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Otto Emanuel Olsson
1879 - 1964
Picture Picture
O.E. Olsson
Otto Olsson (19/12/1879 - 01/01/1964), a Swedish coposer, organist and teacher; born and died in Stockholm. Olsson, a native of Stockholm, was one of the most renowned organ virtuosos of his time. He studied organ with August Lagergren (1848−1908) and composition with Joseph Dente (1838−1905), both teachers having been employed at the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. Later Olsson himself joined the faculty there, becoming teacher of harmony (1908–24) and then organ (1924–45). Meanwhile he was also the organist at the Gustaf Vasa Church in Stockholm. He became a member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Music in 1915.
Olsson used his strong background in counterpoint, combined with an affinity for French organ music, to develop his late Romantic style of composition. He also had an interest in early music and, though not a Catholic but a Lutheran, used the plainchant techniques of Gregorian chant in his Gregorianska melodier. At times he explored polytonality in his output, an advancement not found in other Swedish compositions of the time. In addition to many fine pieces for the organ, he produced various choral works, the most often performed of which is his setting of the Te Deum, which requires not only chorus but string orchestra, harp, and organ.
As a teacher, Olsson influenced many Swedish musicians (especially church musicians), and he was important in the development of church music in Sweden, which had suffered a long period of decline before 1900. His activities included serving as a member of official committees that supervised the liturgy and hymnology. He also composed Psalm settings for congregational use and wrote two instructional books, on the art of choral singing and psalm singing respectively. He died in Stockholm in 1964, aged 84.
Composed in:1903
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
In memory of:the composer's father (?)
Label(s):Proprius PRCD 9086
Caprice CAP 21368
This Requiem contains:
01. Requiem 6'48
02. Kyrie 4'55
03. Dies Irae 4'30
04. Rex tremendae 3'58
05. Recordare 3'56
06. Confutatis 4'38
07. Domine Jesu Christe 7'32
08. Hostias 5'01
09. Sanctus 13'55
10. Agnus Dei 12'09
Source:booklet of cd Caprice CAP 21368

♫ 01. Requiem
© Caprice CAP 21368

♫ 02. Kyrie
© Caprice CAP 21368

♫ 03. Dies Irae
© Caprice CAP 21368

♫ 04. Rex tremendae
© Caprice CAP 21368

♫ 05. Recordare
© Caprice CAP 21368

♫ 06. Confutatis
© Caprice CAP 21368

♫ 07. Domine Jesu Christe
© Caprice CAP 21368

♫ 08. Hostias
© Caprice CAP 21368

♫ 09. Sanctus
© Caprice CAP 21368

♫ 10. Agnus Dei
© Caprice CAP 21368
Otto Olsson's early works can be said to have been influenced by Emil Sjögren (Four Piano Pieces op.2, Adagio and Meditation op.14), but he very soon showed a will of his own, most successfully and grandly manifested in his Symphony (1902) and Requiem opus 13 (1903), two very extensive works which were almost completely ignored until the 1970s and 1980s. The bulk of Olsson's output antedates 1918 and a very large proportion of his works are for the organ. His music bears the unmistakable im press of the French organists and composers Alexandre Guilmant and Charles-Marie Widor, but he also developed into Sweden's foremost contrapuntalist. His music, however, was seldom academically erudite, constituting instead a felicitous union of learning and inspiration.
Otto Olsson's reasons for writing a requiem remain unclear. At twenty-two, he had just completed his studies at the Conservatory and was perhaps eager to try out his newly acquired skills in counterpoint and composition on a large-scale work, combining chorus and orchestra.
Maybe the Requiem was intended as a tribute to his father who died in November 1900. He could very well have been inspired by the requiems of Brahms and Verdi which were performed in Stockholm in April 1900 and December 1901, just when he had started on his own requiem (the score is dated 1901-1903).
Author:Curt Carlsson and Erik Lundkvist Translation: Cynthia Zetterqvist