Bernhard Crusell (1775−1838)


Berndt (Bernhard) Henrik Crusell was born 15 October 1775 in Uusikaupunki in Finland (then part of Sweden), and died in Stockholm on 28 July 1838. He was principal clarinettist in the Royal Court Orchestra in Stockholm 1793−1833, and often performed as a soloist and chamber musician. He became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 1801, and from 1818 onwards he conducted military music in Linköping every summer. Crusell composed concertos for clarinet and other wind instruments, chamber music, a comic opera, small format vocal music and music for military orchestras, and translated ten operas into Swedish.

Bernhard Crusell (1775-1838)

Oilpainting by Johan Gustaf Sandberg 1826. (Nationalmuseum)


Early years in Finland

Bernhard Crusell was born on 15 October 1775 in Uusikaupunki, Finland, which until 1809 was part of the kingdom of Sweden. His father was a poor bookbinder who lacked the means to send his son to school. When Bernhard was eight, the family moved to Hämeenlinna and, soon afterwards, to Nurmijärvi. Here, at the home of Captain E.L. Armfelt, he had the opportunity to attend the lessons given to the family’s children by the parish clerk and to hear Mrs Armfelt play clavier. He learned the fundamentals of clarinet technique with clarinettist Wester (Westerberg) of the Nyland Regiment and his sons, and was able to pick out the tunes he heard Mrs Armfelt play.

As a twelve-year old, Crusell became a voluntary musician with the Queen Dowager’s Life Regiment of Foot, which was based at Viapori stronghold outside Helsinki. He learnt French under his guardian Major Olof Wallenstjerna, who also introduced him to the officer corps’ cultural endeavours. During the 1788 war he was a ship’s boy on the xebec Ivar Benlös, an experience that gave him a smattering of Finnish.

Member of the Hovkapellet in Stockholm

Crusell arrived in Stockholm in 1791, initially as a military musician. Two years later, he joined the Kungliga Hovkapellet (the Royal Court Orchestra), whose director, Georg Joseph Vogler, gave him lessons in composition. From 1795 onwards, he performed the most technically demanding clarinet concertos of the time, including one by Michel Yost. Amongst Crusell’s Hovkapellet colleagues in the early 1800s were other leading wind musicians, including hornist Johann Michael Friedrich Hirschfeld, oboist Carl Anton Braun and the three bassoonist brothers Preumayr.

It was not until 1798 that Crusell received proper clarinet tuition under Franz Tausch in Berlin, where he also performed concerts with singer Charlotte Bachmann and pianist Karl Traugott Zeuner. He also gave a concert in Hamburg with singer Friedrich Franz Hurka. The performance merited a mention in Gerber’s dictionary of musicians, which praises his tasteful execution of an Adagio. No other public appearance outside Sweden is known of.

Crusell augmented his soloist repertoire with concertos by, amongst other composers, Peter von Winter, Ludwig August Lebrun, Franz Krommer and Mozart. On the proposal of Paul Struck and schoolmaster Silverstolpe, who cited his ‘musical talent and exquisite clarinet technique’, he was elected into the Kungliga Musikaliska akademien (the Royal Swedish Academy of Music) in 1801. His affable personality earned him considerable popularity, and he enjoyed the full confidence of the Hovkapellet’s musicians. Author and playwright Bernhard von Beskow wrote in his memoires that the choleric hovkapellmästare (chief conductor of the Royal Court Orchestra) Johann Christian Friedrich Hæffner was tolerated ‘by none, if not by Crusell, whose delicate refinement and judgement of character anticipated every misunderstanding’. Crusell was apparently put forward as a possible hovkapellmästare in 1822 but was deemed ‘far too amiable’ for the position. As far as is known, Crusell never conducted in Stockholm.

Crusell often played chamber music with other members of the court orchestra. A particular favourite in Stockholm was Beethoven’s septet op. 20, which was first played back in 1805. For a few years from 1817 onwards and in the company of Johan Fredrik Berwald, Hirschfeld, F. Preumayr and Braun, Crusell arranged subscription chamber music evenings in Stockholm, and at a concert in the grand hall of Riddarhuset (the House of Nobility) in 1818 he participated in the first version of Franz Berwald’s septet, a work that he also performed in its final form in Stora Börssalen (the grand hall of the Stockholm Stock Exchange) in 1828.

Paris 1803

In 1803 Crusell spent six months in Paris on the invitation of Jean-François de Bourgoing, a French diplomat whom he had met in Stockholm. He studied composition for Henri Montan Berton and François Gossec, made the acquaintance of composers Luigi Cherubini, Étienne-Nicolas Méhul, Pierre Baillot and François Auber, and fraternised collegially with the Paris Opéra’s solo clarinettist Jean-Xavier Lefèvre and concertmaster Rodolphe Kreutzer. He was a frequent visitor to the Opéra and the Théâtre Feydeau as well as the Italian Opera, where he was offered a position that he declined: the salary, his diary records in broken Finnish, was only half of what he would have expected.

Leipzig 1811

Crusell travelled to Leipzig in 1811 in search of a publisher. He approached the Bureau de musique, which was owned by Ambrosius Kühnel, who along with Thomaskantor J.G. Schick gave some of Crusell’s works ‘strong approbation’. Kühnel published Crusell’s Clarinet Concerto in E-flat major op. 1 and his Clarinet Quartet in E-flat major op. 2. The firm was shortly taken over by C.F. Peters, who went on to publish other important instrumental pieces by Crusell.

During his journey, Crusell kept up with the clarinet’s evolution. His first instrument in Nurmijärvi had just two keys, and it is likely that he already moved on to a five-key model when at Viapori. His friend, J.-X. Lefèvre, whom he met in Paris in 1803, invented the clarinet’s sixth key. In 1811 he visited instrument-builder Heinrich Grenser in Dresden and discussed with him the ‘benefits of many keys’ and ‘the manner of choosing reeds’. According to his travel log they also talked about Johann Simon Hermstedt, for whom Louis Spohr composed his virtuosic clarinet concertos. Crusell spent many years with 8 to 11-key Grenser clarinets, one of which has been preserved. This instrument has interchangeable upper sections and can therefore be pitched at either B-flat or A. In 1822, Crusell discussed with Gustaf Wiesner, who took over from Grenser, the prospect of ‘introducing even more keys’.

At first, Crusell played with the reed facing up, like Tausch in Berlin in 1798 and Lefèvre in Paris in 1803. He subsequently switched to the modern technique of having the reed against the bottom lip, but just when he did so is not known. This facilitated the melodic, highly nuanced technique that made Crusell so famous: his tone is said to have been exquisitely beautiful. As his son-in-law, bassoonist Franz Preumayr, noted in Paris in 1830: ‘I should dearly give half a dozen of our local whole clarinettists for one single note of Papa.’


In 1818 Crusell was made music director of both life grenadier regiments in Linköping, a position that he retained until 1836. The music corps assembled every summer and comprised at most around 50 men. The instruments included woodwind, horns and trombones, as well as key bugles and, eventually, valve trumpets. During his trip to Karlsbad in 1822, Crusell listened with interest to wind orchestras in Stralsund, Berlin and Dresden. While in Berlin, he made the acquaintance of Heinrich Stölzel, who had introduced valves on horns and trumpets and thus extended their register.

Crusell founded for the benefit of musicians and their families a ‘Widow and Pupil Fund’ in Linköping, which still exists, albeit in a different guise, to this day. The fund was bolstered with income from the Crusell concerts in the city’s church from 1823 on, with performances of works by the likes of Auber, Mozart, Méhul, Meyerbeer and Rossini. The overture to Carl Maria von Weber’s Oberon (1826) was also played in Linköping in 1827, just a year after its composition! The arrangements were skilfully made by Crusell, who also composed here a declamatory work with choirs for the opening of the Göta Canal on 26 September 1832 to words by Magnus Martin af Pontin.

Journey to Karlsbad, 1822

In the spring of 1822 Crusell was afflicted by ‘giddiness and a severe nervous disorder’, which left him ‘unable to perform his duties with the orchestra’ for a couple of years. He thus embarked on a restorative journey in June of that year to take the waters in Karlsbad with his friend, the famous chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius. On his return to Stockholm in October, Crusell noted in his diary that he was ‘somewhat better but by no means recovered’.

Still, his journey had not been in vain. While in Berlin, Crusell heard Weber’s Der Freischütz (the second act ‘horrid, with raucous noise instead of notes’) and Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. He and diplomat Genseric Brandel were invited to a musical salon at the home of banker Mendelssohn, whose son, the 13-year old Felix, conducted one of his juvenile symphonies and played in a quintet by Hummel. Felix’s sister Fanny played Mozart’s piano concerto in D minor. In Dresden, Crusell met Giacomo Meyerbeer and Carl Maria von Weber, who ‘heaped courtesies over my compositions’. In Leipzig Crusell approached publisher C.F. Peters and reached an agreement on the publication of some of his works.

Friends in Stockholm

Like other members of the Hovkapellet, Crusell was a keen Stockholm socialite. Already in 1795 he was voted into the Par Bricole Society, and was also evidently a member of the Sällskapet Nytta & Nöje cultural society, which was founded in 1798. His personable nature made him a popular presence in the salons and gained him many friends from the city’s cultural scene, including poet Johan Kellgren, organist and publisher Olof Åhlström, opera singer Édouard Du Puy, hovkapellmästare Johan Fredrik Berwald, author Bernhard von Beskow, composer Pehr Frigel, county governor Hans Järta, Count Gustaf Lagerbjelke, Count Gustaf Löwenhjelm, Count Curt Filip Karl von Schwerin and Countess Ulrika Wilhelmina. Another close friend was artist Johan Gustaf Sandberg, who painted the much reproduced 1826 portrait of Crusell, which now belongs to the Kungliga Musikaliska akademien.

On 29 June 1822, Crusell was elected into the Götiska förbundet (the Geatish Society), a literary circle that had been founded in 1811 to ‘raise the moral standards of Swedish society by promoting the virtues of Manhood, Temperance and Probity’. Unlike other members, however, he was not designated a special name from Norse mythology. Crusell was also a Freemason.

The final years

Crusell’s final solo performance in Stockholm was probably his appearance in the Stockholm Royal Palace on 18 November 1831. In 1833 he gave a concert in Strömstad, the proceeds of which were granted to a fund to make it possible for the less well off to visit this spa town.

Although Crusell resigned from the Hovkapellet on 1 January 1834, he took part in a performance of Beethoven’s septet op. 20 at a concert in Riddarhuset in November 1834. In 1838, he received the Svenska Akademien’s (the Swedish Academy’s) grand prize (gold medal) ‘for the most excellent ingenuity with which he has rendered into Swedish verse countless foreign works for the lyrical stage and for his superb musical treatment of many famous poems by our own native bards’. Note how his opera translations were given pride of place in the judges’ citation! Crusell was also made a knight of the Order of Vasa.

Bernhard Crusell died in Stockholm 28 July 1838. At his funeral in St James’s Church, the Hovkapellet and ‘the opera’s male singers assisted by music lovers’ performed movements from Mozart’s Requiem to his memory. Crusell’s was buried in Solna cemetery with a Freemasonic symbol marking his grave. Some of his friends are buried nearby: Bernhard von Beskow, Jöns Jacob Berzelius and members of the Brandel family.


Works for wind soloists and orchestra

A work for solo clarinet and orchestra was performed in 1804 by Crusell himself: variations on Åhlström’s ‘Goda gosse glaset töm’, a popular drinking song in Sweden, although some score fragments show that this version was not the definitive one. The piece was often performed by Crusell and was accepted for printing in 1822 by Peters in Leipzig, which finally published it in 1829 as Introduction et Air Suèdois varié op. 12.

There are three known clarinet concertos by Crusell: the concerto in E-flat major op. 1, the concerto in F minor op. 5 and the concerto in B-flat major op. 11. The opus numbering follows the Leipzig printing sequence, although the actual order of their composition was probably different. Crusell’s autographs have not been preserved, and newspaper announcements or other sources leave us none the wiser.

In 1807 Crusell played one of his own clarinet concertos in Stockholm, possibly an early version of the B-flat major concerto op. 11, which was not released in print until 1829, during which time it might very well have undergone several revisions. The concerto in E-flat major op. 1, which is also a possibility, was printed in 1811. Both these works adhere to a classical genre represented by Kreutzer, Rode, Krommer and others. However, by the time Crusell performed his F minor concerto op. 5 on 18 March 1815, there were signs of a budding romanticism. The second movement, Andante pastorale, is one of Crusell’s most sensitive creations, and was included in a variety of 19th century clarinet albums. Since the concerto was printed in 1818, it was dedicated to Emperor Alexander I with the permission of the Russian court − and very possibly through the mediation of Genseric Brandel, the secretary of the Swedish legation in St Petersburg. In the 1826 J.G. Sandberg portrait, Crusell is shown clutching the introductory theme of the F minor concerto in his hand.

2 April 1808 saw the premiere of one of Crusell’s most popular works: Concertante for clarinet, bassoon and orchestra. The soloists were Crusell himself, hornist J.M.F. Hirschfeld and bassoonist J.C. Preumayr. The work was frequently performed, later with Crusell’s future son-in-law Franz Preumayr on bassoon. The last movement contains a variation on a theme from Cherubini’s Les deux journées (The Two Days), a popular opera of the time. Concertante was also played in Linköping, arranged by the composer for wind only. Crusell’s Concertino for bassoon and orchestra was composed for Franz Preumayr before his son-in-law’s concert tour of England and the European continent in 1829−30. The bassoonist realised the work’s potential as his main crowd-puller.

Chamber music

Crusell’s quartets opp. 2, 4 and 7 for clarinet, violin, viola and cello belong to a genre that was cultivated by the likes of F. Tausch and J.-X. Lefèvre and intended to be played far away from the concert hall. A quartet by Crusell is mentioned in Paris in 1803, and two of its movements were played for the Swedish court, which was currently residing in Karlsruhe. A Crusell quartet was also commented upon by Erik Gustaf Geijer in 1807, who found it ‘too sluggish, too bothersome, too feeble’.

It is not until 1811 with the acceptance of his Clarinet Quartet in E-flat major op. 2 for printing in Leipzig that there is any mention of a specific key. Three years later, Crusell sent his quartet in C minor op. 4 to his publisher Peters, who printed it in 1815. It could have been either of these quartets that the Russian composer Michail Glinka claims in his memoires to have heard as a boy in 1814 or 1815; the Crusell quartet made such an impression on him that he decided there and then to devote his life to music. The D major quartet op. 7 was printed in 1823 in Leipzig, and again for flute and strings, with identical string parts, as op. 8.

The Divertimento op. 9 for oboe and string quartet was probably written for fellow member of the Hovkapellet C. Braun, and bears a certain relation to the basic mood of Mozart’s quartet for oboe and strings KV 370. The compositional technique suggests that the divertimento is by no means an immature work and was composed just prior to printing in about 1822.

Three duos op. 6 for clarinets, printed in 1821, was composed ‘d’une difficulté progressive’ − with an escalating degree of difficulty. On modern instruments, any such progression is hard to detect, but not if one plays the duos on period instruments, the favoured pitch of which is (notated) F major, the key of duo no. 1. The second duo is in D minor and the third in C major, although with an episode in C minor that poses quite a challenge on a period instrument. The duos are ‘masterworks and models for duets’, according to Frédéric Berr, the Paris Conservatory’s clarinet professor in the 1830s.


Through Par Bricole and the Stockholm social life, Crusell was introduced to the simple strophic ballad.  Crusell’s songs for one or more voices and piano were not written for the concert hall. They are generally small in scope with a piano part that demands little of the pianist and lyrics that are often treated like a mini libretto containing elements of operatic dialogue. For the play Skomakaren i Damas, staged by the Kungliga Teatern (the Royal Opera) in 1808, Crusell wrote two vaudevilles, which were included in an 1809 edition of the magazine Musikaliskt Tidsfördrif. Many of Crusell’s songs were published in 1822 as Sångstycken, which was followed by a second volume in 1824 and a third in 1838.

The songs composed to lyrics by Esaias Tegnér occupy a unique position in his oeuvre. ‘Flyttfåglarna’ for mixed choir was performed in 1819 in Uppsala. The songs ‘Fågelleken’ (1820) and ‘Sång till solen’ (1832) were described by Axel Helmer as ‘two great compositions, in which Crusell demonstrates his entire register of vocal virtuosity, operatic phrasing, orchestral effects and realistic tone painting’. Tio sånger ur Frithiofs saga, published in 1826, proved extremely popular, and an extended edition, Tolv sånger ur Frithiofs saga, followed a year later. Of these songs, ‘Vikingabalk’ reached a similarly widespread audience, so much so that it even earned a place in the catalogue as a folk song. His Frithiof songs were also published in Danish and German.

On his return from Karlsbad 1822, Crusell visited Esaias Tegnér, noting in his travel log: ‘before noon I had a lengthy conversation with Tegnér about literature, music and a prospective folk song’. In spite of this, there was no sign of a national anthem for Sweden.

In 1838, Crusell published the songs ‘Vid en väns död’, ‘Över ett sovande barn’ and ‘Svanen’ to lyrics by Finland’s national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg. He abandons the schematics and rhetoric of his earlier vocal style as he gravitates towards contemporary lied composers like Erik Gustaf Geijer and Adolf Fredrik Lindblad. He sent the songs to the bard in his ‘capacity as Finnish countryman − a title upon which I bestow the highest value.’

Male choir

As a member of Par Bricole, Crusell was introduced to part-songs for male voices, which sometimes feature in his songs with piano. Male choirs of another kind are mentioned in Crusell’s journey log in 1822: ‘72 Singer-soldiers from the regiment [in Stralsund]’; and around 1827, at least no later, a male choir sung in a Crusell concert in Linköping. Of all of Crusell’s songs for male choir, the hymn ‘Hell dig, du höga Nord!’ (F.B. Cöster) is the most famous. It was premiered in 1829 in Linköping ‘by voices to the accompaniment of military music’ but was soon performed a cappella by student singers in Uppsala, as well as ‘Ej Nordens gamla stamträd kan förtvina’ (M.M. af Pontin), which he composed for a military Oscar party that same year. Another well-known song was ‘Rings drapa’ for male choir from Tolf sånger ur Frithiofs saga (1827), which in 1848 became ‘the clarion call of upsurging Scandinavianism’, after which it was spread with newly written lyrics by C. Ploug as Nordens Enhed. Finnish male choirs have sung the song as ‘Väinölän yhteys’. ‘Hell dig, du höga Nord!’ also became popular in Finland (as ‘Oi, terve Pohjola’), where it is included in choral collections to this day.

Lilla slavinnan

Crusell’s taking of the Karlsbad waters in 1822 had not proved definitively curative. He writes in his autobiography:

[By means of a] strict diet, his condition nevertheless gradually improved so that by 1824 he was able to resume his service. Another circumstance also contributed to this happy result. He was requested by the Kongl. Operan (the Royal Opera) to compose the music to a drama: Lilla Slafvinnan. His energies waxed with his interest for the work and when it was concluded he felt markedly better, proof of the benefits of an interesting occupation for those of weak nerves.

The comic opera Lilla slavinnan is based on the tale of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves from The Thousand and one nights (also called Arabian Nights), and Crusell dazzles with entertaining vaudevilles, thieves’ choruses, etc. The highlight is the eponymous slave girl Zetulbé’s aria with obbligato clarinet. The work was premiered in Stockholm on 18 February 1824 and was staged 34 times until 1838, after which it was adopted by travelling troupes and theatres in Finland (in Swedish). It was played on Finnish radio (Pikku orjatar) in the 1960s and 1990s, and performed in Finnish in 1996 by Turku Municipal Theatre (Pieni orjatar), a production that was later adapted for a Swedish language CD recording.

Opera translations

Crusell translated ten operas into Swedish for the Kungliga Teatern, an activity for which his linguistic acumen and familiarity with the operatic arts made him eminently qualified. These commissions came at a convenient time when his capacity as a musician had waned and augmented his post-retirement income. Crusell could speak French and German and was fairly fluent in Italian. His first performed translation was Mozart’s Figaros bröllop (The Marriage of Figaro), which premiered in Stockholm in 1821. Witness to Crusell’s easy, refined pen are lines such as ‘Säg farväl lilla fjäril åt nöjen, åt kurtiser, åt lekar och löjen’ (Figaro) and ‘Väsen som lyden ömma begär’ (Cherubino). In an article on Crusell as an opera translator, Axel Strindberg writes:

[Crusell’s] lyrics flow with no discernible effort; indeed, one might occasionally wonder if they flow far too easily for him, if more rigorous wording would not have been more befitting. But one must always bear in mind that his is pioneering work; that these are lyrics never before translated; and in fact some of these hundred-and-fifty year old renderings proved durable enough for a succession of reprints.

Reception and significance

Crusell was long and widely known as a clarinet soloist and composer of music for clarinet and other wind instruments. The songs to lyrics by Esaias Tegnér enjoyed much popularity in the 19th century and made the poet’s works accessible to ‘prince and pauper’ alike. When in 1827 a writer for Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung calls Crusell ‘the most beloved of Swedish composers’, he is referring not only to his instrumental music but also, and perhaps mainly, to the songs from Frithiofs saga and Lilla slavinnan, which enjoyed a long run in Stockholm.

After Crusell’s death, the classicism that characterised his concertos and chamber music had only limited appeal. A new music style was gaining ground in Sweden through such composers as Adolf Fredrik Lindblad and, above all, Franz Berwald, who wrote in a letter that he regarded Crusell’s music as ‘a consequence of the resplendent legacy of gaudy French rags that Gustaf the Third, God bless his memory, left to Sweden’. Still, the name of Crusell was kept alive, not least in the towns where he had been active: Linköping and Strömstad. His songs were sung in people’s homes, having never been intended for the stage in the first place.

In was not until the latter half of the 20th century that Crusell’s concertos and chamber music were rediscovered, with the revival being as much an international as a national phenomenon. His most important works were republished and the leading soloists of the day made gramophone recordings. Come the start of the 21st century, Bernhard Crusell is considered one of Sweden’s chief proponents of classicism and nascent romanticism, and in the field of clarinet music as the worthy peer of Carl Maria von Weber and Louis Spohr.

Crusell enjoys particular status in Finland. In 1801, while the country still belonged to Sweden, he held concerts in Helsinki and Turku, where the county governor noted that he had left Finland as a poor boy or sailor and had returned ‘a fine gentleman’. This was Crusell’s final visit to the country. In 1809 Finland became a grand duchy under Russia. In the building of the ‘Finnish nation’ and revisionist historiography that ensued, everything ‘Finnish’ was over-emphasised. Crusell was therefore allotted a place in not only the Swedish, but also the Finnish annals of music history, and given his own chapter in historian H. Reinholm’s 1853 book Finlands minnesvärde män. In a lecture in 1896, conductor Robert Kajanus referred to Crusell as ‘the classic of Finnish music’. One often encounters epithets as ‘Finnish’ and ‘Swedish-Finn’, which stress his roots rather than his career.

Fabian Dahlström © 2015
Trans. Neil Betteridge

Publications by the composer

Autobiography [exists in autograph at Kungliga Biblioteket, Stockholm].
Brev från Bernhard Crusell, Daniel Fryklund (ed.), Sundsvall: Sahlin, 1918.
Norlind, Tobias: ‘Ett brev från Crusell till Peters förlag’, Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning, vol. 7, 1925, pp. 151−153. 
Fryklund, Daniel: ‘Några brev från Bernhard Crusell’, Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning, vol. 31, 1949, pp. 169−181.


Andersson, Otto: ‘Bernhard Henrik Crusell’, Finsk Tidskrift, 1926; also included in Andersson, Studier i musik och folklore, 1964.
Crusells fond 1833−1933 : memorial publication by Badsällskapet i Strömstad, Stockholm: [Fritzes bokh.], 1933.
Dahlström, Fabian & Helmer, Axel (eds)
: Bernhard Crusell − tonsättare, klarinettvirtuos, Stockholm: Kungl. Musikaliska akademien, 1977. − F. Dahlström, Biografisk inledning. − F. Dahlström (publ.), Crusells resedagböcker [1803, 1811, 1822].− Å. Vretblad, Bernhard Crusell i Linköping. − A. Helmer, Crusells sånger. Mera måleri än känsla. − A. Strindberg, ‘Säg farväl lilla fjäril åt nöjen ...’ Crusell som operaöversättare. − N. O'Louglin, En studie i två Crusellverk [op. 5, op. 4]. − Verkförteckning av F. Dahlström och A. Helmer.
Dahlström, Fabian
: Bernhard Henrik Crusell, klarinettisten och hans större instrumentalverk, Helsinki: Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland, 1976.
Dahlström, Fabian
: ‘Crusell, composing clarinettist’, Finnish Music Quarterly, no. 2 1986, pp. 51−57.
Dahlström, Fabian
: ‘B. H. Crusell a Paris en 1803’, Finnish Music Quarterly, no. 2 1990, pp. 54−58.
d'Ehrenström, Marianne
: Notices sur la Littérature et les beaux-arts en Suède, Stockholm 1826.
Frimureriska tonsättare och frimurerisk musik, Uppsala: Forskningslogen Carl Friedrich Eckleff, 2006, p. 293.
Flodin, K:
‘Bernhard Henrik Crusell’, Finsk Musikrevy, 1906, pp. 51−53.
Forslin, Alfhild:
Runeberg i musiken, Helsinki: Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland, pp. 320−321.
Fryklund, Daniel
: Brev från Bernhard Crusell, Sundsvall, 1918.
Fryklund, Daniel
: ‘Några brev från Bernhard Crusell’, Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning, 1949.
Haapanen, T
: ‘Bernhard Henrik Crusell’, in: Suomen musiikkilehti, 1925.
Jacobsson, Stig
: Bernhard Crusell. Levnad, verk & inspelningar, Linköping: Vimla, 2015.
Kajanus, Robert:
‘Crusell, Bernhard Henrik’, Musiikki, 2007, pp. 56−61. [Trial lecture at Kejserliga Alexandersuniversitetet in Finland 1896]
Kallio, Ilmari
: Bernhard Henrik Crusell (1775−1838): säveltäjä ja klarinettitaituri [composer and clarinet virtuoso], 1994.
Koskinen, Janne
(trans. and publ.): Keski-Euroopan matkapäiväkirjat 1803−1822 [Diaries from travels through central Europe 1803−1822], Helsinki: Suomen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2010.
Lindfors, Per
: ‘Bernhard Crusell, en finlandssvensk tonsättare’, Vår Sång, 1941.
Mörner, C-G Stellan
: ‘Ett musikbrev 1799 från Genseric Brandel till Bernhard Crusell’, Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning, 1967.
Norlind, Tobias
: ‘Ett brev från Crusell till Peters' förlag’, Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning, 1925.
Norlind, Tobias
: ‘B (Berndt) H Crusell‘, in: Svenskt biografiskt lexikon, vol. 9, Stockholm: Bonnier, 1931.
Reinholm, H
: ‘Bernhard Henrik Crusell’, in: Finlands minnesvärde män, 1, 1853, pp. 208−236, 478.
Sorvola, M
: Bernhard Henrik Crusell: den första finske frimuraremusikern, 1999.
Spicknall, John Payne
: The solo clarinet works of Bernhard Henrik Crusell, Univ. of Maryland, 1974.
Sundström, Einar
: ‘Två brev från Pehr Frigel och Bernhard Crusell’, Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning, 1920.
Weston, Pamela:
Clarinet Virtuosi of the Past, London, 1971.
Winter, H
: Berndt Henric Crusellin 150-vuotismuisto [Berndt Henric Crusell’s 150th anniversary], Helsinki, 1925.

Summary list of works

A comic opera (Lilla slavinnan), orchestral works (3 clarinet concertos, Introduction et Air Suèdois varié for clarinet and orchestra, Concertante for clarinet, bassoon, horn and orchestra, Concertino for bassoon and orchestra, etc.), chamber music (3 clarinet quartets, divertimento for oboe and string quartet, etc.), 2 declamatory works (Den siste kämpen, Vid Göta Kanals invigning), songs for one or more voices with piano (from Frithiofs saga etc.), songs for male choir (Hell dig du höga Nord etc.), music for military band.

Collected works

The following list of instrumental works is more or less complete, but there are a number of sources for vocal music, including but not limited to written music, that have yet to be examined in depth, especially with regards to multipart songs.

Stage music

Den lilla slavinnan, comic opera in three acts. Finish title: Pieni orjatar.
Couplets from Skomakaren i Damas. Av hundra tusen paradis. Musikaliskt tidsfördrif 1809, no. 12.


A la chasse. Overture, poss. by Méhul. Ej påträffad.

Clarinet and orchestra

Concerto pour la clarinette, in B-flat major opus 11. Early version 1807?
Concerto pour la clarinette, in E-flat major opus 1. At the latest in 1811.
Grand concerto pour la clarinette, in F minor opus 5. 1815.
Introduction et Air Suèdois varié opus 12.
Concertino B-flat major for clarinet.

Bassoon and orchestra

Concertino in B-flat major, for bassoon and orchestra.
Airs Suèdois.

Horn and orchestra

Concert for horn and orchestra in F major.
Variations over Åhlström’s song ‘När jag dricker Snillets Gud mig till Amphion förbyter.’
Adagio with variations.

Several wind instruments solo and orchestra

Concertante pour Clarinette, Cor et Basson in B-flat major opus 3.

Chamber music for wind instruments and strings
Quatuor pour la Flûte, Violon, Viola et Violoncelle, in D major opus 8.
Quatuor N:o 1 pour Clarinette, Violon, Alto et Violoncello, E-flat major opus 2.
Quatuor N:o 2 pour Clarinette, Violon, Alto et Violoncello, in C minor opus 4.
Quatuor N:o 3 pour la Clarinette, Violon, Viola et Violoncelle, in D major opus 7.
Divertimento in C major opus 9.
Variations over Göterna fordomdags drucko ur horn for three bassoons and double bass.

Chamber music for wind instruments

Concert-trio for clarinet,bassoon and horn, [Pot Pourri pour clarinette, cor et basson par Bernhard Crusell].
Trois duos pour deux clarinettistes d'une difficulté progressive.
L. van Beethoven, Septet op. 20. arr. Crusell.
Three quartets for four French horns.


Vid Maries första nattvardsgång.

Music for wind band

See for example Katalog över musikkårens vid Första livgrenadjärregementet notsamlingar i Musikaliska akademiens bibliotek, Statens musiksamlingar / compiled by Mac Wassberg, 1985, Musik- och teaterbiblioteket.

Voice(s) and piano

Air (‘Jag har dig åter’). Musikaliskt tidsfördrif ,1809, no. 15.
Birfilaren, [no. 7 from Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell, Book III]
Cantate [in honour of Carl Johan Adlercreutz].
Den gamle Svensken, En Folkvisa, [included as no. 7 in ‘Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell’, Book I].
Eolsharpan (‘Ack hör! Vem är det som spelar?’).
Farväl, [included as no. 3 in Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell, Book II].
Fiskaren, [no. 9 from Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell, Book III].
Fragment af Schillers Thekla (Ett svar ur Andeverlden), [included as no. 4 in ‘Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell’, Book I].
Frithiof går i landsflykt, Declamation and Song, [no. 5 from Ten songs from Frithiofs Saga set to music dedicated to Frithiofs Skald by B. Crusell].
Frithiof hos Angantyr. Included after no. 4 in Twelve songs from Frithiofs Saga, new edition, expanded and improved. Sthlm [1827], Lith. C. Müller.
Frithof kommer till Kung Ring (Efter gamla Scalan), [no. 8 from Ten songs from Frithiofs Saga set to music dedicated to Frithiofs Skald by B. Crusell].
Frithiof och Björn, [no. 7 from Ten songs from Frithiofs Saga set to music dedicated to Frithiofs Skald by B. Crusell].
Frithiof och Ingeborg, [no. 1 from Ten songs from Frithiofs Saga set to music dedicated to Frithiofs Skald by B. Crusell].
Frithiof spelar Schack, [no. 2 from Ten songs from Frithiofs Saga set to music dedicated to Frithiofs Skald by B. Crusell].
Frithiofs frieri.
Frithiofs Lycka, [no. 3 from Ten songs from Frithiofs Saga set to music dedicated to Frithiofs Skald by B. Crusell].
Fågelleken (‘Ladda ditt rör, grönklädde jägar!’, Esaias Tegnér).
Glaset och Lyran, [included as no. 5 in ‘Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell’, Book I]. Bass, tenor and piano.
Gåsen och Lärkan, [included as no. 2 in Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell, Book II] Soprano, tenor and piano.
Göten. Baritone solo, TTB and piano.
Harpan (‘I ensliga stugan, en kulen kväll’). (Gfm. [A. A. Grafström.]).
Herthas Barn, [included as no. 2 in ‘Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell’, Book I].
Hjelten, 1813, [no. 5 from Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell, Book III].
Hymn för Greklands befrielse (‘Vid härars hot och fästens fall’). Solo, SATB and piano. Sthlm [Norlind: 1826], Walter.
Ingeborgs Klagan, [no. 4 from Ten songs from Frithiofs Saga set to music dedicated to Frithiofs Skald by B. Crusell].
Kalla Händer, Varmt Hjerta, [included as no. 4 in Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell, Book II].
Konungavalet, [no. 10 from Ten songs from Frithiofs Saga set to music dedicated to Frithiofs Skald by B. Crusell]. Solo, Tutti (three parts) and piano.
Kung Rings död, [no. 9 from Ten songs from Frithiofs Saga set to music dedicated to Frithiofs Skald by B. Crusell]
Källan, [no. 1 from Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell, Book III]
La lampe (Ségur).
La resignation (De Genlis).
Le souvenir. Romance (‘J'ai quelquefois chanté la gloire’).
Les regrets.
Livgrenadjär-sång (‘Käcke grenadörer!’). TTB and piano.
Mathilda, [no. 2 from Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell, Book III].
Militärisk Sång till H.K.H. Kronprinsen, [included as no. 7 in Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell, Book II]. Three-part male choir and piano.
Minne af Friherrinnan H.C. Åkerhjelm, [no. 3 from Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell, Book III]
Minne och Hopp, [included as no. 9 in ‘Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell’, Book I]
Nöjet, [included as no. 6 in ‘Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell’, Book I]
Oskuld, Sällhet och Saknad, [included as no. 1 in Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell, Book II]
Parentatiossång över Bellmanssångaren Raab.
Poculerings-Regime (‘Drick nöjes kalk!’).
Romresan (‘Säg, varthän med vandringsstaven’, EsaiasTegnér). Sthlm [1828]. Nordmanna-harpan no. 2, pp. 8−12. Lith. Ebeling.
Skandinavisk sång (‘Himlen bevare vår kung och hans riken’, Valerius). SATB and piano. Piano vocal score by E. Drake. Sthlm. Lith. Müller.
Smeden, [no. 8 from Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell, Book III]
Snuset. Visa, [no. 6 from Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell, Book III]. Voice, four-part choir and piano.
Suck vid målet (‘Trötta huvud sjunk till vila’, J. O. Wallin). Sthlm [earliest 1833]. Lith. Meyer.
Svanen (‘Från molnens purpursänkta rand’). [Included as no. 3 in Three songs by J. L. Runeberg. Stockholm [1838].
Sång i anledning av Norges förening med Sverige [Norlind: concert in 12 Jan. 1814, no instrumentation mentioned.]
Sång innom Preste-Ståndet vid en Middag den 1sta Maj 1823, [included as no. 5 in Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell, Book II]
Sång till H.M. Konungen, [included as no. 6 in Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell, Book II]. Tre mansröster och piano.
Sång på Högtidsdagen i Sällskapet Nytta och Nöje, [included as no. 10 in ‘Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell’, Book I]
Sång till solen (‘Dig jag sjunger en sång’, EsaiasTegnér). Sthlm [1835]. Lith. Ebeling.
Söndagsmorgonen, [included as no. 1 in ‘Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell’, Book I]
Uppmuntran till Glädje, [included as no. 8 in ‘Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell’, Book I]. Voice, flute ad lib., three-part choir and piano.
Vid bergsrådinnan L. Robsons grav (‘Skall allt i gravens dystra natt försvinna’, L. A. Ekmarck). Stockholm 1819. Lith. C. Müller.
Vid en väns död (‘Förgänglig var då den sälla lott mig brydde’). Included as no. 1 in Three songs by J. L. Runeberg. Stockholm [1838]. Lith. J. Mejer.
Vikingabalk, [no. 6 from Ten songs from Frithiofs Saga set to music dedicated to Frithiofs Skald by B. Crusell]
Wisa, [included as no. 3 in ‘Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell’, Book I]
Vänner, glädjens tidevarv är kort. Skaldestycken satte i musik, 1809, no. 11.
Årets tider, [no. 4 from Songs with piano accompaniment by B. Crusell, Book III]
Över ett sovande barn (‘Hur säll i vaggans famn du vilar än’). Included as no. 2 in Three songs by J. L. Runeberg. Stockholm [1838]. Lith. J. Mejer.

Voice and bassoon

Cavatina (‘En skål för den, som lika varmt tar del’).

Voice and orchestra

När för sitt slägtes väl den ädle offrar sig. Cantata for tenor and orchestra.

Multi-part songs

De fyra skålarne (‘Bacchus! Bacchus!’, Arndt). TTBB, also for three male voices.
Den siste kämpen (Erik Gustaf Geijer). Declamatory work for recitation, SATB and orchestra. [Norlind: 1836 or 1837.]
Det sköna hopp. TTBB.
Ej Nordens gamla stamträd kan förtvina (Pontin). TTBB. Odinslund och Lundagård, 2. Sthlm 1856. Abr. Hirsch, 572. [This is possibly a version of Sång till H.K.H. Hertigen av Östergötland.]
Flyttfåglarne (‘Så hett skiner solen på Nilvågen ner’, Tegnér). SSBB [SATB] and piano. [senast 1819]. Included in Musikbilagor till Iduna, 9 [1822].
Gubben Movitz klagar: Min flaska är i kras! Kanon för tre mansröster. Sillsalaten no. 3. Sthlm [1855]. Abr. Hirsch, 455.
Göterna fordomdags drucko ur horn. Canon for three male voices. Sillsalaten no. 5. Sthlm [1855]. Abr. Hirsch, 455.
Hjälte som frälsade Skandinaviens del av jorden. [Choir].
Hvem klingar först vid det festliga bordet.
Hymn: Hell dig du höga Nord (Cöster). TTBB. Amphion, 3.
Jag i Falu skola gått (Johan Olof Wallin). TTBB.
Liv-grenadjärernas Krigs-visa (‘Den svenska soldaten på urgammalt sätt’). [Male voices.]
Militär-Sång ‘lämpad till Glucks musik’. Götas lejon. [Male voices?]
Ny militär-sång (‘Vad är det krigarn skattar högt i Norden’). [Male voices?]
Prolog till årsdagen av slaget vid Hogland (J. G. Oxenstjerna). Music by Crusell and Müller. Instrumentation unknown.
Rings drapa (‘Sitter i högen’, Tegnér). TTBB. Included after no. 9 in Twelve songs from Frithiofs Saga, new edition, expanded and improved. Sthlm [1827], Lith. C. Müller. Also with another text: Nordens Enhed (‘Længe var Nordens herrlige stamme ‘, C. Ploug). [Included in, for example, 100 studentsånger. Sthlm 1878. Abr. Lundquist 1706.]
Serenad (‘Kring myrtenskylda fönstrets karm’, Beskow). TTBB.
Serenad (‘Slumra! Slumra!’) TTBB.
Sköna Rosenberg farväl.
Sorg-musik vid parentationen över hovfröken Sophia Silwersparre. Soli, choir and orchestra.
Sång den 31 aug. 1821. Vid lägret på Malmen. (‘För rättvisa, frihet och fädernesland’). TTB and wind band.
Sång för Jämtlands fältjägare (‘Det rör sig, det vimlar vid skogens bryn ‘, Tegnér).. TTB and ‘flere jägarhorn i unison’ [several clarions in unison]. In Musikbilagor till Iduna, 9 [1822].
Sång i anledning af H. K. H. Arf-prinsen hertigen av Östergötland Oscar Fredriks födelse (‘Skönt är det land’, Pontin). Male voices, 1830.
Sång till glädjen (‘Stormen i böljor, må vindarne brusa’, Stjernstolpe). TTBB.
Sång till H. K. H. Hertigen av Östergötland (‘Ej Sveriges gamla stamträd’). Male voices. Perf. in 19 Sept. 1830.
Sång vid H. E. Greve v. Platens jordfästning d. 7 febr. 1830 (‘Mannen med det fasta sinnet’). TTBB. Also performed on 19 Sept. 1830.
Till Hans K. H. Kronprinsen (‘Morgonens ljusblick, du rodnande dager’). [Male voices?]
Till Hans Maj:t Konungen (‘Att Nordens dubbelkrona bära’). [Male voices?].
Vid Göta kanals invigning den 26 september 1832 (M. M. af Pontin). Declamatory work with choir [and military band].
Världarnas Gud. TTBB. Odinslund och Lundagård, 4. Sthlm 1861. Abr. Hirsch, 1066.
Åt varje menighet. TTB. Sillsalaten, no. 13. Sthlm [1866]. Abr. Hirsch, 455.

Opera translations

For more information on the prints, see KMA 21. p. 234.
Mozart, Figaros bröllop/The Marriage of Figaro (da Ponte), 1821.
Rossini, Barberaren i Sevilla/The Barber of Seville (after Beaumarchais), 1825.
Boieldieu, Vita frun på Avenel/The White Lady (Scribe), 1827. (together with Niklas af Wetterstedt)
Spohr, Zemir och Azor/Zemire en Azor (Marmontel, rev. Ihlée), 1828.
Beethoven, Fidelio (Bouilly), 1832.
Auber, Fra Diavolo eller Värdshuset i Terracina/Fra Diavolo or the Inn of Terracina (Scribe), 1833.
Auber, Den stumma från Portici/The Mute Girl of Portici (Scribe), 1836.
Adam, Alphyddan (Scribe & Mélesville), 1837.
Meyerbeer, Robert av Normandie/Robert the Devil (Scribe & Delavigne), first perf. in 1839.
Halévy, Blixten, 1837 (never perf.).

Works by Bernhard Crusell

This is not a complete list of works. The following works are those that have been inventoried so far.

Number of works: 72