Harald Fryklöf (1882-1919)


Born in Uppsala 14 September 1882, died in Stockholm 11 March 1918. After qualifying as an organist at the Royal Conservatory of Music in 1903, Fryklöf took private lessons from Johan Lindegren (counterpoint and composition), Richard Andersson (piano) and Philipp Scharwenka, Berlin (instrumentation). Assistant teacher of harmony at the Royal Conservatory of Music in 1908 (permanent 1914) and that same year deputy organist of Storkyrkan (permanent 1918). Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 1915. His output as a composer is relatively sparse but includes works of high quality and in a distinctively personal idiom, such as the much-performed Sonata à la legenda for violin and piano and Symfoniskt stycke for organ.

(Statens Musikverk)


Harald Leonard Fryklöf was born in Uppsala on 14 September 1882. Hardly anything is known concerning his school career and basic music education. In the autumn of 1901 he gained entry to the organist class at Kungliga Musikkonservatoriet (the Royal Conservatory of Music), with August Lagergren as the teacher of his main subject, and he graduated in December 1903. Private composition and counterpoint studies under Johan Lindegren, starting in 1902, parallel to his conservatory studies and continuing until 1905, made an important difference to his development as a composer. In the autumn of 1905 Fryklöf spent a term in Berlin, studying instrumentation under the conservatory director and composer Philipp Scharwenka. Between 1904 and 1910 he took private piano lessons with Richard Andersson.

Fryklöf was sought after as a teacher, and music teaching occupied much of his time. Already in 1904 he began teaching harmony and piano in Richard Andersson’s school of music, remaining there for the rest of his life. In 1908 he became assistant teacher of harmony at Musikkonservatoriet, where in 1913 he deputised in the permanent post, which was finally awarded him in 1914. He became a member of Kungliga Musikaliska akademien (the Royal Swedish Academy of Music) in 1915, and as such held several appointments, serving for example on the conservatory board of governors between 1915 and 1918, and from 1916 onwards on the academy’s composer scholarship awards committee. Concurrently with various appointments and commissions, he also gave private lessons in composition and music theory subjects. Even established composers of his own generation, such as Sigurd von Koch, William Seymer and Ture Rangström, sought his advice. His pedagogical achievement also includes a textbook, Harmonisering av koraler i dur och moll jämte kyrkotonarterna (Harmonisation of hymn tunes in the major and minor keys, together with the church modes), first published in 1916, a new edition of which appeared as late as 1936.

Fryklöf had already begun composing before entering the conservatory. His first dated compositions (songs and choral music) are from 1900. For two years, in 1905−06, he received a state composer scholarship. His début as a composer came in 1908, with a performance of his Concert Overture op. 1 by the Stockholm Concert Society Orchestra under Tor Aulin. It was performed a second time that year, in Gothenburg. Also in 1908, Fryklöf became deputy organist of Storkyrkan (now Stockholm Cathedral), and was finally given permanent tenure in 1918. During the 1910s he devoted himself a great deal to vocal church music. He was, for example, one of the four editors of the choral music anthology Musica Sacra, which became an official repertoire collection for church choirs and to which he himself contributed several pieces. He was also actively involved in work on a new missal for the Church of Sweden, for which he also wrote music. His interest in church music and the liturgy was also manifested by his efforts at reconstructing church services from historical sources, resulting in a Christmas Mass (1917) and a Bridgettine Vesper (February 1918), both of which were performed in Storkyrkan.

Fryklöf was highly regarded and much relied on by his colleagues, thanks to his combination of artistic and pedagogic ability and calm, authoritative manner. He never married, but he was eminently sociable and had a large circle of friends. One of his closest friends was his superior, the conservatory director and composer Bror Beckman, who catalogued Fryklöf’s musical remains.

Fryklöf was always intent on improving his knowledge and skills and also on forging international contacts. His music was published, not only in Sweden but also in Denmark, Germany and France. In 1919 he was planning further studies with the German Catholic priest and composer Peter Griesbacher, who endeavoured in his church music to combine strictly archaic Cecilianism with modern late romanticism, a synthesis very much after Fryklöf’s own heart. He was also planning new secular compositions in a larger format − chamber music including the piano, and an orchestral piece. But at the beginning of March 1919 Fryklöf, who had hardly ever known a day’s illness in his life, was struck down by the Spanish flu raging in Europe at that time. Pneumonia supervened and he died on 11 March after only a few days of illness.


Fryklöf’s output is far from copious. This can be attributed not only to his premature death but also to his time-consuming commitments in other fields, especially his teaching and church music activities combined with various commissions and assignments within the Kungliga Musikaliska akademien and the Church of Sweden. His music vocabulary stays within the bounds of late romanticism but, especially in his later compositions, has an unmistakeable personal touch. In it one finds both advanced harmony and archaic features which can be viewed in relation to his interest in the history of music, engendering a sometimes modally inspired idiom and a predilection for contrapuntal writing and polyphonic forms. Fryklöf’s capacity for integrating widely different influences can be gauged from his numbering both the Apollonian Carl Nielsen and the Dionysian Max Reger among his exemplars.

Instrumental works

Fryklöf’s first orchestral work (n.d.) is an Allegretto for strings, of which there is also a piano version. His début composition, Concert Overture op. 1, was in fact his only completed composition for symphony orchestra.

Sonata à la legenda for violin and piano (with the Italian title corrected in a later, 1947, edition to Sonata alla leggenda) was one of Fryklöf’s last works and today is widely regarded as the foremost of his instrumental compositions. Otherwise his chamber music output is confined to an early, unpublished sonata movement, also for violin and piano.

The grandest of Fryklöf’s piano compositions is the fugue in C-sharp minor, with which he won the Musikaliska Konstföreningen (the Swedish Art Music Society) competition in 1909 and which figured a year later in the society’s prestigious series of music publications. In the collection 8 mindre pianostycken (8 minor piano pieces) the composer displays both playfulness and originality. One of these miniatures, the recitative-like ‘Strömkarlen’, has neither bar lines nor cadences. In addition to another printed piece, an Impromptu in A major, there are ten or so shorter piano pieces in manuscript.

Fryklöf also wrote music for his main instrument, the organ. Aside from a number of short pieces, this music is distinguished by two compositions in one movement on a grander scale: the austere Passacaglia, which is to some degree Reger-inspired, and Symfoniskt stycke (Symphonic piece), which displays a fully developed personal idiom, with sharp contrasts between the ruggedly dramatic and the pastorally idyllic. Both these works were posthumously published by Musikaliska Konstföreningen (in 1929 and 1926 respectively).

Vocal compositions

Fryklöf’s solo songs were written mostly to poems by contemporary Swedish and Scandinavian poets, such as Erik Axel Karlfeldt, Vilhelm Ekelund and Sven Lidman, as well as Thor Lange and Vilhelm Krag. Two small collections were printed in the composer’s lifetime, namely To Digte af Thor Lange op. 2 and Songs for one voice and piano (six songs in two volumes), to which are added 17 unpublished songs, including two with orchestral accompaniment.

Fryklöf’s choral music is almost entirely religious and is often based on texts from the Church of Sweden hymnbook. Unlike his instrumental works, the choral songs are mainly homophonic, with a fluency of melody and with a harmony which, without any sacrifice of expressive power, lacks the austerity sometimes encountered in his instrumental works. In addition to the seven hymns he wrote for the Musica sacra collection, only two of his choral songs were printed in his own lifetime. He was also preparing to publish German versions of five choral hymns (mostly from Musica sacra), but that project was never realised. The great majority of songs are for mixed voices, but his best-loved choral hymn, ‘Han på korset, han allena’, is for descant choir and organ. This hymn became well known following its inclusion in the widely used De ungas hymnarium collection (1933). About ten songs went unpublished.

The vocal music can also be taken to include the liturgical melodies which Fryklöf composed for the 1918 edition of Missale för Svenska kyrkan.

Sverker Jullander © 2013
Trans. Roger Tanner


Englund, David: 'Harald Fryklöf: stor mästare med liten produktion', Orgelforum, vol. 28, no. 4, 2006.
Gustafsson, Ralph: 'Harald Fryklöf', in liner notes to the CD Harald Fryklöf, The Complete Works for Organ, Swedish Society Discofil SCD 1129, 2007.
Holmgren, Claes: 'Harald Fryklöf', in Harald Fryklöf, Samtliga orgelverk, Johan Hammarström & Jan H Börjesson (eds), Gothenburg: Cantorgi förlag, 2010.
Jullander, Sverker: 'Scandinavia', in Twentieth-Century Organ Music, Christopher S. Anderson (ed.), New York: Routledge, 2012.
Lomnäs, Erling: 'Harald Fryklöf', in Svenskt biografiskt lexikon, vol. 16.
Seymer, William: 'Fyra nyromantiker', Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning vol. 23, 1941.
Seymer, William: 'En Bach i svensk vadmalsdräkt jämte andra tonsättarminnen', in: Musikmänniskor: Minnen av svenska tonsättare, Uppsala: J. A. Lindblads förlag, 1943.
Stare, Ivar: 'Fryklöf, Harald', in Sohlmans musiklexikon, 2nd ed., vol. 2, 1975.

Summary list of works

2 orchestral works (Allegretto for string orchestra, Concert Overture op. 1), 2 works for violin and piano (Sonata in B minor [1 movement] and Sonata à la legenda), piano music (including Fugue in C-sharp minor, 8 minor piano pieces), organ music (including Symphonic piece, Passacaglia, Fugue in E minor op. 3), songs (including To Digte af Thor Lange op. 2, Songs for one voice and piano in two volumes, Two songs for solo voice and orchestra), choral music (including seven songs for mixed voices in the Musica sacra collection, Han på korset for 2-part female choir and organ, Gräset torkar bort for baritone solo, mixed voices and organ), liturgical music (including compositions for the 1918 Church of Sweden Missal).

Collected works

Orchestral works
Allegretto in E major for string orchestra. Unprinted.
Concert Overture op. 1. Unprinted.

Chamber music
Sonata in B minor, 1 movement, for violin and piano, 1913. Unprinted.
Sonata à la legenda for violin and piano. Stockholm, 1919, reprinted: Sonata alla leggenda, rev. C. Barkel, Stockholm, 1947.

Piano music
Fugue in C-sharp minor. Stockholm, 1910.
8 minor piano pieces. Stockholm, 1916, 1 reprinted in Hemma vid pianot, Stockholm, 1928.
En visa om våren. Also in Från tonernas värld, Stockholm, 1922.
Ung mor.
Den första svalan.
En blomstervisa.
Murgröna. Ms. dat. 'Aug. 1916'.
Strömkarlen. Ms. dat. 'Maj 1916'.
Den gamla logen.
Bäcken (Etude). Ms. dat. Dec. 1916.
Andante semplice.
Dubbel-canon (in the octave)?; chorale no. 77 at Haeffner as cantus firmus.
Menuetto in E-flat major.
Menuetto (octave canon) in G major.
Impromptu in A major. Stockholm 1917, 2nd ed. Stockholm 1949.
Sommarvindar, 1915/18. Unprinted.
Allegretto in E major. Also for string orchestra. Unprinted.
Andante semplice. Unprinted.
Andante sostenuto. Unprinted.
Etude in F major. Unprinted.
Etude in D minor.
I gröngräset, hambo. Unprinted.
Sonata in E minor. Unprinted.
Waltz in D major. Unprinted.

Organ music
Impromptu festivo. Unprinted.
Fugue op. 3. In Orgelstücke moderner Meister, vol. 3, publ. J. Diebold, Leipzig & Bruxelles 1909; also in Vox Stockholmia: en liten antologi med orgelmusik från det tidiga 1900-talets Stockholm, Claes Holmgren (ed.), Slite: Wessmans 2001.
Doppel-Canon. Andante con moto. In Orgel-Kompositionen aus alter und neuer Zeit, publ. O. Gauss, vol. 4:2, Regensburg 1910; also in Vox Stockholmia: en liten antologi med orgelmusik från det tidiga 1900-talets Stockholm, Claes Holmgren (ed.), Slite: Wessmans, 2001.
Prelude to chorale no. 198, 1912, & 424, n.d. Unprinted
Andante funèbre. In Les maltres contemporains de 1'orgue, publ. J Jou-bert, vol. 5, Paris 1914. Also in Vox angelica [Musical score print] : en liten antologi med svensk orgelmusik från den oscarianska eran, Claes Holmgren (ed.), Slite: Wessmans, 1997.
Entrata (All’ antico). In Les maltres contemporains de 1'orgue, publ. J. Joubert, vol. 5, Paris, 1914.
Symphonic piece. Stockholm, 1926.
Passacaglia in F minor. Stockholm, 1929. Also in Musica organi, publ. H. Weman, vol. 3, Stockholm, 1957.
All organ compositions published in Harald Fryklöf: Samtliga orgelverk, Johan Hammarström & Jan H. Börjesson (eds), Gothenburg: Cantorgi, 2010.


With piano:

Beväringa [not 'Beväringar'], 1901. Unprinted.
Bergtagen, 1902. Unprinted.
Den långa dagen, 1903. Unprinted.
Haf och himmel, 1903. Unprinted.
To Digte af Thor Lange op. 2, København, 1906 (Ak, Du tid som fra mig gled).
Jag önskar att allt som en gång, 1908. Unprinted.
Långt fjärran där vågorna, 1910. Unprinted.
For Maanen drive, 1913. Unprinted.
Songs for one voice with piano, volumes 1−2, København & Leipzig, 1913.
− Vol. 1: 1. Serenad ('Tallarnas barr och björkarnas blad…', E. A. Karlfeldt), pp. 2−3, 2. Norden (J. L. Runeberg), pp. 4−5, 3. Juninat (Vilhelm Krag), pp. 6−10.
− Vol. 2: 1. Sen har jag ej frågat mera (J. L. Runeberg), pp. 2−3, 2. Jag har varit som ett blad (Sven Lidman), pp. 4−6 [also in Svensk sånglyrik, vol. 1, Stockholm: NM, 1951], 3. I drömmar träden stå (Vilhelm Ekelund), pp. 7−10 [also in Svensk sånglyrik, vol. 1, Stockholm: NM, 1951].
(Hereof 2 songs printed in Svensk sånglyrik, vol. 1, Stockholm 1951).
Det stiger, det stiger en bölja. Unprinted.
Du som bland jasminer. Unprinted.
I dag vill jag tacka dig (Sven Lidman), 1913. Stockholm, 1933.
En nyårs-låt, 1900/14. Unprinted.
Gillevisa. Unprinted.
I ungdomen. Unprinted.
Jag satt vid en enslig. Unprinted.
Juninat. Unprinted?

With orchestra:

Two songs op. 4 (Jag önskar ... o Långt fjärran ...). [Title on the flyleaf: 'Zwei Gedichte für eine Sopranstimme mit Orchester komponiert von Harald Fryklöf' and 'Två sånger för en röst med orkester av Harald Fryklöf; Partitur'. Unprinted. [German text written with graphite in the score.]

Choral music
SATB a cappella
Afton. Unprinted.
Julsång 'Si natten flyr för dagens fröjd'.
O, sköna land, dated 10 Oct. 1900. Unprinted.
Fünf geistliche Lieder [projected, probably intended to include 5 of the following 7]: 1. Gottes Lamm, 2. Karfreitagslied (text trans. of Swedish psalm 89), 3. Neujahrslied, 4. Osterlied (text trans. of Sw. ps. 108), 5. Osterlied (text trans. of Sw. ps. 104), 6. Pfingstlied, 7. Weihnachtslied.
Zum Epiphaniasfest, 1913.
Påsksång, Swedish psalm 104. Unprinted.
Påsksång, Swedish psalm 108, 1914. Stockholm, n.d.
O Guds Lamm, 1912. In Musica sacra. Körsånger för kyrkan och skolan, publ. by Herman Palm, Harald Fryklöf, Oscar Sandberg & Albert Hellerström, part 1. 1st ed., Stockholm 1915, 2nd ed. Stockholm 1916.
Pingstsång ('Helige Ande, sanningens Ande'), 1914. In Musica sacra, part 1.
Lovsång, Swedish psalm. 29, v. 1 and 10, 1914. In Musica sacra, part 2.
Du bar ditt kors, Swedish psalm 89. In Musica sacra.
En stjärna gick, Swedish psalm 67, v. 1, 2, 6, 7). In Musica sacra.
Det gamla år framgånget är, Swedish psalm 411. I Musica sacra, part 1.
Davids Psalm 51. In Musica sacra, part 2.
Lovsång, Swedish psalm 14:1 and 10. Stockholm, n.d.
Above mentioned (Det gamla år framgånget är − En stjärna gick på himlen fram − O, Guds Lamm − Du bar ditt kors, o Jesu mild − Påsksång (Halleluja, Han lever o min ande känn) − Pingstsång (Helige Ande, Sanningens Ande) − Davids Psalm 51 (Gud, var mig nådig efter din godhet) − Lovsång (Lova Herren Gud min själ). Publ. in 8 motettes for the church year, Gothenburg (Cantorgi), 2006.
Saliga äro de döde. Unprinted.
Hymn vid Reformationsfesten, 31 Oct. 1917.
Kyrie à 5 parts (Swedish text), March 1918.
Nu låter du [paraphrase over Nunc dimittis].

Female choir
Och inte vill jag sörja, SSAA a c. Unprinted.
Han på korset, SA, organ, (J. L. Runeberg). In De ungas hymnarium, publ. by E. Eklöf et. al, 1st ed, Stockholm 1935; sep. ed. Stockholm, 1972.

Baritone solo, SATB, organ
Gräset torkar bort.

Liturgical music
Helig … [14 compositions of liturgical texts]. Missale for the Church of Sweden, 2nd ed., Stockholm, 1918.
Helig in D-flat major.
Bridgettine vesper, Feb. 1918. Unprinted.
Christmas Mass in Storkyrkan.

Beethoven: Marcia funebre for symphony orchestra.
Beethoven; Menuetto from Sonate op. 2 no. 1 for symphony orchestra.
Grieg: Ave maris stella for solo song and string orchestra.
Haydn: Symphony in E-flat major, Adagio − Allegro con spirito for piano 4 hands.
Lully. Prelude Gavotte 'Preciöserna', for orchestra 1220 2000 str.
Mozart: Fantasie Sonate in C minor for orchestra 2222 2200 pk. str.

Pedagogical works
Harmonisation of hymn tunes in the major and minor keys, together with the church modes. Stockholm, 1915, 2nd ed. Stockholm, 1936.

Works by Harald Fryklöf

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

Number of works: 32