Home » Uncategorized » Johannes Hanssen and his Valdres March

Johannes Hanssen and his Valdres March


Johannes Hanssen (December 2, 1874–November 25, 1967) was a Norwegian bandmaster, composer, and teacher. Born on December 2, 1874, in Ullensaker, Norway, he was bandmaster of the Oslo Military Band from 1926 to 1934 and again from 1945 to 1946. Hanssen received the King’s Order of Merit in Gold and King Haakon VII’s Jubilee Medal. His most famous composition is his Valdresmarsjen (1904), a march celebrating the beautiful Valdres region in Norway that lies between Oslo and Bergen. The main theme is the signature fanfare for the Valdres Battalion, which is based on an ancient melody formerly played on the medieval lur, an uncoiled wooden wind instrument. The melody of the trio section derives from a fiddle tune traditional in Hardanger and a pentatonic folk tune, above a typical Norwegian drone bass line.

Hanssen was a horn player in the Norwegian band Brigademusikken when it was first performed in 1904 by the band of the second regiment of Norway at an outdoor concert, with the composer playing the baritone horn himself.  Apparently only two members of the audience applauded, and they were his best friends. Later this distinctive classic march, long a favorite of band directors, achieved international fame, and was included on a recording by the Boston Symphony Orchestra entitled ‘The World’s Ten Best Marches.’  Numerous settings for brass band exist in addition to various arrangements for concert band. From 1926 onwards, Hanssen was a lieutenant and director of Brigademusikken, although he also worked as an orchestral musician prior to his death on November 25, 1967, in Oslo.

My collection includes the following work by Johannes Hanssen:

Valdres March.

—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources


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