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Gunnar de Frumerie

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Gunnar de Frumerie, 1908 - 1987:

Born in Nacka on 20th July 1908, died in Mörby on the 9th September 1987. He received his first music instruction (on the piano) from his mother at home and then studied at the Stockholm Conservatory 1923-1929 under Lennart Lundberg (piano) and Ernst Ellberg (composition). Shortly afterwards he began studying abroad, first of all in Vienna, where Emil von Sauer was his piano teacher. Erwin Stein gave him lessons in composition. This was followed by a period in Paris with Alfred Cortot (piano) and Leonid Sabaneev (composition). In Sweden he performed as a solo pianist while making a name for himself as a composer. He became a piano teacher at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm in 1945 and Professor 1962.
de Frumerie has attained a powerful position in Swedish music by virtue of an exuberant fantasy which derives its inspiration from several different sources. They include various idioms of folk music and numerous elements of traditional art music, e.g. the dance suites of the Baroque, variation forms and the refreshingly elegant musicality of the classical period. The piano plays a prominent part in his creativity, and his output includes a long succession of works such as sonatas, suites and works for piano and orchestra.
de Frumerie has endowed Swedish vocal music with two major choral compositions with orchestra accompaniment: The Lord’s Prayer and Eight Psalms of David, as well as numerous songs. To the poetical texts which he has frequently selected from the finest of Swedish poetry he brings an unmistakable empathy and a proficient, intuitive technique. He shows melodic ingenuity in conveying language, the intensity of dreams, and a sensitivity which is at once fresh and introspective; his settings of poems by Pär Lagerkvist (Hjärtats sånger, several cycles from Aftonland) deserve special mention. There is also a literary background to one of his most extensive works, the opera Singoalla, based on the novel by Viktor Rydberg. A romanticised spirit, evocative nature lyricism and impassioned drama combine to make this opera a bold, enduring artistic tour de-force. Other works well worth mentioning include the full-length ballet Johannesnatten, two sets of variations and a symphonic suite for orchestra, concertos for various solo instruments and orchestra, and chamber compositions such as Musica per nove.

Hans-Gunnar Peterson
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Our Publications by Gunnar de Frumerie;
Download an excerpt as PDF
Vita Nuova
Download an excerpt as PDF
Sonate för violin och piano
Sonate nr 2 för violin och piano
Fyra kinesiska sånger, Op. 66.
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