Jorgensen Music

Composition Dates

 


Theodora Cormontan dated only a small percentage of her compositions, making the determination of when she wrote most of her music problematic.  She did mark about 75% of her music with what I call a “Cormontan number.”  This number seems to be a type of cataloging number, perhaps a system she used when she owned and operated her own music rental company in Arendal, Norway in the 1870's-1880's.

 

The first list below consists of pieces Cormontan assigned both a year of composition and a Cormontan number.  The list is in chronological order:

 

1884/C 271             Valse brillante

1888/C 346:            Waltz Impromptu

1889/C 369:            En Dæmrings stund

1889/C 370:            Vinterbillede

1891/C 442:            Spanish Dance (Caprice)

1891/C 445:            The Dancing Girl (Musical Moments)

1893/C 472:            Marshe religiosa

1897/C 613:            Spanish Dance

1901/C 721:            Norwegian Hymn

1904/C 736:            The Polish Lady

1904/C 744:            In a Rush

1907/C 818:            Lullaby

1908/C 824:            I Think of You

1908/C 827:            Solitude

1908/C 828:            Song without Words

 

It seems safe to say that there is a direct correlation between the Cormontan number and the year the piece was composed: the higher the Cormontan number, the later the composition.

 

The next list includes Cormontan compositions that carry both a Cormontan number and an Opus number, arranged sequentially from the lowest to the highest Opus number.  All of them are in manuscript (M); I am unaware that any were ever published:

 

Op 25/C 450                        Valse a l’Etude (M)

Op 33/C 271                        Valse brillante (M)

Op 36/C 409                        Waltz elegant (M)

Op 57/C 316:                       Valse brillante (A major) (M)

Op 70/C 899:                       Chanson sans paroles (M)

Op 74/C 625                        My Home (M)

Op 75/C 616                        Valse de Ballet (M)

Op 76/C 648:                       Danse Rustique Norvegienne (M)

Op 79/C 913                        Morceau de Salon (M)

Op 83/C 748:                       Fleur Printamiere (M)

Op 97/C 442:                       Spanish Dance (Caprice) (M)

Op 101/C 908                      L’Etoile du Soir (M)

Op 115 & 135/C 682:           Impromptu (in G major) (M)

Op 124/C 800:                     Dream of Life (M)

Op 125/C 630:                     Chanson de Bergerette (M)

Op 126/C 736:                     The Polish Lady (M)

Op 128/C 873:                     Dagny—Polka Caprice (M)

Op 129/C 620:                     Bagatelle in D major (M)

Op 130/C 622:                     Second Bagatelle (M)

Op 132 # 2/C 811:               Sad Memory (M)

Op 133/C 809:                     Floweret (M)

Op 136/C 885:                     Second Impromptu (M)

Op 140/C 685:                     Valse brillante (E major) (M)

 

The correlation between the Opus number and the Cormontan number is difficult to ascertain.  It would appear that the Opus number would have little to do with the Cormontan number.

 

The third list consists of compositions that include an Opus number and a date, listed chronologically by date.  This list includes some manuscript (M), some published (P), and one piece that we have in manuscript but we know was published in Norway (M/P):

 

1880/Op 40:            Untitled #4 (M)

1884/Op 33:            Valse brillante (M)

1885/Op 31:            Naar mit Øie, trat af Moie (M)

1885/Op 42:            Koerlighed et Livets Kilde (P)

1885/Op 44:            Honor March (M/P)

1886/Op 46:            Norske Tuneres National-Festmarsch (M/P)

1891/Op 97:            Spanish Dance (Caprice) (M)

1895/Op 54:            Polka Fantasia over Swedish Song (P)

1900/Op 10:            L’Elegance (P)

1904/Op 126:          The Polish Lady (M)

1905/Op 58:            A Jubilee Rhineländer (P)

1906/Op 59:            Danse de la Duchesse (P)

 

A stronger correlation between Opus number and date can be seen.  Generally, compositions with an Opus number in the 40s and lower were composed in Norway and in the 50s and higher in the US.  This correlation is further strengthened when one realizes that Op 10 was actually published in Norway in 1885 and subsequently published in the US in 1900, (the edition we have).  It may also be noted that Among Norwegian Mountains, Op 3, was published by Warmuth in 1875.  We have a manuscript version that appears to be a revision of the published version.

 

Conclusion: It remains challenging to date any of Theodora’s compositions that she did not date herself.  Even works with a higher Cormontan number may have been substantially composed in Norway or even Denmark and only completed in the USA.  Still, the strong correlation between the Cormontan # and the date of composition (when both are indicated on the score) makes it probable that the approximately 75% of scores with a Cormontan # can be dated within a few years of composition.  At this time it appears that approximately 75% of the works in our possession were either completely composed or at least finalized in the United States between 1887 and around 1915.  The other 25% were written in Europe, likely mostly in Norway, and probably between approximately 1870-1886.

 

 

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