WILHELM STENHAMMAR (1871-1927)
CASSANDRA WYSS, Klavier / piano
Quite a few foreign visitors of the Stockholm Konserthuset probably ask themselves whom the bust, which is placed directly next to the entrance of the royal box, depicts. It is a portrayal of Wilhelm Stenhammar, whose prominent placing absolutely reflects the central role which Stenhammar played in the musical history of Sweden, even if outside of Scandinavia he is far less well known than his colleagues and friends Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius.
Already at the age of 23 Stenhammar cut a dash as pianist and composer: The premiere of his first piano concert in Stockholm in 1894 was such a great success that Richard Strauss put the piece on stage with the Berlin Philharmonics and Stenhammar as soloist shortly afterwards. The pieces dating from the 1890s mirror the adoption of European music tradition, whereas since 1900 a more reflexive element can be observed. From 1909 onwards, Stenhammar eventually focused on an intensive study of the counterpoint, which should lead the way out of the compositional crisis, which had affected the whole of Europe and had caused Arnold Schönberg in Vienna to abandon the major-minor tonality.