Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tor Aulin

Tor Aulin was a Swedish violinist, conductor, and composer born (in Saltsjobaden) on September 10, 1866.  I have never heard any of his music but it is said to have traces of the influence of Grieg and Schumann which is to say that it sounds nice.  Here is a YouTube file of his second violin concerto - the one in a minor.  Scant information is available about him on the internet so I do not know at what age he began his violin studies.  From 1877 to 1883, Aulin studied at the Stockholm Conservatory of music aka the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.  He then studied an additional two years with violin virtuoso Emile Sauret in Berlin, at the Berlin Conservatory (probably the Stern Academy) from 1884 to 1886.  He also studied composition and conducting with Philipp Scharwenka in Berlin though I’m guessing not at the same school since Scharwenka had a private conservatory of his own.  In 1887, Aulin founded the Aulin Quartet, the first professional string quartet in Sweden.  He was 21 years old.  From 1889 to 1892, Aulin was concertmaster of the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm.  He spent some time conducting the symphony orchestras in Stockholm and Gothenburg as well – it is very likely that Sweden had no full-time orchestras prior to 1900.  I do not know if he was permanent director with any Stockholm orchestra but he did have a post with the Gothenburg Symphony from 1909 to 1912.  The Aulin Quartet was disbanded in 1912.  He championed the works of his fellow countrymen, Franz Berwald and Wilhelm Stenhammar and premiered some of Stenhammar’s violin works.  Aulin composed a number of works for orchestra – including three violin concertos – and numerous works for chamber groups and solo instruments, including works for violin and piano.  A YouTube file of his third violin concerto (in c minor - dedicated to Henri Marteau - published in 1904 and now in the public domain) can be found here.  I do not know if it has ever been heard (in a live performance) outside Sweden.  Recordings of some of Aulin's violin (with orchestra) works can be found here.  He also wrote cadenzas for at least two of Mozart's violin concertos.  Aulin died on March 1, 1914, at age 47 - the First World War had not yet begun.  Today, at least outside of Sweden, Aulin remains a very obscure musician.  

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