Price: $1500.00


Autographed, original 8.5” x 12” (mount) Anton Blomberg of Stockholm presentation photograph on the photographers mount c. 1901.  The youthful photograph features a 3 bar, two hand musical quotation of his “Sorg, Air Melancolique för Clavier”, Op. 14.  Blomberg was the royal warrant photographer to the Swedish Royal family.

Alfvén (1872-1960) is best remembered for his lively romantic Swedish Rhapsody #1, “Midsommervarka” which has always been a pops favorite.  His music which is entirely approachable and lyrical, along the lines of Brahms, Grieg, Sibelius and a but of Richard Strauss, he is the best known of the late Romantic Swedish composers. 

The composer began his musical studies as a pianist in 1883, switching to violin at the insistence of family friend Louis Müller a violinist with the Royal Court Orchestra who took up his training.  He then auditioned with the Stockholm Conservatory where he studied from 1887-1891.  His professors were the violinist Lars Zetterquist a pupil of Hubert Léonard, and composers Johan Lindberg and Aron Bergeson and privately with Johan Lindeberg. He wrote his first two pieces in 1888, both for violin.  He made his public debut as a violinist in 1889.  Between 1892 and 1896 he composes and gives numerous concerts including an important solo concert in 1893 at the Swedish Academy of Arts and Sciences.  

César Thomson in Brussels from 1896-1899.  His first symphony was given at the Royal Opera in Stockholm in 1897.  The same year hn won the Jenny Lind Scholarship from the Swedish government which allowed him to further his studies in Europe with violinist César Thomson in Brussels from 1897-1899 and with conductor Hermann Kutzschbach in Dresden.  Whilst abroad in 1898 he writes his second symphony which is performed for the first time at the Royal Opera in Stockholm in 1899.  He began taking on pupils in 1900 and in 1903 was appointed Professor at the Royal Conservatory in Stockholm.  Where he stayed for a year and did not take another academic post until 1910 when he was appointed Music Director of the University of Uppsala, the most prestigious University in Sweden.  He remained in that position until 1939.  Alfvén was one of those few lucky composers who did not have to spend his entire life in academics.  He was well known for conducting choruses, though his principal income was from his works.  The composer was the great symphonist in Sweden during the first half of the 20th Century.  He wrote five symphonies, three Swedish Rhapsodies of which the first “Midsommervarka” is the most renowned.  His ballet Berkajungen is rightfully renowned, as well as his plentitude of overtures and film music.  He also wrote for soloists, chorus and orchestra, chamber music, piano works, violin works and lieder.

As a conductor he toured Europe regularly and was also a Festival conductor, in Dortmund in 1912, Stuttgart in 1913, Gothenburg in 1915 and Copenhagen during the 1918 and 1919 Festivals.  He was made a member of he Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm in 1908.

The composer was also a well known artist and his paintings, both watercolor and oil make the action rounds.  He studied with Otto Hesselborn and Oscar Törna, giving it up as a profession to pursue music.  That said he returned to painting in the 1920’s and then in the 1950’s.  He had a big gallery show in Upsalla in the 1930’s.  Several of his works are on display at the National Museum of Art in Stockholm and the Alfvén Museum.  His works also occasionally sold internationally at auction.

Based on other photographs of Alfvén this photograph appears to be from 1901, contemporary to the musical quotation.

A particularly scarce autographed early image of the composer, especially with a musical quotation.

A small repaired tear to the mount middle board on the right, else fine.

Text Box: Composer autographs

Phone: 212-860-5541  *  Fax: 917-677-8247