Folket i Nifelhem for choir and orchestra
Wilhelm Stenhammar – Folket i Nifelhem for choir and orchestra
(b. Stockholm, 7 February 1871 — d. Stockholm, 20 November 1927)
Wilhelm Stenhammar was Sweden’s leading composer in the period when Finland was represented by Sibelius and Denmark by Nielsen. Just as these two composers (both of them Stenhammar’s friends) are held to stand above their compatriots of all centuries, so it is not unreasonable to claim the same exalted position for Stenhammar in Sweden.
His output of music was not great, but it all displays a very high level of workmanship and inspiration. His music has a distinctively personal sound, too. He led a busy life as pianist and conductor, working in Stockholm until 1907, then in Göteborg until 1922, then back in Stockholm until his death. His chief works are two symphonies, six string quartets, two operas, many songs and the Serenade for orchestra, which might in effect be considered his third symphony.
He composed few works for chorus, a fact much regretted by choral societies that have sung this music. He was particularly attached to the Swedish poet Oscar Levertin (1862-1906), whom he first met in Berlin in 1891. In that year he set Levertin’s poem Florez och Blanzeflor for baritone and orchestra, with a similar setting in 1905 of Levertin’s Ithaka. His mastery of choral writing is displayed in two settings of Levertin, Folket i Nifelhem (“The People of Nifelhem”) and Värnatt (“Spring Night”), comprising opus 30. Folket i Nifelhem was sketched out in 1911 in the seaside village of Fiskebäckskil, north of Stenhammar’s home in Göteborg, and first performed on 24 February 1913 at a concert of the Göteborg Orchestral Society conducted by the composer.
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Choir/Voice & Orchestra
225 x 320 mm