Sketch of Alfvén by Peder Severin Krøyer, 1903
|Birth name||Hugo Emil Alfvén|
|Born||1 May 1872|
|Died||8 May 1960 (aged 88)|
|Occupation(s)||Composer, conductor, violinist, painter, writer|
Alfvén was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and studied at the Royal College of Music (Kungliga Musikhögskolan) from 1887 to 1891 with the violin as his main instrument while receiving lessons from Lars Zetterquist. He also took private composition lessons from Johan Lindegren, a leading counterpoint expert. He earned a living by playing the violin at the Royal Opera in Stockholm. He also played the violin in the Royal Swedish Orchestra.
Starting in 1897, Alfvén travelled much of the next ten years in Europe. He studied violin technique in Brussels with César Thomson and learned conducting in Dresden as sub-conductor under Hermann Ludwig Kutzschbach. In 1903-4 he was professor of composition at the Royal Conservatory, Stockholm. From 1910 Alfvén was Director musices (music director) at the University of Uppsala (a post he held until 1939). There he also directed the male voice choir Orphei Drängar (or 'O.D.') (until 1947). He conducted in festivals at Dortmund (1912), Stuttgart (1913), Gothenburg (1915), and Copenhagen (1918–1919). He toured Europe as a conductor throughout his life. He received a Ph.D. honoris causa from Uppsala in 1917 and became a member of the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm in 1908. Alfvén recorded some of his orchestral music in stereo late in 1954 (the first classical stereo recordings made in Sweden); the recordings were issued on LP in the U.S. by Westminster Records. A three-CD collection of Alfvén's recordings as a conductor has been issued.
Alfvén became known as one of Sweden's principal composers of his time, together with his contemporary Wilhelm Stenhammar. Alfvén's music is in a late-Romantic idiom. His orchestration is skillful and colorful, reminiscent of that of Richard Strauss. Like Strauss, Alfvén wrote a considerable amount of program music. Some of Alfvén's music evokes the landscape of Sweden.
Among his works are a large number of pieces for male voice choir, five symphonies and three orchestral "Swedish Rhapsodies." The first of these rhapsodies, Midsommarvaka is his best known piece.
Alfvén's five symphonies, the first four of them now several-times recorded (with another cycle in progress), give a picture of the composer's musical progress. The first, in F minor, his Op. 7 from 1897, is an early work, tuneful in a standard four movements. The second, in D major (1898–99), his Op. 11 (and in a way his graduation piece, as recounted ) concludes with a substantial, even powerful chorale-prelude and fugue in D minor. The third symphony in E major, Op. 23 (1905), also in four movements, more mature in technique though light in manner was inspired by a trip to Italy. The fourth symphony in C minor, Op. 39, of 1918–9 "From the Outermost Skerries" (there is also a tone-poem, A Legend of the Skerries) is a symphony in one forty-five-minute movement using wordless voices, inspired by Carl Nielsen's Sinfonia Espansiva. The 5th in A minor, begun 1942, is one of the composer's last works, and has been recorded only twice in full (recordings and performances of the 5th, while rare enough, are usually of its quarter-hour first movement).
Naxos Records and BIS Records among others have either collections or groups of individual recordings covering all of his symphonies and a range of his works. Brilliant Classics has licensed and re-issued the 5-CD set from BIS devoted to Alfvén that includes the symphonies and other orchestral works.
The first rhapsody – Swedish Rhapsody No. 1, also known as Midsommarvaka (Midsummer Vigil) – was written in 1903 and is often simply called the "Swedish Rhapsody." It is the best-known piece composed by Alfvén, and also one of the best-known pieces of music in Sweden.
Alfvén's contributions were multi-dimensional and also included painting and writing. He was a talented watercolorist and once thought to devote himself entirely to painting. He also was a gifted writer. His four-volume autobiography has been called "captivating" and provides significant insight into the musical life of Sweden in which Alfvén was a central figure for well over half a century.
Alfvén was married three times. His first marriage (1912–36) was to the Danish painter Marie Triepcke (1867–1940), who had previously been married to the painter Peder Severin Krøyer (1851–1909). After his divorce from Marie in 1936, he married Carin Wessberg (1891-1956). They were together for two decades (1936–56) before she died. He married Anna Lund (1891-1990) in 1959.
When Hugo Alfvén died, his musical archive was handed over to the University of Uppsala and Jan Olof Rudén was then responsible for filing Alfvén's music, trying to create order in the chaos of a total of 214 works. The works of the composer were officially filed and opus numbered to a total of 54 musical compositions. Alfvén's works were filed according to a Rudén number along with a catalog for an opus number. Rudén has thereby attempted to classify based on other data. There still exist documents to which neither date nor Opus/Rudén number has been accorded.
In the following works below, it may be that some opus numbers contain more than one title. Opus number 48 was never used or at least recovered.
Events from the year 1872 in SwedenAndrew West (pianist)
Andrew West (born 5 February 1979 in Tayport) is an English pianist.
Andrew West read English at Clare College, Cambridge University before going on to study piano and composition with Christopher Elton and John Streets at the Royal Academy of Music. He won second prize for piano at the Geneva International Music Competition in 1990. He now coaches on the Vocal Faculty at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as well as teaching piano accompaniment at the Royal Academy of Music. He is also one of the artistic directors of the Nuremberg International Chamber Music Festival.He has recorded the complete works of Les Six for flute and piano with Emily Beynon (flute), and accompanied soprano Emma Bell in a recording of songs by Strauss, Walter and Marx. He collaborated with the Lyric Quartet to record a CD of chamber music by Herbert Howells.For the 2004 Aldeburgh Festival, Richard Baker, in collaboration with poet Lavinia Greenlaw, composed a cycle of songs for West and baritone Christopher Purves. In 2006 he accompanied baritone Håkan Vramsmo at the Luton Music Festival, playing songs by Richard Strauss, Hugo Alfvén, Sibelius, Britten and Schumann.August Söderman
(Johan) August Söderman (17 July 1832 in Stockholm – 10 February 1876 in Stockholm) has traditionally been seen as the pre-eminent Swedish composer of the Romantic generation, known especially for his lieder and choral works, based on folk material, and for his theatre music, such as the incidental music to Ludvig Josephson's Marsk Stigs döttrar ("Marshal Stig's Daughter"), 1866, or his Svenskt festspel ("Swedish Festival Music").
The son of a musical father and a pupil of the Royal Swedish Academy in Stockholm, he studied piano, but mastered the oboe and violin as well. In 1856–57 he studied counterpoint at the Leipzig Conservatory with Ernst Richter; there, in a musical culture that bore the imprint of Mendelssohn, he became familiar with the music of Robert Schumann and also with that of Richard Wagner. On his return to Stockholm he worked as a theatre conductor, and at the Royal Swedish Opera as choirmaster and eventually assistant conductor.
He wrote several operettas (The Devil’s First Try, 1856) and incidental music for about 80 plays, such as a Swedish translation of Schiller's Die Jungfrau von Orleans ("The Maid of Orleans"). His influence can be detected in the music of later Swedish Romantic composers, Hugo Alfvén and Wilhelm Peterson-Berger.
Söderman died aged 43. His music is virtually unknown outside Sweden.Finger Style Guitar
Finger-Style Guitar is the sixth studio album by American guitarist Chet Atkins, released in 1956.Marie Krøyer
Marie Triepcke Krøyer Alfvén (11 June 1867 – 25 May 1940), commonly known as Marie Krøyer, was a Danish painter. She is remembered principally as the wife of Peder Severin Krøyer, one of the most successful members of the artists' colony known as the Skagen Painters, which flourished at the end of the 19th century in the far north of Jutland. Marie was also a part of the small group of danish painters in her own right. From an early age, Marie aspired to become an artist, and after training privately in Copenhagen she went to Paris to continue her studies.There she was educated in the principals of Naturalism, and was influenced greatly by the French Impressionists. It was there, in early 1889, that she met Krøyer, who immediately fell madly in love with her. Although he was sixteen years her senior, the couple married that summer and in 1891 settled in Skagen. Clearly inspired by Marie's beauty, Krøyer had ample opportunity to paint her portraits both indoors and outdoors, especially on the beach. Married life became more difficult as Krøyer experienced periods of mental illness from 1900, and Marie eventually began an affair with the Swedish composer Hugo Alfvén who had also been taken by her beauty. The couple had a child, Marie divorced Krøyer and moved to Sweden with Alfvén. They married in 1912, but marital problems once again resulted in divorce. Marie was reluctant to paint after meeting Krøyer, whom she looked up to as a far more competent artist, and she is remembered more as the subject of some of his best-known paintings than for her own work, although several of her pictures have recently attracted renewed interest. She is now also recognized for her significant contributions to design and architecture.Musical nationalism
Musical nationalism refers to the use of musical ideas or motifs that are identified with a specific country, region, or ethnicity, such as folk tunes and melodies, rhythms, and harmonies inspired by them.Not Necessarily Acoustic
Not Necessarily Acoustic is a live album recorded on Steve Howe's first solo tour and released in 1994.P. S. Krøyer's paintings of Marie
Peder Severin Krøyer painted various portraits of his wife, Marie Krøyer née Triepcke, a fellow Danish artist who was said to be one of the most beautiful women in Copenhagen. Norwegian-born Peder had met and painted Marie in Copenhagen but fell in love with her when they met in Paris in 1889. After a honeymoon in northern Jutland and Italy, the couple settled in Skagen on the northern tip of Jutland in 1891, joining the group of artists that became known as the Skagen Painters.
The first few years of their marriage were reasonably happy, leading to the birth of their daughter Vibeke in 1895, but as a result of P. S. Krøyer's periods of mental illness, by the early 1900s they spent ever more time apart. In 1902, Marie began an affair with the Swedish composer Hugo Alfvén, with whom she became pregnant in 1905. Thereafter she spent most of her time with Alfvén in Sweden, marrying him in 1912, three years after Krøyer had died in Skagen.
Krøyer's paintings of Marie between 1888 and 1906 present a record of the years they spent together. They show some of their most enjoyable times but also hint at the marital tension that increased as time went by. Among the most notable paintings of her are Summer Evening at Skagen. The Artist's Wife and Dog by the Shore (1892), one of Denmark's most popular works, which shows Marie on the beach with their dog and with the moonlight reflected in the sea, Roses (1893), which depicts her relaxing in the garden, and Summer Evening at Skagen Beach – The Artist and his Wife (1899). Also of note are the depictions of Marie on holiday in Ravello on the Amalfi Coast of Italy in 1890; the portrait for the frieze in the dining room at Skagen's Brøndums Hotel; Chez Moi, a series of watercolours of Marie and the couple's daughter Vibeke in the family homes in Copenhagen and Skagen; and Midsummer Eve Bonfire on Skagen Beach, his last painting of her in which she is shown captured in the firelight with Alfvén.Randi Stene
Randi Stene (born 12 April 1963) is a Norwegian opera singer and contralto from Trondheim.After her studies in Trondheim, Oslo and København, her international breakthrough came as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose) at the Opéra Bastille in Paris in 1993. She had the same success with this role in London. Her interpretation of Silla in Hans Pfitzner's opera Palestrina at Covent Garden rocketed her to the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
As a soloist, Randi Stene has performed at BBC Proms with Esa-Pekka Salonen and at the Salzburg Festival with Philippe Herreweghe. She is also a frequent guest soloist with the symphony orchestras in the Nordic capaitals. Given her base in Copenhagen and her key role within Danish opera, she was an obvious choice as a soloist at the inauguration of the new opera house in Copenhagen in the new production of Verdi's Aida. Her recordings includes songs by Hugo Alfvén, John Dowland, Edvard Grieg, Wilhelm Peterson-Berger and Jean Sibelius.
In 2004 Stene was named Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog, and in 2007 she received the Norwegian-Finnish Sibelius Award.Rhapsody (music)
A rhapsody in music is a one-movement work that is episodic yet integrated, free-flowing in structure, featuring a range of highly contrasted moods, colour, and tonality. An air of spontaneous inspiration and a sense of improvisation make it freer in form than a set of variations.
The word rhapsody is derived from the Greek: ῥαψῳδός, rhapsōidos, a reciter of epic poetry (a rhapsodist), and came to be used in Europe by the 16th century as a designation for literary forms, not only epic poems, but also for collections of miscellaneous writings and, later, any extravagant expression of sentiment or feeling. In the 18th century, literary rhapsodies first became linked with music, as in Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart's Musicalische Rhapsodien (1786), a collection of songs with keyboard accompaniment, together with a few solo keyboard pieces (Rink 2001). The first solo piano compositions with the title, however, were Václav Jan Tomášek’s fifteen Rhapsodies, the first of which appeared in 1810 (Randel 2003). Although vocal examples may be found as late as Brahms's Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53 (1869), in the 19th century the rhapsody had become primarily an instrumental form, first for the piano and then, in the second half of the century, a large-scale nationalistic orchestral "epic"—a fashion initiated by Franz Liszt (Rink 2001). Interest in Romani violin playing beginning in the mid-19th century led to a number of important pieces in that style, in particular by Liszt, Antonín Dvořák, George Enescu, Ernő Dohnányi, and Béla Bartók, and in the early 20th century British composers exhibiting the influence of folksong composed a number of examples, including Ralph Vaughan Williams's three Norfolk Rhapsodies, George Butterworth's A Shropshire Lad, and Frederick Delius's Brigg Fair (which is subtitled "An English Rhapsody") (Thompson and Bellingham 2002).
Some familiar examples may give an idea of the character of a rhapsody:
Hugo Alfvén, Swedish Rhapsody No. 1 (Midsommarvaka), for orchestra
Béla Bartók, Rhapsody No. 1 and Rhapsody No. 2 for violin and piano (also arranged for orchestra)
Johannes Brahms, Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79, and Rhapsody in E-flat major, Op. 119, No. 4, for solo piano
Emmanuel Chabrier, España, rhapsody for orchestra
Claude Debussy, Première rhapsodie for clarinet and piano (also orchestrated by the composer)
Claude Debussy, Rhapsody for alto saxophone and orchestra
Ernő Dohnányi, Four Rhapsodies, Op. 11, for solo piano
George Enescu, Romanian Rhapsodies Nos. 1 and 2, for orchestra
Edward German, Welsh Rhapsody, for orchestra
George Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue, Second Rhapsody, for piano and orchestra
James P. Johnson, Yamekraw—A Negro Rhapsody
Herbert Howells, Three Rhapsodies, Op. 17, for solo organ
Franz Liszt, Hungarian Rhapsodies for solo piano
David Popper, Hungarian Rhapsody
Sergei Rachmaninoff, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43, for piano and orchestra
Maurice Ravel, Rapsodie espagnole, for orchestra
Ralph Vaughan Williams, Norfolk Rhapsody No. 1, for orchestra
Pancho Vladigerov, Bulgarian Rhapsody "Vardar"In 1975, the British rock band Queen released "Bohemian Rhapsody", a bombastic mock-operatic rock song which is in the form of a four-part suite, but performed with rock instrumentation (Erlewine n.d.; Anon. n.d.). Though described by its composer Freddie Mercury as a "mock opera" (Brown 2012, 155), it has also been characterized as a "sort of seven-minute rock cantata (or ‘megasong’) in three distinct movements" (Taruskin 2009, 328). It became one of the UK's best-selling singles of all time (Roberts 2012).Royal Academic Orchestra
The Royal Academic Orchestra (Swedish: Kungliga Akademiska Kapellet) is Uppsala University’s symphony orchestra. Both the University and its orchestra are deeply rooted in history. Uppsala University, established in 1477, is the oldest in the Nordic countries, and its orchestra, which is mentioned in extant sources for the first time in 1627, is among the oldest in Europe. The orchestra was established by King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. From the beginning it was predominantly a vocal ensemble, but with the advent of new Baroque stylistic ideals this chorus was gradually turned into a purely instrumental ensemble under the leadership of the University’s director musices. Its duties were primarily to provide music at academic festivities, such as conferment ceremonies and inaugurations of vice-chancellors, but also on religious and national holidays.
In the rich musical life that emerged in the 19th century, the Royal Academic Orchestra was frequently heard, in public concerts with the University’s newly established choirs, and it developed into a more and more consummate symphony orchestra. In recent centuries the position as director musices has been held by some of Sweden’s foremost composers, including Johann Christian Friedrich Haeffner, Hugo Alfvén, and Lars Erik Larsson. Since 2000 the orchestra has been directed by Stefan Karpe.Swedish Rhapsody (Numbers station)
Swedish Rhapsody is a well known numbers station, operated by the Służba Bezpieczeństwa (Later Agencja Wywiadu) that used AM broadcasting and operated between the late 1950s and 1998. It is notorious for its use of what was once believed to be the voice of a young girl, speaking in the German language, yet it was later revealed to be that of a special machine used by the German Stasi known as the "Sprach-Morse-Generator".The numbers station is mostly known for its signature melody, Swedish Rhapsody No. 1 by Hugo Alfvén, recorded from a music box manufactured by Reuge, although Agencja Wywiadu claimed that the melody is the "Luxembourg Polka".
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the station ceased operations. Yet it is believed to have once again resumed operations under the now Western-allied Poland between 1998 and 2003 in English Language.Swedish Rhapsody No. 1
Swedish Rhapsody No. 1 (Swedish: Svensk rapsodi) is the subtitle of Midsommarvaka (Swedish for Midsummer Vigil), a symphonic rhapsody by the Swedish composer Hugo Alfvén (1872 – 1960). Although it is only the first of three similarly named works, it is often simply called the "Swedish Rhapsody".
The Rhapsody was written in 1903. It is the best-known piece by Alfvén, and also one of the best-known pieces of music in Sweden. The score, published around 1906, describes it as:
[A] fantasy on popular Swedish folk melodies depicting the moods evoked by an old-time Swedish Midsummer wake; the dancing and games around the May-pole through the magic night of Midsummer Eve. [One theme] is the composer's own invention, while other themes are borrowed from the folk-music of Sweden and elaborated by the composer.
The Rhapsody was adapted as a ballet, La Nuit de St Jean, choreographed by Jean Börlin. It was first performed by Ballets Suedois in Paris in October 1920.The Best of Chet Atkins
The Best of Chet Atkins is a compilation recording by American guitarist Chet Atkins, released in 1964.The Linnaeus Museum
The Linnaeus Museum (Swedish:Linnémuseet) is a biographical museum in the Linnaean Garden in Uppsala, Sweden, dedicated to the 18th century botanist Carl Linnaeus. It is run by the Swedish Linnaeus Society. The house was built by Olaus Rudbeck in 1693 and served as official residence for employees at Uppsala University from the latter part of the 17th century until 1934. Its last occupant was musician Hugo Alfvén. Between 1743 and 1778, Carl Linnaeus resided in the building, and in 1937 it was re-made into a museum of Linnaeus personal and professional life. Furniture, household items and textiles, which belonged to the family, are exhibited together with Linnaeus personal medicinal cabinet, insect cabinet and herbarium.Carl Linnaeus was born in Småland in 1707 but started studying at Uppsala University in 1730, and he later became professor of botany and principal at the same university. He is known for formalising the modern system of naming organisms, creating the modern binomial nomenclature.Uppenbarelsekyrkan
For the church in Hägersten, see Uppenbarelsekyrkan, Hägersten.Uppenbarelsekyrkan (Church of the Epiphany) is a church in Saltsjöbaden in Nacka Municipality, southeast of Stockholm, Sweden.
The church was built in 1910-1913 to designs by Swedish architect Ferdinand Boberg. It was financed by Swedish businessman Knut Wallenberg and inaugurated on his 60th birthday, on May 18, 1913. Among the people involved in the decoration of the church are Nathan Söderblom, Johnny Roosval, Carl Milles, Olle Hjortzberg, Filip Månsson, Oscar Brandtberg and Hugo Alfvén.Uti vår hage (folk song)
"Uti vår hage" ("Out in our meadow" or "In our meadow") is a traditional Swedish folk song first published in Gotland sometime during the 1880s by Hugo Lutteman, though it is also considered to have earlier origins as far back as the 1600s.The piece became widely published in the 1890s and is associated with a boom in interest in folk traditions in Sweden during this decade. The piece continues to be well known by the Swedish populace, performed frequently by choral groups, and has been described as a "national song treasure" typically taught to schoolchildren. Also owing to this popularity is an arrangement of the piece by composer Hugo Alfvén in 1923.The piece is often performed, among other Swedish traditional songs, during Walpurgis Night.Westminster Records
Westminster Records was an American classical music record label, issuing original recordings until 1965. It was co–founded in 1949 by Mischa Naida (who later founded Musical Heritage Society), the owner of the Westminster Record Shop in New York City, businessman James Grayson (1897–1980), conductor Henry Swoboda, and Henry Gage. Its trademark was Big Ben and its slogan was "natural balance", referring to its single microphone technique in recording music, similar to Mercury Records' Living Presence series.
Early on, its recordings were technically superior to most others in the marketplace, and the label became popular among the growing community of audiophiles. In the late 1950s the company began issuing stereophonic recordings, including a rare disc of the music of Swedish composer Hugo Alfvén (1872-1960), conducted by the composer. The "Westminster Laboratory" (W-Lab) series of classical recordings were technically superior to other brands and sold at higher price than the regular Westminsters.
The company was sold in the early 1960s to ABC-Paramount Records, which at first continued to issue new material (as well as reissuing old recordings on the "Westminster Gold" label). Westminster stopped issuing new (original) recordings in 1965. Beginning in 1970, ABC's "Westminster Gold" reissues adopted sleeve designs that used whimsy and humor to garner sales from high school and college-age classical music fans.MCA Records acquired the Westminster catalog when it bought ABC Records in 1979. While continuing to distribute ABC's inventory of classical music albums, MCA hired former ABC classical department head John Sievers to start up its own MCA classical music department. The next year, MCA reissued much of the classical music back catalogues of Command Records, Decca Records, and ABC/Westminster Records on the "MCA Westminster" label.The Westminster catalogue, as well as the rest of the MCA classical music catalogue, is now managed by Deutsche Grammophon.