Sweden Music

Sweden Music


An important phase of renewal in the Swedish music of the twentieth century opens during the 1940s, above all thanks to the activity of H. Rosenberg (1892-1985), composer who managed to graft the influence of the main European movements, especially Expressionism.

A pupil of W. Stenhammar (1871-1927), Rosenberg was the author of a vast musical production, including numerous plays and eight symphonies, composed over a long period of time from 1917 to 1974. Among the compositions that most affected the musical panorama Swedish already during the Thirties, two of his operas are remembered, Resa till Amerika (“Journey to America”, 1932) and Marionetter (“Marionette”, 1938). His activity as a professor of composition in Stockholm (1940-50) is noteworthy, thanks to which he was able to introduce modern composition techniques to Sweden, forming many of the most significant Swedish composers of the new generation. G. Nystroem (1890-1966) and M. Pergament (1893-1977) belong to Rosenberg’s generation. Younger than these is A. Henneberg (b. 1901), a representative figure of the second quarter of the century especially as regards the production of operas, such as Den Pyckliga staden (“The happy city”, 1940-41) and I madonnans skugga (“The jewels of the madonna”, 1946). In this period L.-E. Larsson (b. 1908), and also H. Hallnäs (b. 1903), D. Wirén (b. 1905), G. de Frumerie (b. 1908) and E. von Koch (b. 1910).

In the immediate post-war period, the activity of the ” Monday Group ” was of great importance, including some composers who had been students of Rosenberg in Stockholm between the mid-thirties and the mid-forties, such as K. -B. Blomdhal (1916-1968), Sweden-E. Bäck (b.1919) and I. Lidholm (b.1921).

The work of Blomdhal, director of the Fylkingen Society of Contemporary Music until 1954, is also known outside his country, especially for operas, such as Aniara (1957-59; libretto by E. Lindegren, taken from a science fiction epos in verse by H. Martinson), in which the author makes use of serial and electronic music. Bäck, who made a name for himself on the music scene in his country starting in the mid-1940s with the Second string quartet (1947), is the author of chamber music in particular: his compositions from the 1950s, in which he makes use of dodecaphonic, remember Tranfjädrarna (“The wings of the crane”, 1956), radio opera for four solos, children’s choir, winds and small orchestra; And Gastabudet (“Il banchetto”, 1958), chamber opera for five solos and small orchestra, both composed for Radio Stockholm. Lidholm, a student of the Royal College of Music in the capital, taught composition at the Academy of Music (1947-56), and acquired a certain notoriety with the Concerto for strings (1945); later works include Ritornell, for orchestra (1956), in which he uses the dodecaphonic technique, and the ballet Riter (“Riti”), for orchestra and magnetic tape (1960). Also part of the ” Monday Group ” H. Leygraf (b. 1920) and I. Bengtsson (b. 1920).

Swedish music between the early fifties and sixties was marked by a more decisive opening towards the new currents of the European avant-garde, and in particular the German one. Of the composers interested in new compositional techniques and electronic music, at least B. Hambraeus (b.1928), A. Mellnås (b.1933), J. Bark (b.1934), K.-E. Welin (b.1934), and Bo Nillson (b.1937).

Hambraeus, who participated (1951-55) in modern music courses in Darmstadt, can be considered the first author of electronic music in a Scandinavian country: among other things, Doppelrohr II (1955) and Konstellationer II belong to this type of compositions. for organ and magnetic tape (1959). Mellnås, a student of Larsson and Blomdahl, worked a lot abroad, specializing in Berlin with B. Blacher and in Vienna with G. Ligeti, also attending the Ferienkurse in Darmstadt, GM Koenig’s electronic music courses in Bilthoven (1962-63), and still collaborating at the Tape Music Center in San Francisco (1964). Appointed (1963) professor of theory and instrumentation at the Musikhögskolan in Stockholm, he composed during the 1960s Gestes Sonores, for orchestral ensemble ad libitum (1964); Succsim, for choir (1965); Almost nothing, four trios for strings (1968); Conglomérat, for magnetic tape (1968). Bark, active as a trombone soloist in various jazz ensembles, was a student of Ligeti at the Stockholm Higher School of Music: a member of the Tape Music Center in San Francisco (1962), he is also the author of orchestral music (Pyknos, 1962) and chamber, including the four Quartets for trombone (1968-71) for the trombone quartet Kulturkvartetten, founded in 1964 by himself and by F. Rabe (b. 1935). Together with the latter, Bark composed 2 quartets for four trombones, Bolos (1962; ISCM award 1964) and Polonaise (1965); some pages of electronic music also belong to the Sixties, such as Ost Funk, for jazz ensemble and magnetic tape (1963). Welin, who can be considered the most representative Scandinavian author of music for the theater, studied (1955-56) at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin and was later a pupil (1956-61) of G. Bucht and I. Lidholm in Stockholm. Member of the Fylkingen society, he is the author of the play Drottning Jag (“Io Regina”, 1973), of the music for the puppet theater Ondine (1968) and Lille prinsen(“Little Princess”, 1973), of the ballets Copelius (1968) and Vindarnas cave (“The cave of the winds”, 1969). Nillson joined the modules of the new European avant-garde after passing through the experience of jazz music. In addition to Hambraeus, he was influenced in his early compositions by the influence of P. Boulez and K. Stockhausen: so in Two pieces for flute, bass clarinet, piano and percussion (1956), and in Frequenzen (1957), for piccolo, flute, percussion, guitar, vibraphone and double bass, perhaps the best known of his early works. These compositions were followed by Brief an Gösta Oswald, for voice and orchestra (1958-59), a cycle of works based on poems by Gösta Oswald.

Other important figures of the 1950s are those of LJ Werle (b.1926), pupil of Bäck, G. Bucht (b.1927), pupil of Blomdhal, and AG Petterson (1911-1980), who perfected in Paris (1951- 52) with A. Honegger and R. Leibowitz, author in particular of sixteen symphonies, composed between 1950 and 1979, to which he owes a good reputation also in the international field. Among the older ones we remember Sweden Broman (b.1902), who around 1950 adhered to dodecaphony and the aleatory technique, and C.-O. Andenberg (1910-1972), also a follower of the new compositional techniques, founder, in the mid-1950s, of his own electronic music studio. Among those who, during this period, intended to refer to neoclassicism, we recall a group of Larsson’s pupils, among which the figure of J. Carlstedt (b.1926) stands out, founder (1960) of the Society for contemporary music Samtida Musik, of which he became president, and through which he intended to react to contemporary avant-garde trends. Alongside him we remember H. Eklund (b. 1927) and Bo Linde (1933-1970).

According to PROEXCHANGERATES.COM, the younger composers such as JW Morthenson (b.1940), Sweden-D. Sandström (b.1942) and the Hungarian-born musician M. Maros (b.1943).

Morthenson, who in the 1960s collaborated with the magazine Fylkingen Bulletin (1966-68) and was then appointed president of Fylkingen (1975), composed, in addition to the Chamber Symphony (1960), Wechselspiel I for cello (1960), Wechselspiel II for flute and speakers (1961), and again the Wechselspiel III series for piano and percussion (1961), and more recently Macora, for string quartet. A pupil of Lidholm and Ligeti in the 1960s, Sandström composed With all strength, for orchestra (1976), Birgitta-Music I for voices, dancers and organ (1973), Utmost for wind quintet, three instruments and percussion (1975), the play Keisaren Jones (“The Emperor Jones”, 1980, based on the play by E. O’Neil) and Sax Music, for 4 saxophones (1985). Maros, after having studied at the Higher School of Music in Budapest, was a pupil of Ligeti and Lidholm in Stockholm; later moving to the Swedish capital, he was part of the electronic music studio; among his most successful compositions are the theatrical work Jag ōnkar, jag rore… (“I wanted, I would be …”, 1971) and the Quartet for saxophone.

The editions of the Swedish Musical Spring held in Stockholm in recent years are dedicated to the presentation of new Swedish music. In addition to the aforementioned Mellnås, Sandström and Carlstedt, J. Granderts, Sweden Neumann, K. Rehnquist, L.-E. Rosell, H.-O. Ericsson, J. Sandström, Sweden Hanson, C. Malklöf-Forssling, E. Hemberg, D. Börtz.

Sweden Music