Jorgensen Music


Cormontan Music Library

Cormontan Music Library

Along with the manuscripts and published works by Theodora Cormontan, the music collection given to the Jorgensens by Barb and Roger Nelson included several volumes of music by other composers.  These scores either bear Theodora's signature or another identifying feature that makes them almost certain to have belonged to her.  It would seem likely that Theodora regarded this music favorably, since she owned it, and it is also quite possible that some of these works influenced her own writing.

The scores include:

Classic Songs by the Best Composers, B. F. Banes and Co., Copyright 1893.  I have never heard of this company.  It looks like it was publishing in the 1880's-1890's.  The album has a drawing of Edvard Grieg on the cover, which may have attracted Theodora to it.  The volume contains some composers who have drifted into obscurity, like Denza and Barnby, but also includes Faure, Handel, Mozart, and Brahms.  There are two pieces by Grieg (Solveig's Song and I Love Thee) and one by Kjerulf.  I wonder if it frustrated Theodora that these Nordic composers songs were presented in English and German only?

Romancer og Sange (Romances and Songs) by Edvard Grieg, published in 3 volumes by Wilhelm Hansen, Copenhagen.  No copyright date, though on the title page it says (in Danish) "New, revised edition by the composer."  Volume 1 includes Grieg's Op. 4, 5, 9, 10, and 15.  Volume 2 includes Op. 18, 21, and 22.  Volume 3 includes Op. 23, 24, 26, and two songs noted as "without an opus."  These works were originally published in the 1860's-1870's, so Theodora almost certainly purchased them in Norway or on a visit to Denmark.  It appears to me that Grieg was a major, if not the major, influence on Cormontan the composer.

The Art of Finger Development by Carl Czerny, Op. 740, published by Theodore Presser, Philadelphia.  No copyright date.  Theodora taught piano, or perhaps used this exercise book for herself as well.

The American Artist's Edition, Album, Vol. 1: A Choice Collection of Pianoforte Pieces by the Old Masters and Best Modern Composers, published by The John Church Co., Cincinnati.  Copyright 1890.  This company published in the 19th century into the 20th.  They were bought out by Theodore Presser in 1930.  They were publishers for John Philip Sousa.  Most of the composers are rarely performed today, but it does contain Grieg's Four Lyric Pieces as well as works by Widor, Tchaikovsky, and Paderewski.  The music is protected in the "Gem" music binder, manufactured by C. S. Fowler in Minneapolis.

Musique Moderne, Compositions pour Piano, No. 1: Bleu d'Azur by J. H. Hecker, published in Bruxelles (Brussels).  Copyright 1887.  This does not contain Theodora's autograph, but has a stamp on it from the music publishers Brodrene Hals in Christiania (Oslo), so I am guessing it was hers.

12 Melodier til Digte af A. O Vinje Op. 33 by Edvard Grieg. Published by Wilhelm Hansen, Copenhagen.  This is the first six pieces from this important opus, including Varen.  It does not have Theodora's signature, but is stamped by her music rental company in Arendal, so it was hers.

Kunkel's Musical Review, March, 1901.  Published by Kunkel Brothers of St. Louis.  Contains "32 pages of music and musical literature."  Most notably, Paderewski's Menuet, Op. 14, No. 1.

Lindeman's Koralbog.  This edition was published by Augsburg Publishing in Minneapolis. The original copyright for this edition is 1899, with this printing from 1916.  The title page translated reads:

Chorus Book, containing Music for Hymnal for Lutheran Christian [Church] in America,
for Landstadts,
Synodens and other Hymnals, to be used for mixed Choir, Organ or Pianoforte.
Ludv. M. Lindeman's Chorus Book with an Addition
collected and composed by Oluf Glasøe.
[Published according to standards committee permission.]
Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, Minn. 1899.

Lindeman's original Salmebog was published between 1871-1875 for use in the Church of Norway.  Theodora' s signature is found on the title page.  On the next page she writes "Tilhore [Property of] Theodora Cormontan. 1922.  A. H. H. Decorah, Iowa."  Theodora says a lot in these few words.  It tells ust that music in general, and specifically church music, plays a role in the last year of her life.  She is cognizant enough to know who she is, where she is (the Aase Haugen Home) and the year.  It would appear that Norwegian is the primary language spoken among the residents of the home. 

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