Musikfynd i P.B:s lönnlåda

Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

When Wilhelm Peterson-Berger‘s secret box was opened in connection with his 150th birthday in 2017, both unknown and completely forgotten recordings were found. These included himself as narrator, pianist and conductor, together with two complete acts of Arnljot in contemporary recordings from the Royal Opera, as well as old shellac records with his favourite singer.

The idea of a broader historical documentation of Wilhelm Peterson-Berger – both of himself as a professional musician, as well as of his time – was born when the Royal Opera celebrated the centenary of his birth in February 1967. Since then, forgotten or previously unknown recordings have been saved and archived, such as nine phonograph cylinders from 1913 with his piano improvisations, and a cracked lacquer disc which in the 1960s was found at Sommarhagen, which, due to its rough condition, was unplayable until recently, when the sound could be cleaned up digitally.

The biggest finding, however, is the newly discovered three privately recorded gelatin discs from 1936, on which one can hear the almost 70-year-old composer together with the Music Conservatory’s choir and orchestra rehearsing and directing sections from his opera cantata, in such a competent manner that future listeners must ask themselves if his contemporary colleagues’ criticism of his conducting was at all fair. The sound quality is far better than what the contemporary Radiotjänst (Swedish Radio) could achieve. It is hard to believe that homemade microphones can produce such a clear sound – especially when you learn that they are made up of hollowed out sandstone blocks, which are filled with coal grains and covered with chocolate carton cellophane wraps!


One of the three CDs in the 14th volume of the Collector’s Classics series includes everything that has been preserved of Peterson-Berger’s voice, piano playing and conducting, along with recordings of his songs with two of his favorite singers, such as Mathilda Jungstedt, on unique test records played back from the EMI central archive in Hayes at the time it was still available.

On the other two CD’s of this volume, the original version of the 1st and 2nd acts of the opera Arnljot is represented in live recordings from 1942. That is, while the composer was still alive, and no one thought of clearing away all of the personal touches of memories of nature in the score in order to make it more practical to perform. This is something the conductor Stig Rybrant did on the P.-B. Foundation’s mandate a few years later, and whose “scorched earth” (Carl-Gunnar Åhlén’s name for the result) so far has been the only version that has been available.

After just over thirty years, all five of the archived steel tape reels with the live recordings were found, and the 2nd act was broadcast on radio on December 9, 1974. Prior to the radio broadcast, actress Maria Schildknecht was asked to tell the listeners her memories of the composer and to read sections from Arnljot, which entire text she had performed publicly in 1907 together with the composer at the piano in Stockholm, Östersund and Sundsvall. Here, these texts begin each act. Her reading tour turned out to be of great importance, both for her in her career, but also for Arnljot‘s transformation from a dramatic text to a full-scale opera.

In his presentation of Arnljot in the booklet, Åhlén tells the story of how the idea of Jämtland as an independent kingdom was added during Peterson-Berger’s month-long hiking in the summer of 1905. At that time, it was an area that was characterised by the Norwegian and Swedish mobilisation during the union crisis, a conflict that hit him close so close to home that he had to react. He did this by placing his story in the Viking Age, and as the main character in the drama that took shape during the autumn, he chose a historical figure: Arnljot from Gelline.

It was this little script that ended up in the hands of Schildknecht, who, through her readings, gave rise to the idea of an opera. But the Peterson-Berger would only find the time to actually compose it after he left on leave from his position as music critic in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper. The fate of the opera during the following century at the Royal Stockholm Opera is discussed in the booklet, together with essays about Peterson-Berger as both pianist and conductor.

© Carl-Gunnar Åhlén 2019

Selection, audio transfer & processing, and texts: Carl-Gunnar Åhlén
Mastering: John Hyttnäs
Graphic design: Eva Åhlén och Carl-Gunnar Åhlén
Translation to English: Erik Hamrefors

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Show playlist

    • 1.
      Alltjämt de mäktiga fjäll sig välva (deklamation) Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 2.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Förspel till akt 1 Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 3.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Unn: ”Kommen, kvinnor!” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 4.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Unn: ”Huld och hövisk hälsning…” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 5.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Unn: ”Hån, nidord ännu…” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 6.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Sigurd: ”Gunstigt möte, fränka!” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 7.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Bård i Bräcka: ”God dag, svensk” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 8.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Gunhild: ”Vet du fader, att…” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 9.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Gunhild: ”Nej, ingen är konungalik…” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 10.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Arnljot: ”Alltjämt de mäktiga fjäll sig välva..” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 11.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Unn: ”Arnljot, min son, sök att …” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 12.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Gudfast: ”God dag, svärfader!” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 13.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Tingsmarsch Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 14.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Östmund: ”Blot är hållet med bön till de höge,..” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 15.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Unn: ”Arnljot, säg – är det – sant?” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 16.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Arnljot: ”Allt i samma stund” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 17.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Unn: ”Arnljot? Är hon - död?” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 18.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Torar: ”Där är han ännu.” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 19.
      Alltjämt de mäktiga fjäll sig välva (förkortad) Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 20.
      Arnljot, Akt 1: Alltjämt de mäktiga fjäll sig välva Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 21.
      Vems röst hör jag ropa över fjällen (deklamation) Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 22.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Förspel till akt 2 Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 23.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Vaino: ”Vems röst hör jag ropa över fjällen” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 24.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Ubma: ”Vaino!” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 25.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Vaino: ”Här måste det vara” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 26.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Arnljot: ”Gilleslystna gäster, ser jag” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 26.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Vaino: ”Äro de borta?” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 27.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Göka-Tore: ”Vill du strid, främling, så stöt till!” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 28.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Vaino: ”O vore var maska, jag knyter…” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 29.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Gunhild: ”Har du en dryck källfriskt vatten?” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 30.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Gunhild: ”Bor du – här?” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 31.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Arnljot: ”Allt bittrare nederlag unnar mig ödet,.. Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 32.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Moderato con moto Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 33.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Drömsyn Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 34.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Ubma: ”Säg! Var gömmas din faders skatter?” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 35.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Arnljot: ”Jag var i drömmarnas land” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 36.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Arnljot: ”Gå till ditt folk!” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 37.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Agitato doloroso Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 38.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Ubma: ”Du listiga hynda,..” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 39.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Arnljot: ”Hans hemliga konst räcker..” Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 40.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Vems röst hör jag ropa över fjällen Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 41.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: O vore var maska, jag knyter Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 42.
      Arnljot, Akt 2: Vems röst hör jag ropa över fjällen Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 43.
      Tre fragment för orkester ur Arnljots andra akt: I. Scen 9, takt 193-228 & 244 Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 44.
      Tre fragment för orkester ur Arnljots andra akt: II. Scen 10, takt 1-7, 26-33 och 43-57 Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 45.
      Tre fragment för orkester ur Arnljots andra akt: III. Scen 18, takt 74-88 och 98-103 Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 46.
      Alltjämt de mäktiga fjäll sig välva (deklamation) Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 47.
      Radiointervju 30 december 1941: Mitt första möte med musiken Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 48.
      Radiointervju 28 september 1940: Om operan Domedagsprofeterna Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 49.
      Radiointervju 9 april 1933: Om Wagneroperan Parsifal Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 50.
      Improvisationer hos Tirén i Bergviks järnvägsstation: Tre improvisationer den 22 mars 1913 Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 51.
      Improvisationer hos Tirén i Bergviks järnvägsstation: Improvisation den 28 mars 1913 Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 52.
      Improvisationer hos Tirén i Bergviks järnvägsstation: Tre improvisationer den 11 maj 1913 Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 53.
      Improvisationer hos Tirén i Bergviks järnvägsstation: Improvisation den 23 augusti 1913 Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 54.
      Improvisationer hos Tirén i Bergviks järnvägsstation: Improvisation 1913, datum okänt Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 55.
      Sex låtar för klaver: III. Väst i fjällom Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 56.
      Sex låtar för klaver: V. Chorus mysticus Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 57.
      Aftonstämning - Humlor Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 58.
      Fragment ur Frösöblomster II: Sommarsång - Hälsning Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 59.
      Kantat vid Kungliga Teaterns 150-årsjubileum 1922: I. Vårbrytning för blandad kör, takt 30-41 Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 60.
      Kantat vid Kungliga Teaterns 150-årsjubileum 1922: II. Vårbrytning för blandad kör, takt 60-81 Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 61.
      Kantat vid Kungliga Teaterns 150-årsjubileum 1922: III. Ballad för solister, takt 89-130 - IV. Bacchoståget för blandad kör, takt 1-52 Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 62.
      Kantat vid Kungliga Teaterns 150-årsjubileum 1922: V. Gudamötet för baryton och tenor, takt 59-80 och 88-132 Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 63.
      Kantat vid Kungliga Teaterns 150-årsjubileum 1922: V. Gudamötet för baryton och tenor, takt 170-230 Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 64.
      Arnljot, Akt 3: Ung och båld den bruna havsörn breder Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 65.
      Ran, Akt 2: Ballad Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 66.
      En kärlekssaga, Op. 14: III. Ibland myrten och jasminer (tagning 1) Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 67.
      En kärlekssaga, Op. 14: III. Ibland myrten och jasminer (tagning 2) Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 68.
      Svensk lyrik, serie 2, häfte 1:5: Intet är som väntans tider (tagning 1) Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 69.
      Svensk lyrik, serie 2, häfte 1:5: Intet är som väntans tider (tagning 2) Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 70.
      Tre sånger, Op. 10: Jungfrun under lind Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

    • 71.
      Tre sånger, Op. 3: Irmelin Rose Music: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

  • Total playtime

CD/Digital // CAP 21910 // classical //