Johan Peter Cronhamn (1803−1875)


Johan Peter Cronhamn was born on 7 May 1803 in Östra Karup and died on 15 June 1875 in Stockholm. He was a musician and civil servant, an organist in the parish of Skeppsholmen, Stockholm (1827–37), and a singing teacher at his own institute (1835–43) and at the educational institution of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music from 1842 (permanent teacher with a professorship from 1859). Elected in 1843, Cronhamn was made pro tem secretary of the academy in 1860 (permanent in 1870). Cronhamn's oeuvre comprises solo songs and choral pieces, particularly for male voices.


Childhood and student years

Johan (or Jöns) Peter Cronhamn was born out of wedlock to Gunhild Fredrica Cronhamn and estate owner Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Fredrik Tornérhielm. As a four-year old he was sent to live with his maternal uncle, university and city master glazier in Lund, Lars Cronhamn, where he became an apprentice glazier and an apprentice belt-maker; however, it seems that he never attained the status of journeyman in either of these trades.

Cronhamn received no musical education as a child, and was self-taught in guitar and flute, achieving such a level of proficiency in the latter that he was accepted as an extra (unpaid) flautist by the South Scania Regiment. Cronhamn’s confirmation tutor, Dean Henric Schartau, a widely renowned preacher, took on his musically gifted pupil, and made sure that he received an education and was able to earn a living as a teacher. After a time as assistant teacher at Lund school for the poor, Cronhamn took his educationalist degree, earning the position of ‘schoolmaster’ in the diocese of Lund in 1821, first in Norra Nöbbelöv (a village outside Lund) and from 1823 in Husie (now a part of Malmö).

Meanwhile, Cronhamn continued to teach himself music, turning his hand now to piano and organ, with sheet music provided by his benefactor, Schartau. After graduating as a church organist in 1825, Cronhamn moved to Stockholm, where he took a teaching job in Danderyd and gave private music lessons. He was also enrolled as a student at the educational institution of the Kungliga Musikaliska akademien (the Royal Swedish Academy of Music), where he remained until 1829. An array of medals in organ, piano and harmony testify to the success of his studies.

Double career

His other career, as a civil servant, he began in 1829 when he was made extraordinary clerk at Stockholm’s import customs office. After a period of study at Uppsala University from 1832 to 33 that earned him his bookkeeping degree, he filled until 1850 a variety of posts at amongst other places the Board of Customs and the administrative court of appeal. As a civil servant he seems to have been reliable and meticulous, as evidenced by his repeatedly renewed appointments and the government commissions he was given beyond his normal scope of service (for example, as a financial auditor for the Kungliga Teatern’s (the Royal Opera’s) pension institution from 1856 to 57). However, his career in public service never really took off, and he remained for many years in subordinate positions. In 1860 he was given permanent employment as an auditor in the court of appeal, a post he held until his retirement in 1870.

However, his engagement in civil service did not stop Cronhamn from pursuing his multifarious musical activities. Already in his student years (from 1827) he was serving as an organist in Skeppsholm Church, where he remained until 1837. In 1835 he opened his own singing institute, with himself as head teacher, and in 1839 he founded the Sångföreningen singing association for choirs and instrumentalists, the singers of which were largely recruited from his students at the institute. During its brief but nonetheless intense life, the Sångföreningen performed many relatively new chamber music pieces, such as Luigi Cherubini’s requiem and Gioacchino Rossini’s Stabat Mater. Cronhamn also spent the decades from the 1840s onwards as a music journalist and critic, contributing to the second annual volume of the ephemeral Stockholms musiktidning (1843−44) and to Post- och Inrikes Tidningar. He was head of Dagens Nyheter’s music desk from the newspaper’s inception in 1864 until 1870.

In 1842, Cronhamn was employed by the Kungliga Musikaliska akademien as pro tem teacher of chorale and elementary singing at its educational institution, and was voted in as a member of the academy the following year. This was a turning point in his professional life; he wound down his private enterprises (the singing institute and the Sångföreningen) in 1843, and let the academy and its conservatory become the centre of his musical career − if one overlooks the male choir (the Bildningscirkelns kör, formed in 1845) that he took over in 1847. The choir was an initiative in general adult education and recruited its members from the artisan class.

In the service of music

In 1851 Cronhamn was sent by King Oscar I to the world exhibition in London to ‘acquaint himself with the […] musical instruments exhibited there’, and two years later he took a government-funded trip to Germany and other countries in order to ‘acquire knowledge of church music and the music schools’ − in other words, the nascent conservatory concept. Cronhamn made another significant contribution under the auspices of the academy in connection with the founding of the Musikaliska Konstföreningen (the Swedish Art Music Society) in 1859.

Cronhamn became a permanent teacher in the choir singing class in 1859, receiving the title of professor in the process. His later years are intimately linked with the Kungliga Musikaliska akademien, for which he became the pro tem secretary in 1860 and permanent secretary in 1870. In this capacity he went to great pains to improve the academy’s finances and worked assiduously with its president, Prince Oscar (later King Oscar II), who shared his deep commitment to the Swedish music scene in general and the academy’s affairs in particular. As secretary he also wrote a great many obituaries and the anniversary volume Kongl. Musikaliska akademien åren 1771−1871 (1871). He continued as secretary and singing teacher until his death, despite the infirmity of his final year.

As a person, Johan Peter Cronhamn was, according to the testimony of his peers, amicable, helpful and cooperative. He saw himself as a mere dabbler in the art of composition, and seems to have ascribed more weight to his contributions to musical pedagogy, including collections of songs for classrooms and school song textbooks.


As a composer, Johan Peter Cronhamn concentrated exclusively on small format vocal music. While he composed solo songs and choir music, it was the choral songs − particularly for male choir − that earned him fame as a composer. Alongside his own compositions he also made a large number of arrangements, and it is perhaps here where his greatest significance lies; his adaptations of Bellman songs, for one, made him a pioneer in this still popular approach to the repertoire, which had previously only been performed solo. Amongst the most popularly sung of his Bellman arrangements were ‘Hör i Orphei drängar’ and ‘Vila vid denna källa’.

Cronhamn also did much as a publisher of choral music. Noteworthy amongst the collections he edited are Musica sacra containing songs ‘from the works of the greatest masters’ for mixed choir, and several collections of sacred and patriotic music arranged for male choir.

Sverker Jullander © 2015
Trans. Neil Betteridge

Publications by the composer

Selected publications.
'Musik och Musikaliska Instrumenter', in: Berättelser utaf svenska industri-idkare rörande besöket vid verldsexpositionen i London sistlidne sommar. Första serien, med en musikbilaga och sju plancher,  Stockholm: Robert Acrel, 1852, pp. 1−12. [Also published in Berättelser om musik och musikaliska instrumenter vid verldsexpositionen i London år 1851, Stockholm: Robert Acrel, n.d.]
Sånglära för skolan. För folkskolan och elementarskolans [allmänna läroverkens] lägre klasser, [vol. 1], För lärare, Stockholm, 1870. 2 ed. Stockholm, 1881.
Sånglära för skolan. För folkskolan och elementarskolans [allmänna läroverkens] lägre klasser, [vol. 2], För lärjungar (Utdrag ur den fullständiga sångläran, Stockholm, 1870. 6 ed. Stockholm, 1886.
Kongl. Musikaliska Akademien åren 1771−1871. Historiska anteckningar, Stockholm: P.A. Norstedt & Söner, 1871.
Flöjt-skola by A.B. Fürstenau, translated and revised by J.P. Cronhamn. Stockholm, n.d.


Höijer, J. Leonard: Musik-Lexikon: Omfattande den theoretiska och praktiska Tonkonsten, Biographier öfver de förnämste In- och Utländske Musikförfattare, Tonkonstnärer och Dilettanter, som med utmärkelse idkat eller befordrat denna konst, beskrifningar öfver äldre och nyare Instrumenter m. m. beträffande musik samt af natur att kunna lexikaliskt behandlas, Stockholm: Abraham Lundquist, 1864.
[Huss, Frans J.]: 'Johan Peter Cronhamn', Svensk musiktidning, vol. 6, no. 10, 1886.
Jonsson, Leif & Martin Tegen (eds): Musiken i Sverige, vol. 3, Den nationella identiteten 1810−1920, Stockholm: Fischer & Co., 1992.
Lindfors, Per: ”Cronhamn, Jöns (Johan) Peter”, Svenska män och kvinnor, vol. 2, Stockholm: Bonnier, 1944.
Morales, Olallo och Tobias Norlind: Kungl. Musikaliska Akademien 1771−1921: Minnesskrift, Stockholm: Bröderna Lagerström, 1921.
Walin, Stig: 'Cronhamn, Jöns (Johan) Peter', Sohlmans musiklexikon, vol. 1, Stockholm: Sohlman, 1948. 
Norlind, Tobias: 'Jöns (Johan) Peter Cronhamn', in: Svenskt biografiskt lexikon, vol. 9, Stockholm: Svenskt biografiskt lexikon, 1931.
Willén, Anne Reese: I huvudstaden, musiklivets härd: Den strukturella omvandlingen av Stockholms offentliga konstmusikliv ca 1840−1890, diss., Uppsala University, 2014.
Wijkander, Oscar: Ur minnet och dagboken. Skizzer, Stockholm, 1882.


Musik- och teaterbiblioteket

Summary list of works

Solo songs, choral songs, choral arrangements (incl. Bellman songs for male choir).

Collected works

Voice and piano
Lyran (‘När du falska hoppet dårar’, Bernhard). For one or two voices. Printed in J.P. Cronhamn: Barnsånger, no. 14, p. 15.
Hymn. Till svenska folket (‘Åter har morgon grytt’, Talis Qualis). Published by Abr. Hirsch (no. 1355). 
Six songs with pianoforte. Published by J.P. Meijer. 1. Dalvisa, Svensk nationalmelodi, 2. Oskuldsvän! Förblif din känsla trogen (J.O. Wallin). [Can also be sung as a trio.] 3. Julafton [i prästgården] (‘Julen var inne och glädjen var ny’, A.F. Cronhamn) [also in Sjung!, 200 äldre och nyare omtyckta sånger vid piano, part 1, p. 42−44]. 4. Jägaren och hans maka (‘Näns du att gå ifrån din maka’, Wilhelmina [Stålberg]) [also in Sjung!, 200 äldre och nyare omtyckta sånger vid piano, part 1, p. 129−130.] 5. Jägarens återkomst (Wilhelmina [Stålberg]), male choir with pianoforte. 6. Säg om det ej min Selma är (Wilhelmina [Stålberg]). 
Rosens bild (‘Uti en dal af ljuvlig dager’). Melodie by Reichardt arranged for song and piano. Published by Abr. Hirsch (nr 694).
Skånsk bondvisa. Transcribed and arranged by J.
Slumra, du älskade, slumra (Ferdinand). Printed in Vid vaggan!, pp. 10−11.
Sof nu i din vagga stilla (Carl Magnus Ekbohrn). Printed in Vid vaggan!, pp. 30−32.
Romances for mezzo-soprano or baritone with accompaniment of pianoforte. Published by Abr. Hirsch (nr 698). 1. Hjertats tricordium (‘Jag tror på Dig!’, S-d), 2. Soldaten och hans kappa (Maximiliam Axelson). 3. Stjernan (‘Säg mig, lilla vackra stjerna!’, W. B-n) [also in Sjung!, 200 äldre och nyare omtyckta sånger vid piano, part 2, pp. 8−10], 4. Livets fröjd (Herman Sätherberg), arranged for one or two voices..
New military songs for one voice at the piano pianoforte and for male choir. Book 1. Published by Abr. Hirsch (nr 689). 1. Svensk ynglingasång (‘Bälten vi spänna och brynjor vi draga’, J.O. Wallin), 2. Infanteri-sång (‘Raska gossar, fram vi tåga’), 3. Kavalleri-sång (‘Fort, kamrater, sitt opp’, C. Feuk), 4. Desertören (‘Hurtig ses en Schweizare’, D-e), 5. Soldatvisa (‘När som trummorna gå, bröder’, Wilhelmina). 6. Soldatens kärleksgriller (‘Har jag blott en vacker flicka’, Maximiliam Axelson).
BeväringsYnglingen. Printed in Nytt Musikaliskt Lördags-Magazin, Saturday 23 November 1839, pp. 86−88.

Voices and piano
Livets fröjd och livets lycka, duet for soprano and bass. Printed in Sjung!, 200 äldre och nyare omtyckta sånger vid piano, part 1, no. 49.
Oskuldsvän, förblif din känsla trogen, for two sopranos, alto or bass (J.O. Wallin). Printed in J.P. Cronhamn, Six songs with pianoforte. Published by J.P. Meijer.
Hösten (‘Sommarn förbleknat har’, Herman Sätherberg), for two sopranos, alto or bass.. Printed in J.P. Cronhamn, Sånger för barn, no. 16, p. 16. 
Skärkarlen (‘På en ödslig häll står mitt lugna tjäll’), för två sopraner, alt eller bas. Printed in J.P. Cronhamn, Sånger för barn, no. 15, p. 15.
Vid en väns graf (‘Klagen nu vid griften I’). Trio with choir. Printed in Musica sacra, part 2, no. 10.
Lätta sånger för folkskolorna, Easy songs for the schools arranged for two voices, book 1−2. Stockholm: Norstedt, 1849−1851. 
Lätta sånger för skolor och gymnasier, Easy songs for schools arranged for three voices, book 1, Stockholm 1852.

Mixed choir
Krigarens dröm (‘Krigaren vilar sig i mark och skog’, C.F. Ridderstad). Printed in A. Abrahamson, Flerstemmige sange for blandet kor, vol. 1, book. 1, no. 5, p. 12.
Bildningens fana (‘Upp bröder kring bildningens fana’). Printed in Land Vårt...collected by O. Vallin, nr 58, p. 129.
Gud Zebaoth, som är och var. Printed in Julius Wiberg, Album för kyrkosång, p. 81. Även i Anders Jobs, En samling körer, no. 20.
Krigssång (‘Upp fosterlandets raska söner’). Printed in Framåt!, no. 10, p. 14.
Serenad (‘Slumra, slumra, slumra ljuft’). Printed in Isidor Dannström, Minnessång vid aftäckandet by J.P. Cronhamns minnesvård.
Signalen (‘Bröder, hörden I signalen’).
Ynglingen (‘Ära vi fått utaf fäderne ärfva’). Printed in Land Vårt...collected by O. Vallin, no. 63, p. 136.

Male trio
Slumra barn i menlös frid.
Bästa rådet, spiritual poem by J.O. Wallin, composer for trio with choir. Piano or organ accompaniment. Published in Stockholm, 1864.

Male choir/Male quartet
Studentsång (‘O, bröder, slutom förbund uppå banan’). Printed in Studentsånger, book 2, no. 6, Helsinki, 1873.
Choirs for male choir, dedicated to the song societies in Scandinavia, book 2. Stockholm: Rylander & Comp.
Swedish folk songs op. 3. Published by Sundel. 1. Skön Anna (‘Skön Anna hon går till sjöastrand’), 2. Stolts Botelids stalldräng (‘Stolts Botelid hon rider på konungens gård’), 3. Widrik Werlandsons kamp med Högben Rese (‘Kongh Tidirk sitter på Berttingssborgh’), 4. Sorgens makt (‘Liten Kerstin och hennes moder’), 5. Liten Kerstins bröllop och begravning (‘Stallbroder talte till stallbroder sin’), 6. Bonden och kråkan. Transcribed song from Skåne, 7. Den öfvergifve (‘Jag ser uppå dina ögon’), 8. Skadis klagan (‘Satt i sin sal, Niords bedröfade make’, A-z), 9. Dalvisa (‘Kristallen den fina’), 10. Brudstassen, transcribed song from Skåne. 
Desertören (‘Hurtig ses en Schweitzare’, D-e). Printed in New military songs for one voice at the pianoforte and for male choir, book 1. Published by Abr. Hirsch (no. 689).
Songs for male voices with several parts. Stockholm: Abr. Hirsch, 1842. 1. Sångens tröst, 2. Serenade, 3. Duett med chör, 4. Serenade, 5. Sång vid bålen, 6. Jägarsång, 7. Jägaren, 8. Flickornas skål.
Stridssång, för Danmarks folk (‘Hurra för Danmark!’, Herman Sätherberg). Published by E.W. Björkman.
God natt, sköna flicka, sof gott. Gymnastik-sång.
Hymn, till svenska folket (‘Åter har morgon grytt’, Talis Qualis). Published by Abr. Hirsch (no. 1355). 
Infanteri-sång (‘Raska gossar, fram vi tåga’). Printed in New military songs for one voice at the pianoforte and for male choir, book 1. Published by Abr. Hirsch (nr 689).
Jägarens återkomst (Wilhelmina Stålberg). Printed in J.P. Cronhamn, Six songs with pianoforte. Published by J.P. Meijer.
Kavalleri-sång (‘Fort, kamrater, sitt opp’, C. Feuk). Printed in J.P. Cronhamn, New military songs for one voice at the pianoforte and for male choir, book 1. Published by Abr. Hirsch (no. 689).
Krigarens dröm (‘Krigaren vilar sig i mark och skog’, C.F. Ridderstad.
Leve Sverige! Printed in O. Holmberg, Manskvartetten, book 1, no. 8, p. 12.
Marsch för Stockholms nation i Upsala (‘Bröder, o slutom förbund uppå banan’). Marsch tillegnad Stockholms skarpskyttar.
Marseljäsen (‘Upp fosterlandets tappra söner!’), composed for male voices. Printed in Nya amatörkvartetten för 4 mansröster, book 2, no. 12, p. 24.
På ditt hulda öga sömnen sig sluta.
Nordens land.
Norsk nationalmelodi (‘Jord och himmel, jag glömmer natt och dag’).
Serenad (‘Livets fröjd och livets lycka’).
Soldatens kärleksgriller (‘Har jag blott en vacker flicka’, Maximiliam Axelson). Printed in J.P. Cronhamn, New military songs for one voice at the pianoforte and for male choir, book 1. Published by Abr. Hirsch (no. 689).
Soldatvisa (‘När som trummorna gå, bröder’, Wilhelmina [Stålberg]). Printed in J.P. Cronhamn, New military songs for one voice at the pianoforte and for male choir, book 1. Published by Abr. Hirsch (no. 689).
Stjernan (‘Lilla stjerna, ack hur gerna’).
Swedish folk song (Ack, Vermeland, du sköna’), composed for male voices.
Svensk ynglingasång (‘Bälten vi spänna och brynjor vi draga’). Text: J O Wallin.Printed in J.P. Cronhamn, New military songs for one voice at the pianoforte and for male choir, book 1. Published by Abr. Hirsch (no. 689). 
Sång för bildningscirkeln i Stockholm.
Sång före aftäckningen av prins Gustafs byst.
Sång på Carlsdagen. March (‘Fädernas minne, fädernas ära’). 
Sångens tröst.
Sånger för hvarje högtidsdag i året samt vid andra kyrkliga högtider, liturgical music composed for male voices. Stockholm: Abr. Hirsch, 1855 (no. 683).
Songs for male voices, dedicated to the Swedish army from J.P. Cronhamn. Printed by Abr. Hirsch (nr 394). 1. Fält-sång, 2. Jakt-sång, 3. Svärd-sång, 4. Infanteri-sång, 5. Jägarnas hemfärd, 6. Sång för arméns alla vapen, 7. Sång för H.M. Konungen, 8. Sång för H.M. Drottningen. 9. Sång för General-Befälhafvaren, 10. Artilleristens ed, 11. Krigarens dröm, 12. Serenad, 13. Till H.K.H. Kronprinsen, 14. Kavalleri-sång, 15. Beväringsmarsch, 16. Vid en krigares graf, 17. Krigarens afsked till sin brud, 18. Dryckessång, 19. Till H.K.H. prins Gustaf, 20. Sång till Kongl. Maj:ts flotta, 21. Sång till chefen, 22. Krigsbön, 23. Nordisk här-sång, 24. Hymn till fäderneslandet.
3 songs for male voices by J.P. Cronhamn. Stockholm: Abr. Lundquist. 1. Nordens aand (Bernhard Severin Ingemann), 2. Nordmanssang (‘Brus höjt, min sang’, M.C. Hansen) [även i Behrens, Samling af flerstämmige manssanger, nr 273.], 3. Student-sång (C.J.F.) 
Svenska Choral-boken och Svenska Messan, the Swedish hymn book and the Swedish mass composed for four-part male voices, Stockholm, 1848
För skarpskyttarne, march (‘Takt å tu’). Sång vid konserten till de fattige (‘Du som verldens goda njuter’). Sång till Vermland (‘Ack du förtjusande land’, Herman Sätherberg), juni 1874.

Sång vid Konung Oscar d. Istes graf, funeral march, adagio, D minor.

60 songs by Carl Michael Bellman and the P[ar] B[ricole] society, dedicated from and arranged by J.P. Cronhamn, books 1−10, Stockholm, 1832
Den öfvergivne, Swedish folks song from Upland, arranged by J P Cronhamn. No. 13, p. 50.