Hugo Alfvén


Born: May 1, 1872; Stockholm, Sweden   Died: May 8, 1960; Falun, Sweden  
The Swedish composer Hugo Alfvén holds a position in the history of his country's music somewhat analogous to that of Edvard Grieg in Norway or Jean Sibelius in Finland: Alfvén informed his essentially Romantic style with a regard for the history and folk culture of his homeland. His five symphonies, three Swedish Rhapsodies, and numerous cantatas and patriotic works evoke the land of Sweden and make extensive use of Swedish folk songs and Read more dances; most of them have an explicit extramusical program or theme. In addition to composing music, Alfvén was also a painter.

After studies at the Stockholm Conservatory, Alfvén played violin in the Hovkapellet, the Swedish court orchestra, from 1890 to 1897. His first compositions date from those years. The success of his Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 11 (premiered under Wilhelm Stenhammar's direction in 1899), led to Alfvén's being awarded the Jenny Lind stipend, which allowed him to study in France and Germany for three years. Shortly after his return from that trip, he wrote perhaps his best-known work, the Swedish Rhapsody No. 1 (1903-1904). Subtitled "Midsommarvaka" (Midsummer Vigil), this portrait of a Swedish summer makes use of several Swedish folk songs; it was among the first compositions by a Swedish composer to do so. Two further Swedish Rhapsodies, equally tuneful works, followed in 1907 and 1937.

In 1908, Alfvén was elected to Sweden's Royal Academy of Music. Two years later he became the music director of the Royal University of Uppsala; among his duties there was directing the student choir. Choral conducting was always a large part of Alfvén's life: he was also the conductor of the Siljan Choir, a sort of mega-choir, for over 50 years, and directed the Initiates of Orpheus, a choral group with which Alfvén toured Europe over 20 times during the period 1910-1947. A significant number of Alfvén's 225 compositions are in fact for chorus, many of them designed for amateur groups. The composer himself believed his five symphonies to be among his best works; the fourth includes two textless voice parts. Among his other well-known pieces are the incidental music for Ludwig Nordstrom's play Gustav II Adolf, Op. 121 (1932), the Elegy of which is often used as funeral music; and one of his last works, the 1957 ballet The Prodigal Son, Op. 217. He was also called on frequently to write cantatas and other works for festive and patriotic occasions. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 71 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503227 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Roy Harris,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Jussi Björling,  Frederick Schauwecker,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Serge Koussevitzky,  Bruno Walter,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
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  • 2.
    Decca Sound – Dutoit: The Montreal Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002449102 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 35
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ernest Chausson,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé,  Timothy Hutchins,  Beverly Hoch,  Stanford Olsen  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Chorus
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  • 3.
    Anne Sofie Von Otter - 10 Classic Albums
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002281102 Release Date: 04/07/2015   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  Antonio Bertali,  Giovanni Legrenzi,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Dane Roberts,  Florian Deuter,  Reinhard Goebel,  Anne Sofie von Otter  ... 
    Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel,  Marc Minkowski,  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne,  Les Musiciens du Louvre,  Choeur des Musiciens du Louvre  ... 
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  • 4.
    European Light Music Classics / Corp, New London Orchestra
    Label: Helios   Catalog: 55477 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leon Jessel,  Franz Lehár,  Gabriel Pierné,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Conductor:  Ronald Corp
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New London Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Nordic Sounds 2 / Dijkstra, Swedish Radio Choir
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 32812 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Sandström,  David Wikander,  Traditional,  Jorgen Jersild  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Dijkstra
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Radio Chorus
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  • 6.
    Magical Places - Evocative Symphonic Poems For Piano Duet / Goldstone & Clemmow
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 25104 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Hugo Alfvén,  Jacques Ibert,  Anatole Liadov  ... 
    Performer:  Anthony Goldstone,  Caroline Clemmow
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  • 7.
    Alfven: Symphonies Nos. 1-5; Swedish Rhapsodies / Jarvi,  Royal Stockholm Philharmonic
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 8974 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Hugo Alfvén
    Performer:  Christina Hogman,  Claes H. Ahnsjö
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Finlandia - Sibelius, Grieg, Alfven: Orchestral Works / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 68975 Release Date: 04/05/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Jean Sibelius,  Hugo Alfvén
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Fritz Busch Conducts Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Wagner, Alfven, Schubert
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2366 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Busch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winterthur Symphony Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  Malmö Concerthouse Foundation Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Icon: Nicolai Gedda - Lyric Poet of the Tenor Voice
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 56095 Release Date: 03/23/2010   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Joaquin Turina,  Ottorino Respighi,  Francesco Maria Veracini,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda,  Gerald Moore,  Jan Eyron,  Aldo Ciccolini  ... 
    Conductor:  Lonya Kolbouss,  Robert Stolz,  Willy Mattes,  Willi Boskovsky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Men's Chorus,  Balalaika Orchestra,  Graunke Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 11.
    Aurora - Music Of The Northern Lights / Jarvi, Gothenburg
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471747 Release Date: 12/29/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Edvard Grieg,  Hans Christian Lumbye,  Carl Nielsen  ... 
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Berlitz Passport - The Music Of Scandinavia
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 47281 Release Date: 10/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Alfvén,  Edvard Grieg,  Jean Sibelius,  Carl Nielsen  ... 
    Performer:  Stan Freeman
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis,  Leonard Bernstein,  Eugene Ormandy,  Howard Hanson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 13.
    Resonanser - Swedish Choral Music / Rydinger-Alin, Allmänna Singers
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1714 Release Date: 01/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Adolf Fredrik Lindblad,  Traditional,  Hugo Alfvén,  Herman Palm  ... 
    Performer:  Anders Widmark
    Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger-Alin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Allmänna Singers
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  • 14.
    Schone Nacht - Romantic Partsongs For Male Choir / Camerata Musica Limburg
    Label: Genuin Classics   Catalog: 89138 Release Date: 01/01/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Franz Schubert,  Friedrich Silcher,  Wilhelm Nagel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Musica Limburg
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  • 15.
    Scandinavian Rhapsody - Sibelius, Grieg, Et Al / Segerstam
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 824 Release Date: 12/09/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Nielsen,  Jean Sibelius,  Armas Järnefelt,  Oskar Merikanto  ... 
    Performer:  Veikko Höylä,  Erkki Palola
    Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Teddy Bear At The Concert, Classical Favourites For Children / Segerstam, Helsinki
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 927 Release Date: 12/04/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Maurice Ravel,  Johann Strauss Sr.,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Icon - Jussi Bjorling, The Swedish Caruso
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 17313 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Henry Ernest Geehl,  Carl Sjöberg  ... 
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles,  Jussi Björling,  John Reardon,  Giorgio Tozzi  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Gabriele Santini,  Nils Grevillius,  Renato Cellini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Chorus,  Rome Opera House Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 18.
    Vocal Series - Jussi Björling At Carnegie Hall
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 60520 Release Date: 06/05/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Frederick Schauwecker,  Jussi Björling
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 19.
    Trittico / Rutgers Wind Ensemble
    Label: Mark Masters   Catalog: 7249 Release Date: 12/19/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Roger Nixon,  Herbert Owen Reed,  Zdenek Lukás,  Václav Nelhybel  ... 
    Conductor:  William Berz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rutgers Wind Ensemble
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  • 20.
    Taking Flight - Morricone, Alfvén, Et Al / Frey, Et Al
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1248 Release Date: 10/23/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone,  Hugo Alfvén,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Adam Frey
    Conductor:  Bruce Hangen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Alfvén: Synnöve Of Solbakken (Suite), Etc / Willén, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557828 Release Date: 05/29/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Alfvén
    Conductor:  Niklas Willén
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Alfvén: Symphony No 5, Andante Religioso / Willén, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557612 Release Date: 02/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Alfvén
    Conductor:  Niklas Willén
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Label: Intim Musik   Catalog: 18 Release Date: 10/24/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gösta Nyström,  Wilhelm Peterson-Berger,  Gunnar de Frumerie,  Kurt Atterberg  ... 
    Performer:  Göran Marcusson
    Conductor:  Thord Svedlund
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 24.
    Encores - Alfvén, Etc / Kroumata Percussion Ensemble
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1452 Release Date: 11/29/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Eriksson,  Charles Leslie Johnson,  George Hamilton Green,  Anders Holdar  ... 
    Performer:  Hĺkan Hagegĺrd
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kroumata Percussion Ensemble
    On sale! $21.99
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  • 25.
    Favourite Rhapsodies / Dutoit, Monteal Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4767104 Release Date: 06/13/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Antonín Dvorák,  Hugo Alfvén,  George Enescu  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
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