruses and songs; his Piano Sonata of 1885 has many forward-looking aspects. ~ "Blue" Gene Tyranny, Rovi