Hugo Alfvén is one of the most famous and beloved Swedish composers. His production is rich and mainly consists of virtuoso orchestral music, romantic solos and folk choral songs.

With the first symphony (1896), Alfvén became one of the first modern composers to devote himself to this genre in Sweden. It is an impressive first work and with the second symphony (1899) came his definitive breakthrough, while at the same time he was labeled as learned and academic. He first showed that he also had an infectious sense of humor in the Swedish rhapsodyMidsummer vigil(1903). In a series of orchestral works, including three more symphonies, the symphonic poemAn archipelago legend,The Gustaf II Adolf suiteand the music for the balletThe mountain king, he strengthened his position as the leading orchestral composer of his time. A dazzling color and an intense expression in a post-romantic spirit distinguish these works.

The activity as a choir director (for, among others, OD and Allmänna Sången in Uppsala), provided inspiration for a long series of choral works, of which the composer himself considered the arrangements of folk songs as one of his most important contributions to the art of music. These have also retained a secure position in the standard repertoire of the Swedish choirs.

His strong position within Swedish musical life also meant that he received many orders for official music; about ten cantatas, the choral songSweden's flagfor Swedish Flag Day etc. Even as the author of memoirs, Alfvén shows a lush and lively art of storytelling.

Stig Jacobsson/Swedish Music

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