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Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idealist

open mike 18 Jan 09 - 02:04 AM
open mike 18 Jan 09 - 02:58 PM
Susanne (skw) 18 Jan 09 - 08:54 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Jan 09 - 09:07 AM
Piers Plowman 19 Jan 09 - 09:26 AM
Piers Plowman 19 Jan 09 - 09:28 AM
TenorTwo 19 Jan 09 - 11:07 AM
Sttaw Legend 19 Jan 09 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,ibemadshell1 05 Oct 09 - 11:42 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 06 Oct 09 - 12:35 AM
open mike 06 Oct 09 - 12:57 AM
M.Ted 06 Oct 09 - 01:43 AM
cetmst 06 Oct 09 - 07:56 AM
Jack Campin 06 Oct 09 - 08:23 AM
open mike 08 Jan 10 - 07:07 PM
open mike 31 Aug 12 - 12:29 PM
Arkie 01 Sep 12 - 09:30 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idealist
From: open mike
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 02:04 AM

This is a report that I compiled to present to a Scandinavian group meeting. ( I am the cultural chairperson of my local VASA Lodge, and as such often present historical and biographical information on Scandinavian and Nordic eople such as Alfred Nobel, Carl Larson, Selma Lagerlof, Astrid Lindgrin, etc.)

Ole Borneman Bull, Norwegian violinist and utopian idealist
Born Bergen, Norway, February 5, 1810 –
Died in Lyso, near Bergen, August 17, 1880)
When only nine, he played first violin in the Bergen Theatre orchestra, and was soloist with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. He lived for a while in Germany, then went to France. In 1832 in Paris he shared room with the moravian virtuoso violinist Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst who introduced Bull to the style of Paganini. By the time he reached his middle twenties he had won European recognition as a virtuoso. In 1836—37 he played 274 concerts in England and Ireland.

He was eventually successful in giving concerts, became famous, and made a fortune. He promoted Norwegian culture and often included variations on folk tunes in his concerts. He also was one of the main founders of the first theatre in which the actors spoke Norwegian, not Danish - Det Norske Theater in Bergen in 1850. This theater encouraged native drama and music and showcased Norwegian artists. From it, emerged a playwright who was destined to achieve lasting fame, Henrik Ibsen, whom Bull had selected as a writer and stage manager. It has been surmised that Ibsen's most famous character, Peer Gynt, was created with Ole Bull as the model. In the summer of 1858, Bull met the 15-year-old Edvard Grieg. Bull was a friend of the Grieg family, and encouraged Edvard's parents to send him to the conservatory in Liepzig. Bull's brother was married to Grieg's aunt. Bull was also a friend of Franz Liszt, and played with him several times.

The violinist was also an admirer of the United States and toured this country from 1843 to 1845, and his concerts were met with enthusiasm wherever he played. He visited the United States several times and played 5 concert tours with great success here as well as in Canada and Cuba. In the nineteenth century hundreds, of attempts were made to establish colonies in America that would become Utopias for the dispossessed workers of Europe and America. The fertile fields of America, its relative freedom, and the hopelessness of the situation in Europe, provided a perfect opportunity for such developments. Ole Bull became attracted by the then-current ideas of communal socialism.

He had great plans to build a community in America, and found an area having a topography reminiscent of his Norwegian homeland situated along Kettle Creek near the heart of the so-called Black Forest in Pennsylvania. In 1853, he purchased more than seventeen square miles of land and founded a colony, which was called New Norway. The land consisted of four communities: New Bergen, Oleana, New Norway, (where sixteen to twenty log cabins and a schoolhouse had been erected). and Valhalla. In Norse mythology Valhalla, or Royal Hall, was the place of Odin, the god of poetry, who received military heroes after they were slain in battle The high point of Valhalla Bull called Nordjenskald, which became the location of his unfinished castle.

Ole Bull later realized that the land deed left him and the other colonists little but the steep hillside woodland. Much of the prime agricultural land that the colonists had improved turned out to be within the tract that the former owner had reserved for himself. Later the railroad was established in the area, Making lumber a viable business due to the ease of transporting products to market. Unfortunately This was not available to the residents of New Norway. The majority of the colony eventually disbanded and moved west into Michigan and Wisconsin.

The village today is called Oleona, in Potter County. It flourishes nestled in the mountains at the intersection of routes 44 (Coudersport Turnpike) and 144 (Ole Bull Road). Ole Bull State Park in the Susquehannock State Forest is the original site chosen for Bull's colony. What is left of the unfinished Ole Bull Castle is frequently visited by hikers along a trail, on the side of a mountain with a beautiful view, and is maintained by the park.

In 2002, the 150th anniversary of the founding of Ole Bull's colony, a monument was erected in the park to honor Ole Bull. The monument was a gift from the citizens of Norway recognition of Ole Bull's talent, foresight and patriotism.

In Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, there is a room called Ole Bull's Concert Hall, because he actually gave performances there.
In Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, there is a
huge bronze statue memorializing Bull.
There is also a statue of him in Norway.

this report compiled from various sources including:

Oleana : The Ole Bull Colony' by Paul W Heimel
Wikipedia—Ole Borneman Bull
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idealist
From: open mike
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 02:58 PM

has anyone, maybe especially anyone in Pennsylvania
or anyone who plays the fiddle or anyone interested in
Scandinavian or Nordic history or anyone interested in
intentional communities, heard of this fellow who started
a utopian community in Potter county, PA near kettle Creek?

any other info on him, his violin playing or the community?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idea
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 08:54 PM

OLEANNA
(Ditmar Maidel / Pete Seeger)

             In Ole, Ole-anna, Ole, Ole-anna
             Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole-anna

Oh to be in Oleanna, that's where I'd like to be
Than be bound in Norway and drag the chains of slavery

(Norwegian verse)

In Oleanna land is free, the wheat and corn just plant themselves
Then grow four feet a day while on your bed you rest yourself

(Norwegian verse)

Little roasted piggies rush about the city streets
Inquiring so politely if a slice of ham you'd like to eat

(Norwegian verse)

(Spoken:)
There were many many verses
After all, there were many glasses of beer to drink
In Oleanna the women do all the work
The men lie around all day in their velvet jackets
Smoking their pipes
If the women need to have a beating
They take a stick and beat themselves

(Norwegian verse)

Ay, if you'd begin to live, to Oleanna you must go
The poorest wretch in Norway becomes a king in a year or so

(Norwegian verse)

(As sung by Pete Seeger and Lillebjørn Nilsen, Tønder Folk Festival 1990)

And from Pete's book 'Where Have All The Flowers Gone' (1992):
The original of [this] can be found in 'Norwegian Emigrant Songs and Ballads', by Blegen and Ruud (Arno Press, New York). It was a famous drinking song both in Norway and among Norwegian-American men. The story behind it? In the 1840's, the famous Norwegian violinist Ole Bull toured the USA. Some real estate agents sold him 120,000 acres in northwest Pennsylvania, and when he returned home he announced there was free land for Norwegian emigrants. But the first settlers found it was mostly rocks. No good for farming. They headed west to places like Wisconsin. This satirical ballad was written in 1853 by Ditmar Meidel, a Norwegian newspaper editor. It had several dozen verses.
The tune is one more variant of what we know best as Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, a melody with hundreds of different versions throughout Europe and the Americas. [...] I suspect the tune was known by our cave-dwelling ancestors.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idealist
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 09:07 AM

Thanks for posting. This is interesting.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idea
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 09:26 AM

I worked on my doctorate in Skandinavian Studies for quite a few years before finally abandoning it. I did spend many, many hours in the Skandinavian dept. of the university in the town where I still live in Germany. I have heard the name Ole Bull, or seen it on book jackets. I am more familiar with Ibsen and Grieg, though far from an expert.

It was a very interesting time in Skandinavia.

Another person you might be interested in looking into is the Dane Sven Grundtvig, the editor of _Danmarks gamle Folkeviser_ (_Denmarks Old Folk-Songs), a monumental collection.

Wikipedia links:

Grundtvig English
Folksongs English

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idea
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 09:28 AM

Sorry, a couple of the links disappeared, but the articles aren't hard to find.

I regret not looking at _Danmarks gamle Folkeviser_ more thoroughly when I could have done so. I used to have a key to the Skandinavian dept. and it was like my second home.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idealist
From: TenorTwo
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 11:07 AM

This is fascinating! I'd heard of Ole Bull, and been to Lysoen but knew nothing of his time in America. This must change!

T2


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idealist
From: Sttaw Legend
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 03:29 PM

I have an Ole Bull violin, and a fine instrument it is too.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idealist
From: GUEST,ibemadshell1
Date: 05 Oct 09 - 11:42 PM

I'm going to Cross Fork this weekend, I have been going for 30 years to my families cabin. I never knew that there was unfinished castle near by. Can't wait to go hiking with the kids to find it.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idealist
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 12:35 AM

I have not been to the site, but I understand that some of the foundations from the buildings still exist in the park.

Also, it is my understanding that "Oleanna" is the basis for the song "Big Rock Candy Mountain".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idealist
From: open mike
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 12:57 AM

the song oleanna or the community?
maybe mack "haywire" mclintlock knows....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idea
From: M.Ted
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 01:43 AM

Whereas Ole Bull's community never got of the ground, followers of Emmanuel Swedenborg created the community of Bryn Athyn, PA, which thrives to this day.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idealist
From: cetmst
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 07:56 AM

My education continues. Growing up in northwest Pennsylvania we viewed Ole Bull as more a folk figure and a utopian dreamer than the virtuoso musician that he was. Another misapprehension was that the city of Olean NY a little way up the Allegheny from home was named for him. Not so. The city was founded and named sometime around 1800, probably for the oil that was nearby. The Seneca oil spring was noted in 1627 by a French missionary and Seneca oil was an important medication until Colonel Drake drilled a hole in the ground and found vast stores which quickly found other uses. The land around Ole Bull's settlement is indeed unsuitable for farming and was extensively logged over in the 1800's but there are a few stands of virgin timber, most notably Cook Forest State Park, and the second growth forests comprise some beautiful scenery in the Black Moshannon State Forest. (I had always assumed that was named for an early Irish settler, but the name is a corruption of an Indian term for moose land). The area is physically and culturally far removed from the stereotypical Pennsylvania of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idealist
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 08:23 AM

Mudcat thread on Ole Bull fiddles


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idealist
From: open mike
Date: 08 Jan 10 - 07:07 PM

refresh, as there is a discussion of the song Oleanna
in the forum at this time.
which refers to this utopian community


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idealist
From: open mike
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 12:29 PM

Here is a pennsylvania historical marker and information about the utopian colony that used to be in Cherry Springs State PRK. http://explorepahistory.com/hmarker.php?markerId=1-A-3D5


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist & idealist
From: Arkie
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 09:30 AM

I have heard the song Oleanna but did not know the story behind it. Appreciate the posting.

Here in Stone County, Arkansas, at the southern tip of the Ozarks in the north central part of the state, there is a relatively new development with quite a few acres, nice new log homes, some visible from the highway, and at the entrance the word Norway is carved into a big sign. The development is in a rural area about 20 miles northwest of Mountain View.


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