The earliest recorded Norwegian musical works date back to the beginning of the 18th century., when city musicians and itinerant performers composed music for dance shows and chamber music. After concluding the union with Sweden (1814 r.) in Oslo, interest in music grew every time, when the royal court was in the city. Officials, landlords and wealthier citizens sponsored music concerts during private meetings.
In the mid-nineteenth century. the first virtuoso appeared in Norway, violinist Ole Bull (1810-1880), who in Europe has been hailed as the "Nordic Paganini”. He promotes folk violinists from the Hardanger area in concert halls in Bergen, and a meeting by Ludvig Mathias Lindeman (1812-1887) Norwegian folk music brought the attention of Europe to the traditions of Norwegian folk music. Bull's efforts, who looked after the promising musicians from Bergen, made Edvard Grieg's career easier.
Thanks to Grieg's musical genius and the talent of his contemporaries, Halfdana Kjerulfa (1815-1868) i lohana Svendsena (1840-1911) patch 70. i 80. The nineteenth century was called the "golden age” Norwegian music. W 1905 r., after the dissolution of the Norwegian-Swedish union, Norway had its own artistic output, which helped to consolidate the national identity. Norwegian composers also drew on the tradition of medieval music from the times preceding the union with Denmark and Sweden.. David Monrad Johansen (1888-1974), Geirr Tveitt (1908-1981), Fartein Valen (1887-1942) i Pauline Hall (1890-1969) in their works they drew on the traditions of late Romanticism and French Impressionists. The works of Johansen and Tveitt are monumental, while Vallen and Hall wrote lighter pieces, in the impressionist style. During this period, most serious musicians worked in cinemas and cafes, while composers had to earn a living as music teachers and critics.
After World War II, all previous ties with German culture were severed. The new generation of composers chose to study in Paris or the United States rather than in Leipzig. The new artists were born in the second or third decade of the 20th century. Johan Kvandal, Egil Hovland, Knud Nystedt in Hagerup Buli. They gave up trying to preserve their national identity in music, instead, they wrote works of an international nature. This trend has won in the years 50. i 60. during the technological revolution, to the great regret of lovers of tradition. A modern debut, experimental and avant-garde music, using electronic effects, was received with mixed feelings by the confused audience. It happened, that churches refused to rent their buildings for this type of concert – for fear, that their equipment would be destroyed or that the sanctity of the place would be profaned. The period of the avant-garde in Norway did not last long.
In the last decades of the 20th century. musical life has lost its surreal aspect. During a short period of "political involvement” composers identified with different ideas. Alfred Hanson dedicated a violin concerto to Chilean President Salvador Allende. The work of Soderlin's Trauermusik was inspired by the war in Biafra and the Soviet military intervention in Czechoslovakia. In the latest trends, musicians are returning to their interest in Norwegian folk music while using computer technology. The latest works of Norwegian artists are an example of the tendency to preserve tradition.
Classical music is still very popular, as evidenced by the popular Oslo Philharmonic Orchestras, Bergen (founded in 1765 r.), Trondheim and Stavanger and was established in 1958 r. Norwegian Opera. Pop and jazz are also developing in Norway. Norwegian musicians, such as the saxophonist of Polish origin Jan Garbarek (ur. 1947) and the female singer Mari Boine are known and appreciated all over the world. (Otherwise, could anyone forget the norwegian band A-ha, conquering pop charts in the years 80.?).
Norway's growing interest in music is reflected in the growing number of local music festivals, taking place all over the country. The most famous is the Bergen International Festival, taking place in May, followed by the world-famous jazz festivals in Molde and Kongsberg. Other important music festivals include the annual Harstad events, Elverum, Kristiansand, Trondheim (during the feast of St.. Olaf), Sarpsborg, Risor, Oslo and still at least 40 other places. One can say without exaggeration, that every weekend there is a music event at a high level in some place in Norway.
The heart-touching Sami music from northern Norway is also popular with fans of more sophisticated musical styles. Contemporary female artists, like Aulu Gaup, Mari Boine and Nils Aslak Valkeapaas perform and record popularized versions of traditional joik, that is, personal songs.