Chronology – important events in L.M. Lindeman’s life

By Harald Herresthal

1812: Ludvig Mathias Lindeman is born in Trondheim on 28 November as the seventh of ten children. His parents are Anna Severine (nee Hickmann, 1782–1844) and Ole Andreas Lindeman (1769–1857).

1825: Ludvig Mathias receives instruction in music theory, piano and organ playing from his father, and cello lessons from Fredrik Carl Lemming. He begins to fill in as organist for his father at Vår Frue kirke (Our Lady’s Church) in Trondheim. Lindeman himself considered this year to mark the beginning of his musical career.

1833: Travels to Christiania (now Oslo) in order to graduate. Arrives on 6 April and performs his first church service at Vor Frelsers kirke (now Oslo Cathedral) on the following day, Easter Sunday.

1834–40: During this period he is engaged as a cellist by Christiania offentlige Theaters orkester (Christiania Public Theatre Orchestra) and plays cello and double bass in Det musikalske Lyceum (The Musical Lyceum), Christiania’s leading music society since 1810 (discontinued in 1838).

1836: After preliminary examinations at the university, Lindeman attends theological lectures, but his musical commitments demand most of his time. He is elected music director of the Det Norske Studentersamfund (The Norwegian Student Society), with responsibility for rehearsing and performing songs at the society’s musical gatherings. Lindeman composes 17 Variations on the Chorale Hvo veed hvor nær mig er min Ende. Publishing house Winther publishes two of his waltzes.

1837: Writes the completion certificate for the newly restored and renovated organ at Vor Frelsers kirke, and is now regarded as the country’s foremost organ consultant.

1838: Composes some of the music to Henrik Wergeland’s singspiel Campbellerne, performed at Christiania Theatre.

1839: Composes variations on Gubben Noa (Old man Noah) for piano four hands.

1840: Lindeman accepts a permanent position as cantor and organist at Vor Frelsers kirke. In addition to organ playing, the position entails responsibility for singing lessons at Waisenhuset, an orphanage whose boys acted as lead singers during church services. He remains in this position until his death in 1887. In the same year he publishes Samling af Sange, Folkeviser og Stev, a collection of songs and folk melodies, as well as Choraler til Psalmer i Wilhelm A. Wexels Christelige Psalmer, a collection of church hymns. His most famous hymn tune is Kirken den er et gammelt hus (Built on the rock the church doth stand), still used in Scandinavian, German and American congregations.

1841: Norske Fjeld-Melodier (Norwegian mountain melodies) appears in print, Lindeman’s first publication of folk tunes arranged for piano.

1844: Lindeman forms a student choir, later to be called Den norske Studentersangforening (The Norwegian Student Choral Society). When Halfdan Kjerulf, and later Johan Didrik Behrens, takes over as conductor, Lindeman continues on the board of the society and plays an important role in the choir’s activities.

1844: A cantata written by Lindeman and J.S. Welhaven is performed during a memorial event at the Norwegian Parliament in connection with King Carl Johan’s death on 28 March. Lindeman’s funeral cantata with lyrics by Andreas Munch is performed by 150 singers and large orchestra at Vor Frelsers kirke in April.

1846: Det philharmoniske Selskab (The Philharmonic Society) is founded. Lindeman is one of the initiators, and holds the post of choral director and associate conductor until the society’s dissolution in 1865.

1848: Lindeman receives funding from the university to visit Norwegian mountain villages and record “the people’s hymn singing” as a basis for reforming Norwegian liturgical song as a whole. During the summer he visits Valdres, Vågå and Meldalen. Marries Aminda Magnhilde Brynie (1828–1904) on 27 September.

1849: At an arts exhibition at Christiania Theatre in March, Lindeman is represented by a series of folk music arrangements. He begins to teach liturgical song at the university’s seminary for practical theology.

1850: With Lindeman’s help, Waldemar Thrane’s singspiel Fjeldeventyret (Mountain adventure, 1824) is published in piano vocal score. Lindeman composes 3 Fugen über B-A-C-H (date of composition unknown).

1851: Lindeman receives public funding for travelling and collecting folk music.

1853: Publication of the first volume of Ældre og nyere norske Fjeldmelodier, samlede og bearbeidede for Pianoforte (Older and newer Norwegian mountain melodies, collected and arranged for pianoforte).

1854: Publication of the first series of Folkeviser (Folk songs) for male chorus, dedicated to The Norwegian Student Society.

1858: Lindeman becomes a central figure in the so-called hymn battle that erupts during this year. Unlike his opponents, Lindeman does not believe that a reinstatement of the rhythmic models of the Reformation period would find acceptance, and calls for other solutions. The debate does not die down until Lindeman’s Chorale Book is authorized in 1877.

1859: Det norske Selskab (The Norwegian Society) is founded. Lindeman frequently plays his own folk music arrangements at the society’s meetings. While playing together with Ole Bull at one of these events on 29 November, Lindeman’s house catches fire. Some items are rescued, but his books and many of his father’s and his own music manuscripts are lost.

1859: At the request of and with support from Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and Johan Sverdrup, Lindeman petitions the Norwegian Parliament to provide annual financial support for collecting Norwegian folk music. The application is granted and Lindeman becomes the first recipient of a lifetime government grant in the field of music, before Edvard Grieg and Johan Svendsen.

1860–73: During this period, Lindeman collects hundreds of Norwegian folk songs and dances from many parts of the country, as he later states in a report to the Norwegian Parliament. He publishes Halv-hundrede Fjeldmelodier harmoniserede for Mandsstemmer (Half-a-hundred melodies harmonized for male voices) and the next three volumes of Ældre og nyere norske Fjeldmelodier for piano (published separately 1853–1867).

1862: The most famous tune from Lindeman’s collection, Salmer af Biskop Nic. Fred. Severin Grundtvig, med Melodier for Orgel eller Piano af Ludv. M. Lindeman (Hymns by Bishop Nic. Fred. Severin Grundtvig, with melodies for organ or piano by Ludv. M. Lindeman) is Kjærlighet er lysets kilde (Love is the source of light), NoS 613.[1]  Published in Copenhagen.

1863: Lindeman publishes 13 new tunes to hymns from the appendix of Evangelisk-kristelig Salmebog (Evangelical Christian Hymnal). One of the most famous is Sannhets tolk og taler (Judge and speaker of truth), NoS 214.

1864: Lindeman composes tunes to H.A. Brorson’s Svanesang (Swan song) on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Danish poet’s death. The songs, which were intended “for the quiet home”, are partly through-composed and written as religious lieder. The most famous tune is Påskemorgen slukker sorgen (Quiet, Lord, my froward heart), NoS 184.

1865: Lindeman composes Apostlene satt i Jerusalem (The apostles abided in Jerusalem), printed in Bibelske og kirkehistoriske Psalmer og Sange (Biblical and historical church hymns and songs).

1870: Lindeman is commissioned to write a new book of chorales for Landstads salmebok (Landstad’s hymnal), which had been authorized for use in public church services on 16 October 1869. The most famous of the new tunes is Krist stod opp av døde (Christ arose from death), NoS 182. Lindeman publishes Norwegian Messebog (Norwegian Missal), and is appointed Knight of the Order of St. Olav on 3 May.

1871: Edvard Grieg founds Musikforeningen, a music society which ultimately develops into today’s Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. Lindeman is a member of the board and one of the driving forces behind the society. In autumn 1871, Lindeman is invited to play eight concerts in conjunction with the dedication of the organ at Royal Albert Hall in London, along with some of Europe’s most famous organists.

1872: In collaboration with Jørgen Moe, Lindeman composes a cantata for the university’s commemoration of Carl XV. A second cantata is written together with Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson for a memorial ceremony in Christiania following N.F.S. Grundvig’s death.

1873: Lindeman composes a cantata for the coronation of King Oscar II and Queen Sophia in Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim. On their silver wedding anniversary 27 September, Aminda and L.M. Lindeman are celebrated with a torchlight procession and greetings from the artists’ association, the workers’ union, students and the city’s choral societies.

1875: On 28 November, Lindeman is celebrated in connection with his 50th anniversary as an organist.

1877: In December, Ludvig Mathias Lindeman’s Chorale Book is authorized “for Use during Worship in Churches of the Realm.”

1881: Publication of 26 fugerte Preludier (26 fugal preludes) and 36 fugerte Preludier for Orgel (36 fugal preludes for organ).

1883: Together with his son Peter, Ludvig Mathias Lindeman starts a school for organists at the premises of organ builder August Nielsen. 16 students attend the school during its first year, receiving instruction in organ, piano, harmony and singing. Publication of 54 smaa Preludier (54 small preludes) for organ.

1885: The school moves to more spacious premises at the piano factory of Brødrene Hals, extends its curriculum to include more instruments, and is renamed “Music and Organ School.” The school applies for government funding and takes on 60 students.

1887: Ludvig Mathias Lindeman dies on 23 May, 75 years old. The funeral takes place at Vor Frelsers kirke on 27 May. Among the large assembly that fills the church is the President of the Norwegian Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Church Affairs, the Mayor, parliamentary and municipal politicians, university lecturers, artists, several bishops and priests from both urban and rural areas. The city’s choral societies are attending with their banners and join in the powerful sound of hymns that are sung.

[1] NoS (Norsk Salmebok) is the official hymn book of the Church of Norway.