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Stenhammar Symphony No. 1

Wilhelm Stenhammar’s Symphony No. 1 is magnificent and beautiful. But Stenhammar still was not satisfied. Before conductor Andrew Manze strikes up the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, he provides a background.

Sometimes composers themselves feel their music does not measure up. A famous example is Wilhelm Stenhammar. In the early twentieth century, he wrote Symphony No. 1 in F Major, which we hear in a new, source-critical and revised rendition here – a project under the auspices of Swedish Musical Heritage.

At its 16 December 1903 premiere performance, the symphony had a positive reception by the audience and critics. Stenhammar himself, however, felt it was impersonal and pompous, and he withdrew it. This decision is connected to Stenhammar’s overwhelming encounter with Sibelius’ Second Symphony just one month before the premiere performance 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, composed in 1903. 

  • The music

  • Wilhelm Stenhammar Symphony No. 1
  • Participants

  • Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Andrew Manze conductor
  • Filmed in March 2014.
  • The video is approximately 62 minutes.
  • The video starts with an English introduction by the conductor. 
  • Subtitles in English or Swedish is activated by using the CC control in the video player.


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