Jorgensen Music


Arendal II: 1870-1887

The National Library of Norway periodically posts new scans of Norwegian newspapers from the 1870s-1880s that reveal information about Theodora Cormontan as a music distributer, a music publisher, and a composer in Arendal.  


Advertisements listing Cormontan compositions published by Warmuth Music appear in the Aftenposten as early as September 16, 1874.  Other issues that promote her music published by Warmuth include May 19,1875; May 25,1875, December 15, 1879; and December 17, 1879.  Notably, the April 27, 1885 edition features an ad promoting her music now published by the Theodora Cormontan Publishing Co. of Arendal.

Cormontan began her own publishing company in 1879, but it would appear that she notified Warmuth Publishing of her intentions to start her own business as early as 1877, prompting the following from the Lillesands-Posten of 3/23/1877: 

Notice!!  Miss Theodora Cormontan of Arendal will still be provided with the newest Music from my Music Store and orders will be executed and presented to her as soon as possible.  Carl Warmouths [sic] Music –Establishment, Christiania [now Oslo].




Other Norwegian newspapers where Cormontan's published music is advertised include:

Dagbladet: 9/16/1874, 12/13/1879, 12/15/1879

Fredriksstad Tilskuer: 2/10/1876, 7/9/1876, 7/18/1876

Hedemarkens Amtstidende: 12/22/1875

VG (VerdensGang): 12/18/1879


[The 12/18/1875 edition of the Dagladet provides a brief review of Cormontan's opus 3, Blandt fjeldene--which means "Among the Mountains."  This is the only Cormontan piano composition Warmuth published.  One may wonder why Warmuth made the decision to only publish songs by Theodora after this and whether this played a part in her opening her own music publishing business where she published a number of her own piano works.  The review seems mixed.  If I am translating it correctly, the author seems to indicate that the piece captures the beauty of the Norwegian mountains but "is difficult to play."]


With the following announcement, Theodora Cormontan added a new facet to her music business:


Grimsrad Adressetidende 3/14/1877: With reference to the following news item, we draw attention to the fact that Miss Theodora Cormontan in Arendal has been accepted as a sales representative for the Brødrene Hals Piano Factory.  The rest of the article discussed the previous representative, who had passed away.


About a year later, Cormontan would run her own piano sales advertisement:

Grimsrad Adressetidende 2/20/1878:
Piano Warehouse. As an approved sales representative for Brødrene Hals Piano Factory, I have pianos for sale. These instruments, recommended by leading music authorities, are provided directly from the factory.  Theodora Cormontan.  Arendal.

Brødrene Hals was a Norwegian piano manufacturer in Christiania in the 1800s. They produced the first upright piano in Norway, published music, and ran a music agency.  The Hals brothers were Karl (1822-1898) and Petter (1823-1871).


[The Fredriksstad Tilskuer announced in its 6/12/1886 edition that two marches by Theodora Cormontan and one by "organist Borg" had been composed for the Turner Festival.  One of Cormontan's marches "is dedicated to the Turner Association and will be played in the Festival procession."]



The Arendal newspaper Agderposten, first published in 1874, is a primary source of information about Theodora Cormontan before she came to the U. S. in 1887. The following items [electronically translated] all appeared in this paper.



[A Mrs. Anna Michelsen offers a evening of musical entertainment at the theatre "with kind assistance."  The program features Theodora Cormontan's "Honnør-Marsch" as well as works by Mendelssohn, Mozart, and other noted composers.  This programing reflects a high degree of respect and support for Theodora as a composer, at least in her hometown of Arendal.]



[The following concert announcement documents that Theodora Cormontan composed in larger forms than reflected in the scores we found in St. Peter, Minnesota.  Here we find that she composed the music to what is essentially a one-act opera.  Although the article doesn't say, we can assume that the work was accompanied by the orchestra that also performed on the program.  Knowing about this composition adds credence to the theory that Cormontan desired to compose in larger forms; to compete and be considered with the same respect as men composers.]

"Lark." Singspiel in 1 act by M. V. Brun [written in 1868]. The music is composed by Theodora Cormontan. The characters include: Maria, a florist; her brother Andreas, a gardener; Lord Olboy, Box, [and other characters]. The action takes place in Maria's Flower Shop. The Tunernes Music Association, assisted by the Dilettant  Association, present an Evening Entertainment at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 19, 1886 in the Theater.  [The program included music by the Turners band and orchestra.  “Lark” was the featured work of the evening. Reserved seating cost 1.25 Kr., unreserved cost 1 Kr.  Tickets could be purchased at the homes of Hans Rummelhoff and P. N. Jacobsen, or at the door beginning at 7 p.m. the evening of the performance].




Notice!  A very good organ-harmonium with a beautiful, rich tone and walnut case is for sale at a low price at Th. Cormontan’s Music Store.



New Music issued today: Theodora Cormontan: op. 46. "National-Festmarsch," composed for the occasion of the National Turnfest in Fredrikshald and dedicated to Norway's Turners.  Piano 2-hand 0,75.  Piano 4-hand 1.25.  Th. Cormontan's Music Publishing.



New piano strings have arrived at T. Cormontan's music store 



[An advertisement placed by C. O. Bye announces a concert in the Theater on Monday, January 31.  The program includes a band performing Cormontan’s "Norske Turneres National-Festmarsch."  C. O. Bye arranged a horn sextet version of the National-Festmarsch, as noted on the cover of the score.  The piece was published in several other versions, including for band and for orchestra.  C. O. Bye briefly served as the  conductor of the Arendal City Orchestra, founded in 1884 as the "Turners Music Association" and still in existence.  Alfred Theodor Olson took over the conducting position in 1886, as well as becoming the organist at the Trinity Church in Arendal that same year.]


4/18/1887:  Brødr. Hals piano tuner will be required beginning this week. Bids for piano tuning are closed at Miss Th. Cormontan

The Arendal newspaper Vestlandske Tidende also wrote about Theodora.  The following is from this publication:

12/30/1871: The paper announced that Theodora Cormontan would be presenting a concert "with kind assistance" on Tuesday, January 9, 1872 in the Festival Room.  I assume this room is the large hall on the third floor of the Old Town Hall where Cormontan presented numerous concerts.




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