October 26, 2010

Electing the elect

Filed under: Uncategorized — jchatoff @ 12:37 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Sweden and Norway dissolved their union on this date in 1905 – they, and Denmark, had been involved in various combinations for centuries, but a Denmark-Norway pairing fell apart when Denmark took the wrong side in the Napoleonic Wars and as part of the Treaty of Kiel had to give Norway to Sweden.  So they were linked from 1814 to 1905.

Prince Carl, aka King Haakon VII, arriving in Norway to be king. He's carrying King Olav V.

Norwegians began to agitate for independence around the turn of the century and the Swedish king, Oscar II, was willing to go along with it. The parliament voted for dissolution and Oscar said fine, whatever.  Then the Norwegians asked Oscar if he would send one of his younger sons to be their king.  He wasn’t willing, so the Norwegians then turned to Denmark and asked Crown Prince Frederick if they could have Prince Carl.  He said fine, but Carl said he would come be the king only if a public referendum approved of him. (Isn’t this the most adorable, civilized thing you ever heard?)

So the king was elected (!) and took the name Haakon from the 14th century king Haakon VI.  Haakon VII reigned for 33 years and was followed by his son Olav V, who reigned for 21 years.  Haakon’s grandson Prince Harald is currently the King of Norway.

* * *

Scanning the list of famous birthdays on this date for someone worth mentioning, I noticed a curious pattern – it seemed like every other name was that of a composer. Here they are:

  • 1483 – Hans Buchner, composer
  • 1685 – Domenico Scarlatti, Naples Italy, composer/harpsichordist
  • 1694 – Johan Helmich Roman, Finnish/Swedish composer/conductor/violinist
  • 1719 – Joaquin de Oxinaga, composer
  • 1740 – Ernest Louis Muller, composer
  • 1758 – Louis-Charles-Joseph Rey, composer
  • 1789 – Joseph Mayseder, composer 1795 – Nicolaos Mantzaros, composer
  • 1813 – Henry Thomas Smart, composer
  • 1818 – Stefano Golinelli, composer
  • 1830 – Polibo Fumagalli, composer
  • 1845 – Hendrick Waelput, Flemish composer/conductor (Forest, Stella)
  • 1859 – Arthur Friedheim, composer
  • 1864 – Joseph Moorat, composer
  • 1871 – Hermann Lohr, composer
  • 1886 – Gustav Hermann Unger, composer
  • 1898 – Beryl Rubinstein, composer
  • 1907 – Giovanni Salviucci, composer
  • 1915 – Golfredo Corradetti, conductor
  • 1929 – Hans Peter Haller, composer
  • 1934 – Hans-Joachim Rödelius, German composer and musician
  • 1942 – Dietmar Polaczek, composer

That’s a lot of composers.  Is it that the planets align on this date to produce musicians?  The bulk of them are in the 19th century – nine composers, in fact, out of 37 entries.  That is essentially 25%, a statistically significant number.  Was music a growth industry in that era? Curiouser and curiouser.


  1. Nice story about Sweden-Denmark-Norway. Did not know that Norway still had a king.
    Really strange about all those composers having the same birth date! Either your making all this up, or you are a genius at finding these fantastic subjects.


    Comment by GALYA TARMU — October 26, 2010 @ 6:41 pm | Reply

  2. lol! why would i make it up?


    Comment by jchatoff — October 26, 2010 @ 6:49 pm | Reply

  3. very cool! =)


    Comment by Nina — October 26, 2010 @ 7:48 pm | Reply

  4. Very royal story telling thank you.


    Comment by avery — October 27, 2010 @ 11:22 am | Reply

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