Edvard Fliflet Bræin - Biography

Edvard Fliflet Bræin

Edvard Fiflet Bræin (1924-1976) studied at the Oslo Conservatory of Music during 1942-45, as well as with Bjarne Brustad (composition) and Odd Grüner-Hegge (conducting). He received his degree as an organist in 1943, and made his debut as a conductor in Bergen in 1947. He also studied composition at the Music Conservatory in Paris with Jean Rivier during 1950-51, on a grant from the Society of Norwegian Composers. Bræin worked as both choir- and orchestra conductor in Kristiansund and Oslo.

Bræin had his breakthrough with the colourful orchestral work Concert Ouverture (op. 2, 1948). However, in his first opus, The Merry Musicians (1947) for clarinet and three string players, there was already evidence of his preference for the entertaining and musician-like. With a point of departure in the tonal language of Romanticism, he created a personal style in which the melodic is emphasized, frequently with material drawn from Norwegian folk music and draped in a continental Neo-Classical form. Burlesque humour and sudden whims are not uncommon in his works. The entertaining style is also found in compositions such as Serenade for Orchestra (op. 5, 1952), Capriccio (op. 9, 1958) for piano and orchestra, and is fully realized in his last large work, the successful opera Den Stundesløse (op. 21), premiered by the Norwegian National Opera during the Fall of 1975, with libretto by Hans Kristiansen (adapted from the Holberg play).

More serious works are represented by, for example, Adagio (op. 6, 1953) for strings, and Symphony No 2 (op. 8, 1954) in three movements. Here, the musician-like is replaced by an epic, profound tone language of great effect. The same is the case in his other significant opera: Anne Pedersdotter (op. 18), premiered by the Norwegian National Opera in 1971, also with libretto by Hans Kristiansen (adapted from the Wiers Jensen play).

Bræin has also written more than 20 ballads and a series of songs for choir, and several of these have become popular heritage. Best known is Ut mot havet. He often found lyrics in the works of Jacob Sande, Einar Skjæraasen and J.H. Wessel. Bræin was a popular composer in the real and proper meaning of the word.

Translation: Palmyre Pierroux
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