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The Ole Bull Centenary

All Norway, and his birthplace, Bergen in particular, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great Norwegian violinist Ole Bull, on February 5th. There were memorial concerts, and a volume of letters written during the youth of the violinist and heretofore unpublished, were issued. All the newspapers published complimentary notices, poems, sketches, and accounts of Ole Bull's career, and his monument at Bergen was completely covered with flowers and wreaths. Ole Bull's American widow, who, with their daughter, lives in the United States, sent $1,400 as a contribution to assist in founding a Bull memorial at Bergen.
Mrs. Ole Bull was Miss Sarah C. Thorpe, of Madison, Wisconsin. She is the authoress of the Memoirs of Ole Bull, one of the most interesting lives of a violinist in all literature, and a work which should be closely read and studied by every violin student.
Ole Bull spent so much of his time in the United States, that it was almost his adopted country. Many of his compositions were written for the people of America, and on American subjects, such as Niagara, The Prairies, etc. The life of Ole Bull contains a lesson for every violin student. Although he achieved immense fame during his lifetime, was a popular musical hero in most of the civilized countries in Europe and in North and South America, and won several fortunes, he never achieved the best that was in him as a performer, nor did he leave any compositions which have endured. This was because he did not learn the musical art thoroughly either as a performer or composer during his youth. Although he studied with teachers at different times in various cities in Europe, yet his studies both in violin playing and composition were of a desultory character, and he was constantly lured away on concert tours by the siren of popular applause. He possessed an enormous technic, hardly, if at all, second to Paganini, but showed in many of his performances that he was largely self-taught. In composition his labors were directed largely to the production of brilliant, showy compositions of a descriptive character, chiefly valuable for exploiting his great technical powers for the benefit of mixed audiences. Had he studied the art of composition thoroughly and directed his attention to legitimate composition in the accepted forms, there is little doubt that he would have produced many immortal works, for he was possessed of great temperament, the mind of a true tone-poet, and great originality. His compositions are practically never heard on a modern program. The Etude published an extended history of the career and works of Ole Bull last year.

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