Franz Berwald, in full Franz Adolf
Berwald (born July 23, 1796, Stockholm, Swed.—died April 3, 1868,
Stockholm), the most important Swedish composer of the 19th century.
Born into a renowned family of
musicians, Berwald studied violin with his father and composition
with J.B.E. Du Puy. After playing in the Swedish court orchestra and
touring as a violinist for about 15 years, he lived in Berlin
(1829–41) and Vienna (1842). He then returned to Sweden, and from
1846 to 1849 he was in Paris and Vienna, where he attempted to make
a name for himself as a composer. He was unable to earn a living in
music, however, and from 1850 to 1858 he managed a glassworks in
Ångermanland. After scoring a certain success with his opera
Estrella de Soria (first performed 1862), he became professor of
composition at the Swedish Royal Academy of Music in 1867.
Berwald is considered the founder
of musical Romanticism in Sweden and was the first important Swedish
symphonist. His music, somewhat influenced by Louis Spohr and Carl
Maria von Weber, is highly original in its formal construction and
use of harmonic resources. His works include five cantatas; concerti
for violin (1821), bassoon (1827), and piano (transcribed by Gustaf
Heintze, 1908); and four symphonies composed in the 1840s, of which
the third, Sinfonie singulaire (1845), is particularly esteemed.
Franz Berwald was born in
Stockholm, the son of a German violinist in the royal orchestra.
He was largely self-taught, although he did study music with his
father and composition with J.13.E. De Puy. He joined the
orchestra as a violinist at the age of 16 and, apart from one
brief period, remained there until 1 828. when he composed a
Grand septet for clarinet, bassoon, horn, and string quartet.
However, the lack of enthusiasm
in his home country for his highly original style provoked
Berwald to leave Sweden to try and make a career abroad.
Following a tour of Norway he spent time studying in Berlin, and
then lived for a period in Vienna, where his opera Estrella di
Soria was performed.
He married in Vienna m 1841,
and his works were staged to increasingly supportive audiences.
In 1842 he wrote a symphony, La serieuse — the only one of his
symphonies that he saw performed in his lifetime. On his return
to Sweden in that year, however, his reception was cool, and the
Royal Opera's production of his operetta Modchaudlerskau in 1845
was a failure. Nonetheless Berwald persevered and produced three
more symphonies, including La capricicuse and La singtilii're.
The latter in particular, which has only three movements instead
of the usual tour, reveals his skill as an orchcstrator, and is
perhaps his finest work.
Berwald spent a further three
years travelling in Europe, where he met with varying degrees of
success. In Paris neither the Conservatoire nor the
Opcra-Comique showed interest, but in Vienna he did see a
performance of his opera Ein Landliches Vcrlobinigsfest in
Schwedcti (A Swedish Country Betrothal). Back in Sweden,
however, he was disappointed in his efforts to become musical
director at Uppsala University, and was also denied the position
of court conductor.
Forced by his lack of musical
success into a series of jobs to earn his living, Berwald was
manager of a Swedish glass factory in Angermanland from 1849 to
1859. Despite the demands made on his time by work, he continued
to teach and compose, his output including piano trios, piano
quartets, and symphonic poems. In the early 1860s he published
some of his chamber works to encouraging reviews, and the
Stockholm Royal Opera eventually performed Estrella di Soria in
He completed one last opera in
1864, Drottningen av Golconda (The Queen of Golconda), and was
finally accepted as a Fellow of the Swedish Academy, rising to
the post of professor of composition in 1867. This was the
pinnacle of his career - but his success was shortlived. Within
only a year of his appointment Berwald died of pneumonia.
Franz Adolf Berwald
Franz Berwald - Symphony No.1 in G-minor "Sinfonie sérieuse" (1842)
Symphony No.1 in G-minor "Sinfonie sérieuse" (1842)
Mov.I: Allegro con energia 00:00
Mov.II: Adagio maestoso 11:25
Mov.III: Stretto 18:07
Mov.IV: Finale: Adagio - Allegro molto 23:21
Orchestra: Helsingborgs Symfoniorkester
Conductor: Okko Kamu
Franz Berwald - Symphony No.2 in D-major "Sinfonie capricieuse"
Symphony No.2 in D-major "Sinfonie capricieuse" (1842)
Copenhagen String Quartet, Danish
Chamber music ensemble, created 1957 by musicians from the Royal
Chapel: the initiator Asger Lund Christiansen on cello, Givskov as
primaria (first violinist), Mogens Lüdolphpå 2. violin (later Mogens
Durholm) and Mogens Bruun on viola.The Quartet was for years one of
the leading Danish chamber ensembles, and has had a significant
foreign tour activity. On Repertory was music by, among other
things. Niels w. Gade and Vagn Holmboe, whose quartets, in many
cases, was written for the ensemble. The Quartet ended in 1994.
Franz Berwald - Erinnerung an
die norwegischen Alpen - Symphonic poem
Erinnerung an die norwegischen
Alpen - Symphonic poem
Gävle Symphony Orchestra
Franz Berwald - Konzertstück
for bassoon and orchestra
Konzertstück for bassoon and
Gävle Symphony Orchestra
Franz Berwald - Sonata in
D-minor for cello and piano (1858)
Sonata in D-minor for cello
and piano (1858)
Piano: Mats Lidström
Cello: Bengt Forsberg
Franz Berwald - Piano Trio
No.2 F minor
Franz Berwald - Estrella de
Soria - Ouverture
Estrella de Soria, opera in
three acts, first performance 9 April 1862, Royal opera,
Libretto: Otto Prechtler,
swedish text, Ernst Wallmark