Adolf Wiklund

As a composer Adolf Wiklund had a relatively small, but well-crafted output. His temperamental orchestration and the craftsmanship of his writing fully deserve respect.

Search for works in catalogue »

Born on 5th June 1879 in Långserud, County of Värmland, died 3rd April 1950. His father was an organist. He began studying at the Stockholm Conservatory in 1896, and between 1899 and 1901 he graduated as organist and music teacher. He then continued his piano studies with Richard Andersson and his composition and counterpoint studies with Johan Lindegren. He received a State Composer’s Fellowship between 1902 and 1904, and in 1905-1906 the Jenny Lind Fellowship made it possible for him to study in Paris where he was organist of the Swedish Church 1903-1904, and in Berlin where he studied the piano with James Kwast. His début as piano soloist came with a performance of his own Konsertstycke för piano och orkester Op. 1 (Concert Piece for Piano and Orchestra) in 1902, but after 1906 he worked mainly as a conductor. He began as a coach at the Karlsruhe Court Theatre, moving in 1908 to the Imperial Opera in Berlin as coach and director of music, before being summoned in 1911 to the Stockholm Opera, where he remained until 1924 (from 1923 as Director of Music). He then served as second principal conductor with the Stockholm Concert Society until 1938. He conducted numerous performances in other countries. He became a Member of the Royal Academy of Music in 1915. 

Conducting gave him little time to spare for creative writing. He began composing in the spirit of Brahms and Stenhammar and soon gained a reputation for his lyrical songs, e.g. Silkessko over Gylden Laest, and piano works as. Tre stycken Op.3, which not infrequently have an element of folk music about them. One of his first masterpieces again tinged with folk music – is the grandly conceived, rhythmically impetuous Violin Sonata in A minor Op.5 (1906). Most of his large and important orchestral works in evocative Nordic impressionist style were written during his years with the Stockholm Opera. In Sommarnatt och soluppgång Op.19 (1918), listeners have been charmed by the delicate chiaroscuro and wealth of nuance, and his Three Pieces for Strings (1924) are favourites with audiences and frequently performed. Both his piano concertos (Op. 10 1906, Op. 17 1916) are among the best of their kind ever written in Sweden. His one and only symphony (Op.20 1922) perhaps came a little too close to Sibelius. His orchestral poems Sång till våren and Symfonisk prolog (both 1934) also present an extrovert Scandinavian romanticism which, in its own time, was already considered out of date.

Stig Jacobsson
Source: STIM / Swedish Music Information Centre

Selected works:

  • 4 Lyrische Stücke Op. 14 for piano
  • Concerto for Piano No. 1 in e minor Op. 10
  • Concerto for Piano No. 2 in Bb major Op. 17
  • Vier Lieder Op. 9