Stenhammar’s affective shimmer

Landscape, form and subjectivity in the Serenade, op. 31, first movement


  • Daniel Grimley



In the opening volume of his landmark biography of the composer, Bo Wallner lists ‘timbre, tranquillity, expressivity and at the same time their artful articulation’ as typical traits of Wilhelm Stenhammar’s work, and suggests that there is ‘no nordic romantic who has so intensively listened to silence and has composed it in the design of his form.’ This article adds the concept of affect to Wallner’s list, following Erik Wallrup’s thoughtful discussion of the term’s relationship with mood, atmosphere, and stämning. Hearing Stenhammar’s music affectively, particularly through his powerfully transformative response to landscape, sheds renewed light on vital questions of place, form, and subject position. Inspired by Herbert Blomstedt’s radiant live recording of the work with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the article assesses the opening movement of the Serenade in order to begin to sketch an affective methodology for interpreting Stenhammar’s work.

Keywords: Wilhelm Stenhammar, Richard Bergh, landscape, subjectivity, form, affect theory, cultural geography, music analysis




Referera så här

Grimley, D. (2023). Stenhammar’s affective shimmer: Landscape, form and subjectivity in the Serenade, op. 31, first movement. Svensk Tidskrift för Musikforskning Swedish Journal of Music Research, 105, 89–107.