Scandinavian Symphonies

A Discography Of CDs And LPs
Prepared by Michael Herman
Maintained by Stephen Ellis

National Discographies Home Page

Last Updated: May 2023

Composers A-KComposers L-ZCarl Nielsen


Before even discussing the musical contents and structure of this work, it is necessary to define its geographical limits. The term “Scandinavian” herein refers to the peoples and cultures of three Northern European nations and an island nation and a small chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, namely Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, that speak related North Germanic or Nordic languages and share a common historical background. A broader definition, not used here, would include Finland, a nation with strong cultural ties to Scandinavia but linguistically distinct from it. Finnish composers are covered along with their colleagues from the three Baltic nations (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) in a seperate discography now in perparation.

The composers included in this discography are those born in or who came to live in these countries and wrote symphonies from the beginning of the 19th century to the present that have been recorded. It will be noticed that many composers have more than one country listed in the heading for his or her entry. This reflects the fluidity often seen in the music world where some leave a smaller place in order to create in a larger artistic milieu while others go in the opposite direction often to seek refuge in a less turbulent environment. Unlike the previous discographies in this series, an alphabetical arrangement is utilized here because we are dealing with composers of different nationalities and the idea of educational continuity is less meaningful. A single alphabet is used for the all the composers from the various nations and a composer index is placed first so the reader can immediately go via links to any particular composer.

As in the previous discographies in this series, no attempt has been made to list every release of every recording of each work. There have just been too many reissues, especially from the major labels, to make this feasible for many recordings. Instead, what are listed are the most current issue the author has located and the earliest release (if any on LP or CD) of that particular recording. In general, multi-disc compendium releases are omitted unless they contain a unique recording or the sole modern reissue of a previously released performance.

The entry for each composer consists of two sections. First there is a compact biographical paragraph that notes some essential information such as place of birth, higher musical education (including schools and prominent teachers), subsequent musical careers in addition to composing, details of other symphonies that have not been recorded and selective lists of other works for orchestra. Compositional styles are not discussed in these paragraphs and readers are referred to the bibliography where various reference books that cover this subject are listed. The second part of each composer entry consists of lists of his or her symphonies that have been recorded and the various recordings of each work. Symphony is defined here as any work the composer has designated as such in its title including works called “sinfonia” or “sinfonietta.” The works can be for full orchestra, chamber orchestra, strings, winds, brass or chorus and orchestra. For every symphony that has them, the opus number, key signature and title are noted and the year of composition is stated for all. The entries of the symphonies that have had multiple recordings are listed alphabetically by the conductor’s name. Each listing of a recording consists of the following components (if known): (1) Performers (in this order if all are involved – conductor, soloists, choral group, orchestra), (2) Other works on the recording. (3) Label and catalogue number and year of issue and (4) If the recording is a reissue, the original LP or CD release and its year of issue. Please note that the performers listed are for the entry work and not necessarily for the works that it is coupled with. Also, in most instances when an entry work is included in a large collection (especially if most of the other works are not related to the discography’s subject) the list of couplings is not given but replaced by the title of the collection.

The symphony arrived in Scandinavia during the eighteenth century. The form moved North from Germany and the earliest examples were written by composers such as Johan Helmich Roman (1694-1758), known as the “Father of Swedish music,” Johan Agrell (1701-65) and Johan Daniel Berlin (1714-87), a German immigrant who settled in Norway. Their “sinfonias” were basically a shorter type of work derived from the Italian opera overture. A more substantial type of symphony, similar to what was then being written in Germany, came from Sweden’s Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92), considered Scandinavia’s first important symphonist and the Dane Christoph Weyse (1774-1842) who was a contemporary of Beethoven. The nineteenth century witnessed the gradual arrival of the Romantic symphony in the 1830’s through the 1840’s with works by Adolf Lindblad and Franz Berwald in Sweden and Niels W. Gade in Denmark. Norway would have to wait another two decades for the symphonies of Otto Winter-Hjelm, Edvard Grieg and Johan Svendsen and Iceland would have to wait until the 20th century before their composers would compose works in that form. Despite this late start, the symphony blossomed in Scandinavia and, as the pages that follow will attest, numerous composers would produce symphonies, some in substantial numbers and, unlike most other European areas, this tradition still thrives today. One must concede, however, that with few exceptions (basically Nielsen, and Sibelius in neighboring Finland), the Northern symphonies are as good as unknown in concert halls around the world. Obviously, many of the works listed below cannot compete in quality and memorability with their famous counterparts in the so-called “basic repertoire.” However, there are also many wonderful works that ought to be heard by a more general public who would immediately recognize what treasures they have been missing. Romantics such as Svendsen, Halvorsen, Stenhammar, Atterberg and Glass and modernists such as Rosenberg, Saeverud, Holmboe and Nørgård come immediately to mind as composers to start one’s “symphonic explorations” with.

Please note that all recordings listed are CDs unless specifically designated as LPs.

A wish list
The composer paragraphs below include lists of unrecorded symphonies by those already represented but what follows is a brief “wish to hear” list of such works by composers thus far totally unrecorded:

Erik Åkerberg (1868-1938) Sweden: Symphony in E minor
Alfred Nikolai Andersen-Wingar (1869-1952) Norway. 4 Symphonies
Bror Beckman (1866-1929): Sweden: Symphony in F
Jørgen Bentzon (1897-1951) Denmark: 2 Symphonies
Erling Brene (1896-1980): Denmark: 3 Symphonies
Hjalmar Borgström (1864-1925) Norway: 2 Symphonies
Arne Eggen (1881-1955) Norway: Symphony in G minor..(1920)
Gunnar Ek (1900-1982) Sweden: 3 Symphonies
Catherinus Elling (1858-1942) Norway: 2 Symphonies
Johannes Haarklou (1847-1925) Norway: 4 Symphonies
Emil Hartmann (1836-1898) Denmark: 7 Symphonies
Harald Heide (1876-1956) Norway: Symphonie Romantique
Gustaf Helsted (1857-1924) Denmark: 2 Symphonies
Albert Henneberg (1901-1991) Sweden: 6 Symphonies
Fini Henriques (1867-1949) Denmark: Symphony in C
Ole Hjellemo (1873-1838) Norway:: 5 Symphonies
Finn Hoffding (1899-1997) 4 Symphonies
Sigurd Islandmoen (1881-1964) Norway: 2 Symphonies
Ingemar Liljefors (1906-1981) Sweden: Symphony, Op. 15
Johan Backer Lunde (1874-1958) Norway: Symphony in D minor
Otto Malling (1848-1915) Denmark: Symphony in D minor
Einar Oulie (1890-1957) Norway: 2 Symphonies
Gustaf Paulson (1913-1966) Sweden: 13 Symphonies
Stig Rybrant (1916-1985): Sweden: 2 Symphonies
Svend S. Schultz (1913-1998): Denmark: 7 Symphonies
Eirík Árna Sigtryggsson (b. 1943) Iceland: 5 Symphonies
Marius Ulfrstad (1890-1968) Norway: 5 Symphonies
Adolf Wiklund (1879-1950) Sweden: Symphony, Op. 20

I have received a lot of help in preparing this work. For this particular Discography, I am especially indebted to my Swedish friend Stig Jacobsson who looked over all the CD and LP listings and let me know about a substantial number of recordings that I had missed. If that name looks familiar you will have recognized it from the brilliant notes he has written over the years for hundreds of Scandinavian LPs and CDs as well as books and articles about Scandinavian composers. Special thanks also to G.P. Gennaro for his specialized knowledge of the recordings of Carl Nielsen’s Symphonies. As in my previous Discographies, Rob Barnett of MusicWeb helped eliminate a lot of errors by proofreading the entire work. I am very grateful to him as well as to MusicWeb’s webmaster Len Mullenger who has kindly hosted and helped me prepare my Discographies for the website and has patiently instructed me on the use of a software program that has made it easier for me get my work ready for the internet.

Composer Listing

AAGUIST (JOHANSEN), SVEND (b. 1948), Denmark
ABRAHAMSEN, HANS (b. 1952), Denmark
ALEXANDERSSON, HELMER (1886-1927), Sweden
ALFVÉN, HUGO (1872-1960), Sweden
ALNÆS, EYVIND (1872-1932), Norway
ANDRÉE, ELFRIDA (1841-1929), Sweden
ATTERBERG, KURT (1887-1974), Sweden
BÄCK, SVEN-ERIK (1919-1994), Sweden
BADEN, CONRAD (1908-1989), Norway
BENDIX, VICTOR (1851-1926), Denmark
BENGTSSON, GUSTAF (1886-1965), Sweden
BENTZON, NIELS VIGGO (1919-2000), Denmark
BERG, NATHANAEL (1879-1957), Sweden
BERWALD, FRANZ (1796-1868), Sweden
BIBALO, ANTONIO (1922-2008), (Italy)/Norway
BLOMDAHL, KARL-BIRGER (1916-1968), Sweden
BOLDEMANN, LACI (1921-1969), (Finland)/Sweden
BORISOVA-OLLAS, VICTORIA (b. 1969), (Russia)/Sweden
BØRRESEN, HAKON (1876-1954), Denmark
BÖRTZ, DANIEL (b. 1943), Sweden
BRÆIN, EDVARD FLIFLET (1924-1976), Norway
BROMAN, STEN (1902-1983), Sweden
BRUSTAD, BJARNE (1895-1978), Norway
BUCHT, GUNNAR (b. 1927), Sweden
BYSTRÖM, OSCAR (1821-1909), Sweden
CARLSTEDT, JAN (1926-2004), Sweden
CRUSELL, BERNHARD (1775-1838), (Finland)/Sweden
DEÁK, CSABA (b. 1932), (Hungary)/Sweden
DENTE , JOSEPH (1838-1905, Sweden)
EGGE, KLAUS (1906-1979), Norway
EGGERT, JOACHIM NICOLAS (1779-1813), Sweden
EICHBERG, SØREN NILS (b. 1973, Denmark)
EKLUND, HANS (1927-1999), Sweden
ELIASSON, ANDERS (1947-2013), Sweden
ENNA, AUGUST (1860-1939), Denmark
FERNSTRÖM, JOHN (1897-1961), Sweden
FRANDSEN, JOHN (b. 1956), Denmark
FRANKE-BLOM, LARS-ÅKE (b. 1941), Sweden
GADE, NIELS WILHELM (1817-1890), Denmark
GERSON, GEORGE (1790-1825), Denmark
GLASS, LOUIS (1864-1936), Denmark
GRAM, PEDER (1881-1956), Denmark
GRANDERT, JOHNNY (b. 1939), Sweden
GRIEG, EDVARD (1843-1907), Norway
GRØNDAHL, TERJE (b. 1960), Norway
GROVEN, EIVIND (1901-1977), Norway
HAGERUP BULL, EDVARD (1922-2012), Norway
HÄGG, JAKOB ADOLF (1850-1928), Sweden
HALLBERG, BENGT WILHELN  (1824-1883,Sweden
HALVORSEN, JOHAN (1864-1935), Norway
HAMERIK, ASGER (1843-1923), Denmark
HAMERIK, EBBE (1898-1951), Denmark
HAUG, HALVOR (b. 1952), Norway
HEDWALL, LENNART (b. 1932), Sweden
HEGDAL, MAGNE (b. 1944), Norway
HELSTED, CARL (1818-1904), Denmark
HERMANSON, ÅKE (1923-1996), Sweden
HØFFDING, FINN (1899-1997), Denmark
HOLEWA, HANS (1905-1991), (Austria)/Sweden
HOLMBOE, VAGN (1909-1996), Denmark
HOLTER, IVER (1850-1941), Norway
HURUM, ALF (1882-1972), Norway
IRGENS-JENSEN, LUDVIG (1894-1959) Norway
JOHANSON, SVEN-ERIC (1919-1997), Sweden
JOHNSEN, HALLVARD (1916-2003), Norway
JONSSON, JOSEF (1887-1969), Sweden
JOSEPHSON, JACOB AXEL (1818-1880), Sweden
KALLSTENIUS, EDVIN (1881-1967), Sweden
KARKOFF, MAURICE (1927-2013), Sweden
KARLSEN, KJELL MØRK (b. 1947), Norway
KAYSER, LEIF (1919-2001), Denmark
KIELLAND, OLAV (1916-1985), Norway
KLEIBERG, STÅLE (b. 1958), Norway
KLENAU, PAUL VON (1883-1946), Denmark
KLEVEN, ARVID (1899-1929) Norway
KOCH, ERLAND VON (1910-2009), Sweden
KOPPEL, ANDERS (b. 1947), Denmark
KOPPEL, HERMAN DAVID (1909-1998), Denmark
KVANDAL, JOHAN (1919-1999), Norway
LANGE-MÜLLER, PETER ERASMUS (1850-1926), Denmark
LANGGAARD, RUED (1893-1952), Denmark
LARSSON, LARS-ERIK (1908-1986), Sweden
LARSSON GOTHE, MATS (b. 1965), Sweden
LEIFS, JÓN (1899-1968), Iceland
LIE, HARALD (1902-1942), Norway
LIE, SIGURD (1871-1904), Norway
LILJEFORS, RUBEN (1871-1936), Sweden
LILLEBJERKA, SIGMUND (1931-2015), Norway
LINDBERG, OSKAR (1887-1955), Sweden
LINDBLAD, ADOLF FREDRIK (1801-1878), Sweden
LINDE, BO (1933-1970), Sweden
LUNDQUIST, TORBJÖRN IWAN (1920-2000), Sweden
MARÓS, MIKLÓS (b. 1943), (Hungary)/Sweden
MARTHINSEN, NIELS (b. 1963), Denmark
MELCHERS, HENRIK MELCHER (1882-1961), Sweden
MELLNÄS, ARNE (1933-2002), Sweden
MORTENSEN, FINN (1922-1983), Norway
NIELSEN, CARL (1865-1931), Denmark
NIELSEN, LUDOLF (1876-1939), Denmark
NIELSEN SVEND (b. 1937), Denmark
NILSSON, ANDERS (b. 1954), Sweden
NØRGÅRD, PER (b. 1932), Denmark
NØRHOLM, IB (b. 1931), Denmark
NORMAN, LUDVIG (1831-1885), Sweden
NYSTEDT, KNUT (1915-2014), Norway
NYSTROEM, GÖSTA (1890-1966), Sweden
ÖLANDER, PER AUGUST (1824-1886), Sweden
OLSEN, OLE (1850-1927), Norway
OLSEN, POUL ROVSING (1922-1982), Denmark
OLSSON, OTTO (1879-1964), Sweden
ØRBECK, ANNE-MARIE (1911-1996), Norway
PERGAMENT, MOSES (1893-1977), (Finland)/Sweden
PETERSON-BERGER, WILHELM (1867-1942), Sweden
PETTERSSON, ALLAN (1911-1980), Sweden
PHILIP, HANS-ERIK (b. 1943), Denmark
RANGSTRÖM, TURE (1884-1947), Sweden
RASMUSSEN, KARL AAGE (b. 1947), Denmark
RASMUSSEN, SUNLEIF (b. 1961), Denmark (Faroe Islands)
RAUTAVAARA, EINOJUHANI (1928-2016), Finland
RIISAGER, KNUDÅGE (1897-1974) Denmark
ROSENBERG, HILDING (1892-1985), Sweden
RUBENSON, ALBERT (1826-1901), Sweden
RUDERS, POUL (b. 1949), Denmark
RYPDAL, TERJE (b. 1947), Norway
SÆVERUD, HARALD (1897-1992), Norway
SANDBY, HERMAN (1881-1965), Denmark
SCHIERBECK, POUL (1888-1949), Denmark
SCHJELDERUP, GERHARD (1859-1933), Norway
SCHMIDT, OLE (1928-2010), Denmark
SILLÉN, JOSEF OTTO AF (1859-1951), Sweden
SIMONSEN, RUDOLPH (1889-1947), Denmark
SINDING, CHRISTIAN (1856-1941), Norway
SIVELÖV, NIKAS (b. 1968) Sweden
SKÖLD, YNGVE (1899-1992), Sweden
SÖDERLIND, RAGNAR (b. 1945), Norway
SOLBERG, LEIF (1914-2016), Norway
SOMMERFELDT, ØISTEIN (1919-1994), Norway
SÖRENSON, TORSTEN (1908-1992), Sweden
SPEIGHT, JOHN (b.1945) Iceland
STENHAMMAR, WILHELM (1871-1927), Sweden
SVENDSEN, JOHAN (1840-1911), Norway
SYBERG, FRANZ (1904-1955), Denmark
TARP, SVEND ERIK (1908-1994), Denmark
THÓRARINSSON, LEIFUR (1934-98), Iceland
THYRESTAM, GUNNAR (1900-1984), Sweden
TVEITT, GEIRR (1908-1981), Norway
VALEN, FARTEIN (1887-1952), Norway
VALKARE, GUNNAR (b. 1943), Sweden
WERLE, LARS JOHAN (1926-2001), Sweden
WEYSE, CHRISTOPH (1774-1842), Denmark
WINTER-HJELM, OTTO (1837-1931), Norway
WIRÉN, DAG (1905-1986), Sweden