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150 years of Stenhammar – Piano and orchestra

Experience Wilhelm Stenhammar’s second piano concerto and first symphony together with two of Sweden’s foremost connoisseurs of the composer’s music: pianist Martin Sturfält and conductor Patrik Ringborg, leading the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.

Wilhelm Stenhammar is without hesitation one of Sweden’s most significant composers and was one of the foremost Swedish pianists of his time. We are celebrating the 150-year anniversary of Stenhammar’s birth with a large festival. Stenhammar was born in 1871 in Stockholm. His family lived on Kammakargatan, just a few hundred metres from the location at which Konserthuset Stockholm would later be built.

Pianist Martin Sturfält is one of Sweden’s leading experts in Stenhammar’s music. His recordings of both piano concertos have received widespread international acclaim. At this concert, we hear him with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in Stenhammar’s original Piano Concerto No. 2, in which soloist and orchestra face off in emotionally charged battles, both with and against one another.

Sometimes composers themselves feel their music does not measure up and one well-known example is Stenhammar’s first symphony. Audiences and critics alike had a positive reaction to its 1903 world premiere. But Stenhammar felt it was impersonal and pompous, and he withdrew it. This decision was connected to Stenhammar’s overwhelming experience of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 just a month before the world premiere of his own symphony in Stockholm. Stenhammar wrote to Sibelius: “I have also written a symphony now. At least, it is called a symphony. And according to an agreement, which you have perhaps forgotten, it should be dedicated to you. But this will not come to pass. It is fairly good, but it is superficial. If only I could have accessed something deeper inside.”

Here, we have a chance to form our own perceptions of Stenhammar’s symphony. The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra is led by Patrik Ringborg, an internationally active Swedish conductor who has worked a great deal in Germany. 

  • The music

  • Wilhelm Stenhammar Piano Concerto No. 2
  • Wilhelm Stenhammar From Three Little Piano Pieces (encore)
  • Interview with Martin Sturfält
  • Wilhelm Stenhammar Symphony No. 1
  • Participants

  • Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Patrik Ringborg conductor
  • Martin Sturfält piano
  • From a livestream 23 September 2021.
  • The video is approximately one hour and 55 minutes.


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