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. …
for mixed choir, solo quartet, boys’ choir, organ, and large orchestra
I Kyrie g-moll. Adagio (p. 3) – Christe eleison. Etwas fließender (p. 13) – Kyrie eleison. Tempo primo (p. 22)
II Gloria H-Dur. Lebhaft und leidenschaftlich (p. 28) – Et in terra pax (p. 34) – Laudamus te (p. 35) – Gratias. Ruhig (p. 47) – Domine Deus, rex coelestis (p. 54) – Qui tollis (p. 59) – Quoniam (p. 63) –
Sum Sancto Spiritu (p. 68) – Amen (p. 80)
III Credo As-Dur. Breit beginnend (p. 83) – Patrem omnipotentem (p. 88) – Factorem coeli et terra (p. 91) – Visibilium omnium et invisibilium (p. 100) – Et in unum Dominum (p. 106) – Deum de Deo (p. 114) – Genitum, non factum (p. 119) – Qui propter (p. 128) – Incarnatus de Spiritu Sancto (p. 129) –
Homo factus est (p. 130) – Crucifixus (p. 136) – Et resurrexit (p. 138) –
Et in Spiritum Sanctum Dominum (p. 149) – Confiteor (p. 155) – Et vitam venturi. Fuga (p. 162) – Amen (p. 179)
Offertorium B-Dur. In festum Sanctissimi Nominis Jesu. Sehr Ruhig (p. 190)
Sanctus. Breit (p. 199)
Interludium sub conservatione (p. 212) – attacca:
Benedictus D-Dur. Mit größter Ruhe (p. 213) – Hosianna (p. 228)
Agnus Dei h-moll. Sehr langsam (p. 237) – Dona eis pacem (p. 244)
Walter Braunfels, the son of Ludwig Braunfels, a Jewish literary scholar who converted to Protestantism, and Helene Spohr, Louis Spohr’s grandniece, known to Franz Liszt and Clara Schumann, was first musically educated by his mother. At the age of 12 he was a junior student at the Hoch’sches Konservatorium in his native city, then went to Munich to study law and economics, then to Vienna, where he took piano lessons with Theodor Leschetitzky, and back to Munich, where he found his mentor in the famous conductor Felix Mottl and Ludwig Thuille also had an inspiring influence on him….