Cultural History Encyclopedia

More information about this article

More information about this article


Published 04. December 2001

Last update 04. June 2019




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Memorial stone for Johannes Haarklou

Johannes Haarklou (1847-1925), born at Hårklau in Haukedalen, is one of the most versatile music composers Norway ever had. He studied in Germany and elsewhere and was a church organist in Kristiania (now Oslo) for forty years. In the summer of 1927, a memorial stone to commemorate him was unveiled at Hårklau.

The Haarklou stone can be seen quite clearly from the road at the farm Hårklau on the lake Haukedalsvatnet. It was moved a few yards in the 1970s when the county road was widened and adjusted.

The Haarklou stone can be seen quite clearly from the road at the farm Hårklau on the lake Haukedalsvatnet. It was moved a few yards in the 1970s when the county road was widened and adjusted.

Owner: Fylkesarkivet i Sogn og Fjordane.

Date: 2001.

Photographer: Hermund Kleppa.

Johannes Haarklou

Johannes Haarklou, born on 13 May, 1847, was the son of Ole Nilsson Hårklau, farmer, born in 1815 at Dvergsdal, Jølster, and Orlaug Andersdotter, born 1808 at Hårklau. He attended the teachers' training college at Balestrand and at Stord. In the autumn of 1868 he became a teacher at Nedre Eiker and studied music with the organist Christian Cappelen. Later he studied music at the music conservatory in Leipzig, and in Berlin.
From 1880 to 1920 Haarklou was a church organist in Kristiania, from 1882 in the Old Aker Church. He wrote five operas, cantatas, four symphonies, smaller orchestral works, several pieces for piano and violin, a great many romances, and above all, a great number of pieces for male choir. He also organized and conducted "public concerts" in Bergen and in Kristiania, with reasonable admission, receiving financial support from the state. He was active reviewing music in newspapers and magazines.
Haarklou died on 26 November, 1925.

The stone

The Haarklou stone is erected by the road at the farm Hårklau, situated on the west side of the lake Haukedalsvatnet, less than 2.5 kilometres from the road crossing at state road no. 5 Viksdalen - Moskog. It is on cultivated farmland with grass turf on all sides. The front of the memorial faces the road and the lake.
It is a fairly large memorial made of pale rock, approx. 340 centimetres tall and 70 by 30 centimetres at the base. It tapers off to a point. In some places concrete has been used to smooth down unevenness.

Facial relief and inscription

On the front the inscription is above and beneath a portrait in cast brass. The relief is oval with axes of 44 and 35 centimetres. Along the edge of the lower part of the relief is engraved:
GAAVA FRAA SUNNFJORDLAGET I OSLO OG TAASEN BARNEKOR VESTRE AKER (gift from the Sunnfjordlaget in Oslo and Taasen Children's Choir Vestre Aker). And in smaller letters under this text the artist has signed: MAJA REFSUM 1927.
On the stone is cut: TONEDtAREN (the melody poet)(above the relief, and) JOHS. HAARKLOU (drawing for born and) 13 May, 1847 (drawing for died and) 26 November, 1925
On the back of the stone is cut: HAUKEDØLARNE * REIStE StEINEN * 31-7-1927 (the people of Haukedalen * erected this stone *, 31 June, 1927

Memorial stone after two years

Less than two years passed from the time Haarklou died, on 26 November, 1925, until a memorial stone for him was unveiled in his birthplace, on 31 July, 1927. Gustav Gjerland, a teacher born at Haukedalen, living in Oslo, took the initiative to have a memorial erected, and he was chairman of the memorial stone committee. A great many people contributed, both at Haukedalen and in the capital. The Sunnfjordlaget (civic organization) in Oslo and the Tåsen barnekor (children's choir) at Vestre Aker gave the relief , while the Haukedalen people donated the stone.

The unveiling ceremony

The memorial stone was unveiled on Sunday, 31 July, 1927. The ceremony began with a service in the Haukedalen chapel, where dean Hope spoke, and Haarklou's widow and their son, Andreas, performed song and music.
In the afternoon the neighbourhood to a man found their way to Hårklau. More than a thousand people took part. The vicar Ragnvald Indrebø, later bishop of Bjørgvin, gave the ceremonial speech.
Gustav Gjerland, teacher, handed over the stone to Haukedalen Ungdomslag (civic organization). And there were quite a few more speeches and greetings from near and far.


Benestad, Finn: Johannes Haarklou. Mannen og verket. Oslo 1961.
Norsk Allkunnebok. Band VI, Oslo 1954.
Førsund, Finn Borgen: Førde bygdebok. Gardssoge og soga om folket. Førde 1990.
Johannes Haarklou. I 17 Mai. Oslo 1925. Attgjeve i Sogeblad for Førde nr.5.
Nydal, Gustav: Ole Nilsen Haarklou og Johannes Haarklou. I Firda1927. Attgjeve i Sogeblad for Førde kommune. Nr. 5. 1987.
Opplysningar frå:
Norvald Hårklau, Førde.
Sandnes, Ola: Johannes Haarklou, i Jul i Sunnfjord 1968.
Sætre, Arild: Komponisten som gjekk i gløymaboka, i Jul i Sunnfjord 1991.
Benestad, Finn: Ved 150-årsjubileet for Johannes Haarklou, i Jul i Sunnfjord 1997.
Flokenes, Mads: Johannes Haarklou, dikt i Jul i Sunnfjord 1997.