Sinding, Christian



Renowned Norwegian composer, who must be reckoned as the greatest of Norwegian musicians, after Grieg. He has written some highly original and interesting compositions for orchestra, chamber-music in various combinations, songs and much music for the piano. Sinding is one of a remarkable trio of brothers, the others being Stefan, a sculptor, and Otto, a painter, some of whose canvases were exhibited in Chicago at the time of the World's Fair.


Christian Sinding was born in Kongsberg, Norway, and as a boy his interests were only in the direction of music. He studied violin and theory in his native town, then went to Leipsic, studying for three years at the Conservatory there under Carl Reinecke and Adolf Brodsky. Winning the Royal scholarship enabled him to pursue his studies at Leipsic, at the High School of Music in Munich and at Berlin, where he studied from 1874 to 1877. After finishing his musical studies Sinding composed a sonata for violin and piano, but the critics harsh treatment of it so discouraged him that he burned it. He then returned to his native town for a time, later went to Copenhagen in 1890, but finally settled in Christiania, becoming an organist and teacher in that city, and has since resided there almost constantly.


Sinding's compositions are distinguished by graceful runs and broken chords, with which he loved to embroider his harmonies. It is said that he used to receive larger bills from his copyist in his student days than any of his student friends because there were so many more notes to the page. His style is noted for its vigor, which is at times almost tempestuous. He is characteristically Norwegian, although less so than Grieg, to whom he is often compared. His Norwegian songs, Modern Synger and Der Skreg en Fugl, are typical of his country. Sinding is said to have been strongly influenced by Wagner, and most of his music is best suited to large auditoriums, although he has written some morceaux and other pieces for the piano which show his ability to write equally well for the chamber. His greatest work, and by far his best known, is his Symphony in D Minor, which was produced by Felix Weingartner in  Berlin in 1895, and was also given in America. It is complicated and thoroughly Norwegian in style. His Episodes Cheyaleresques (Knightly Episodes), a suite for orchestra, is dedicated to Felix Weinartner. His variations are played y Mme. Carrena, Eugen D'Albert and other noted pianists. As a violinist, Sinding is a gifted executant, and for this instrument he has composed a legend with orchestral accompaniment; two concertos with orchestra and other works. His cantata, Til Molde, contains several passages which have been likened to some of Wagner's works. Sinding's other compositions include variations for two pianos; a quintet; a rondo infinite; prelude and fugue; a gavotte; nocturnes and charakterstücke; many songs; and piano-music, including his famous Fruhlingsrauschen (Rustle of Spring).


Among his smaller compositions are his Songs without Words; March Grotesque; Minuet, and many songs, including Alte Weisen; Mir Glanzten Augen; Roschen bis den Apfel an. Since the death of Grieg, Sinding undoubtedly stands at the head of the Norwegian School of composers, and is credited by some critics with having even more graphically than Grieg reproduced in his music the scenery and forbidding characteristics of his native land.