AUGUST SODERMAN (1832 - 1876)
The son of a theatre conductor, the Swedish composer August Söderman at first earned his living in a similar capacity. His theatre employer enabled him to study in Leipzig, and in Sweden once more he was appointed chorus-master and assistant conductor at the Stockholm Opera. In spite of the shortness of his life, he exerted a strong influence over Swedish music.
Vocal and Orchestral Music
It is principally in Söderman’s ballades that the influence of Wagner is perceptible, in the absence of an existing Swedish operatic tradition. These include his Tannhäuser for baritone and orchestra as well as the songs for voice and orchestra based on Heine Der arme Peter (‘Poor Peter’), and Der schwarze Ritter (‘The Black Knight’) based on a text by Uhland. He wrote a quantity of incidental music for the theatre; his Svenskt festspel (‘Swedish Festival’) was written as the overture to a work by the future King Oscar II.
Söderman’s outstanding achievement in choral music is his Katolsk Messa (‘Missa solemnis’), written shortly before his death.