Wolfgang Plagge: St. Hallvard – Piano Sonata VIII


Sonata for Piano Solo


A short life
Hallvard Vebjørnsson, cousin of king Olav Haraldsson, was born in 1020 at Huseby in Lier outside
Drammen into an influential family. Already as a very young man he led merchant ships to and from

One day as he gets ready to sail across the fjord, a young, pregnant woman comes running, pursued
by three men. they accuse her of theft from a storehouse, but she denies. Hallvard believes in her
innocence, defends her and escapes by boat out on the fjord with her on board. The stalkers attack
with bow and arrow from another boat. Hallvard covers the woman and uses a doorboard as a shield
but is hit in the throat and dies instantly. The pregnant woman is brought ashore, killed and buried
there, while Hallvard is thrown into the lake with a stone around his neck.

After a few weeks the body floats to the surface. Later several more unusual events, all connected to
Hallvard’s miraculous resurrection occur, which eventually lead to the proclamation of Sainthood for
the only 23 years old Hallvard in the year 1125.

The veneration for St Hallvard lived on after the Reformation. Until the 1890s, bottles of water from
a well said to have sprung up close to the place where Hallvard Vebjørnsson was killed, were sold
at Huseby farm.

Hallvard’s body was later moved from Lier to St Mary’s Church in Oslo, and then to the cathedral
that was given his name: Hallvard Cathedral was the largest building in Norway until Nidaros Cathedral
was erected around the year 1300. And Oslo’s patron saint came to play an important role in the
construction of the city that later would become capital of Norway.

Nils Heyerdal

Additional information

Weight 200 g
Dimensions 29.7 × 21 × 0.4 cm