Works Discography

Ludvig Norman (1831-1885)

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Ludvig Norman (1831–1885) grew up in humble circumstances due to his father’s premature death but showed an exceptional musical talent from a young age. With financial assistance from several influential persons, among them the celebrated soprano Jenny Lind, at the age of 16 he went to study at the famous Leipzig Conservatory, where his teachers included Ignaz Moscheles (piano) and Julius Rietz (composition).

Having returned to Stockholm as a professional musician and composer, and deeply inspired by his impressions of musical life in Leipzig, he began a lifelong pursuit of raising the artistic level of musical life in Sweden’s capital. Over the years, he worked as a composer, a pianist, a chamber musician, an educator, a concert organiser, a music critic and a writer, but he was principally appreciated for his role as a conductor. He was not yet 30 years old when he was appointed Chief Conductor at the Royal Opera in Stockholm in 1861. His artistic work over the 18 years of his tenure was unanimously praised, and his opera performances were well on a par with the finest that the rest of Europe had to offer.

As a composer, Norman did not enjoy a similar immediate success, even if his works were always received with respect. At the time, folk music and simple melodies were preferred as ideals by many music lovers, and opera and operetta were highly popular genres. Neither of these appealed to Norman as a composer, though, as he was focused on ‘absolute music’: chamber music, piano works and orchestral works. This was where his musical invention found its principal inspiration and where his creative skills were to their best advantage.

Indeed, Norman is considered to be among Sweden’s premier symphonists after Adolf Fredrik Lindblad (1801–1878) and Franz Berwald (1796–1868). His contribution to the Swedish orchestral repertoire comprises three symphonies, three overtures and a Funeral March in memory of composer August Söderman (1832–1876). Norman wrote his Symphony No. 1 in F major Op. 22 in 1858–1859, but it was not performed in its entirety until 1875. His Symphony No. 2 in E flat major Op. 40, completed in 1871, was first performed two years later and turned out to be an enormous success. The critic writing for the daily Aftonbladet enthusiastically declared the symphony to be the work of a master at the height of contemporary musical culture. Even the usually quite stern critic Adolf Lindgren claimed that it represented “a not insignificant feat in the style that seeks to reconcile Classical form with Romantic content”.


In 1864, Norman married the well-known violin virtuoso Wilhelmina (Wilma) Neruda, who hailed from Brünn (now Brno) in Moravia. Their first years together were happy, and their two sons were born at this time. However, gradually their relationship soured, and apparently Wilma cheated on Norman. Eventually Wilma resumed her concert tours around Europe, and by 1868 or 1869 a permanent breakup was inevitable. Being a Catholic, Wilma could not get a divorce, so on her initiative they simply separated. This was an emotional disaster for Norman. His enormous grief had a radical impact on the remaining 15 years of his life, a period of constant illnesses and depression. One might imagine that such a devastating blow would have affected his creative faculties as well, but quite the opposite is true: Norman wrote many of his most important and most expressive works in this period, including three of the works on the present album.


Professor Tomas Löndahl



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Concert Overture in E-flat major, Op. 21 (1856)
Funeral March, ‘To the Memory of August Söderman’, Op. 46 (1876)
Overture to Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, Op. 57 (1881)
Symphony No. 3 in D minor, Op. 58 (1881)


Ludvig Norman

Symphony No. 3


Oulu Symphony Orchestra

Johannes Gustavsson

ODE 1391-2

Released 08/2022

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