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Born: 1871, Stockholm
Died: 1927, Stockholm
“We are departing bourgeois Romanticism and moving towards the idea of music as an expression of life itself, for its pulse and its trembling in happiness and sorrow.”
Stenhammar grew up in a musical and artistic family and began composing and playing piano at an early age. He never did have comprehensive formal training, although he did spend a year finishing his piano studies in Berlin, capped by playing the premiere of his own Piano Concerto No. 1 under Richard Strauss. He became a noted pianist and a conductor, and was quite influential in Swedish musical life in the early 20th century. As a composer he was much influenced at first by German Romanticism and later by extended study of counterpoint and Renaissance polyphony. An abiding affection for Swedish folk music colors much of Stenhammar’s music. Highly self-critical, he wrote vocal music most prolifically, including a large number of solo songs.
Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 23 (1904-07)
Solyom, Munich Philharmonic, Westerberg (EMI Classics)
Bonney, Pappano (Decca)