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Blomdahl, Karl-Birger

stockholm electronic techniques swedish

Blomdahl, Karl-Birger, significant Swedish composer; b. Vatildexjouml, Oct. 19, 1916; d. Kungsângen, near Stockholm, June 14, 1968. He studied composition with Hilding Rosenberg and conducting with Tor Mann in Stockholm; in 1946 he traveled in France and Italy on a state stipend; in 1954–55 he attended a seminar at Tanglewood on a grant of the American–Scandinavian Foundation. Returning to Sweden, he taught composition at the Stockholm Musikhògskolan (1960–64); in 1964 he was appointed music director at the Swedish Radio. He was an organizer (with Batildeck, Carlid, Johan–son, and Lidholm) of a “Monday Group” in Stockholm, dedicated to the propagation of an objective and abstract idiom as distinct from the prevalent type of Scandinavian romanticism. Blomdahl’s early works are cast in a neo-Classical idiom, but he then turned to more advanced techniques, including the application of electronic resources. His Third Sym., Facetter (Facets), utilizes dodecaphonic techniques. In 1959 he brought out his opera Aniara, which made him internationally famous; it pictures a pessimistic future when the remnants of the inhabitants of the planet Earth, devastated by atomic wars and polluted by radiation, are forced to emigrate to saner worlds in the galaxy; the score employs electronic sounds, and its thematic foundation is derived from a series of 12 different notes and 11 different intervals. At the time of his death, Blomdahl was working on an opera entitled The Saga of the Great Computer, incorporating electronic and concrete sounds, and synthetic speech.

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