The revised versions of Kurt Atterberg’s symphonies

Kurt Atterberg made subsequent changes to six of his nine symphonies ranging from small retouches to fundamental modifications. The focus of the article is on the Symphonies Nos 4, 5 and 7, which were revised by the composer years after they were published. Since these revisions seem to be still relatively unknown, performances and recordings often utilise out-dated material. The article reconstructs the history of these works and shows the main differences between the original and the revised versions. Surprisingly there are also different performing options concerning the fourth and the seventh symphony.


In the first half of the 20th century Kurt Atterberg (1887–1974) was one of the most popular and influential persons in the musical life of Sweden. Between 1909 and 1956 he composed nine symphonies. With the exception of Symphonies Nos 6, 8 and 9 Atterberg made subsequent changes to every symphony. He modified some pieces slightly after the first performances but sometimes also changed his compositions fundamentally many years after they were written. This article has its focus on Symphonies Nos 4, 5 and 7, because they were revised and published by Atterberg after they had been published already.[1] Both the original and the final versions are available today.

While nowadays works of nearly all composers are generally played in their last authorised version, this tends to be ignored or seems to be unknown in the case of Atterberg’s symphonies, as recordings and performances show. For this reason, the article on the one hand presents some new material which helps to reconstruct the history of the revisions of Symphony No. 4 and No. 5. On the other hand, it shows the main differences between the original and the final versions of all three symphonies. This also allows an insight into the composer’s working methods. Some of Atterberg’s changes are already mentioned in literature,[2] but the article complements and specifies certain aspects concerning the three symphonies.

Symphony No. 4 G minor Op. 14 Sinfonia piccola

Kurt Atterberg composed his fourth symphony in 1918 in only two months, which is by far the shortest genesis amongst his symphonies. The reason for that was a competition with Natanael Berg. They agreed to a wager that each one of them has to write a sprightly piece for orchestra that should be no longer than 20 minutes.[3] Atterberg’s fourth symphony was published by F.E.C. Leuckart in Leipzig and since 1967 Breitkopf & Härtel has the publishing rights for this score.

In opposition to his other symphonies (except Symphony No. 8), Atterberg’s Sinfonia piccola has a small orchestration. It has the traditional four-movement structure of sonata form, slow movement, scherzo and final rondo. The symphony is based exclusively on Swedish folk tunes and it is one of his most popular works. Though the composer ‘had never been completely satisfied with the piece, because the scherzo had just been a little short snippet’ (Atterberg vol. 6 p. 255)[4]

The destruction of Leuckart’s[5] publishing house during an air raid on 4th December 1943[6] was the ultimate reason why Atterberg took up working on the symphony again: ‘I had received a message from Leipzig, that my whole printed work had attracted bombs, so that amongst others my Sinfonia Piccola undertook an ascension’ (Atterberg vol. 6 p. 255).[7] So he decided to write a new score. But it took until his summer holidays in 1945, before he had enough time for it. One of the revisions made on that occasion was the insertion of a development section in the short scherzo (see below). The revision of Sinfonia piccola was finished on 9th September 1945.[8] Atterberg wrote in his memoirs that he had probably composed the development section already in spring 1945 (Atterberg vol. 6 p. 255), but here he confused the year. A still existing sketch of the development shows the date ‘1944’,[9] so it seems that he worked on it after he heard the news from his publisher.[10] But he laid the Scherzo aside, because from March until December 1944 he was occupied with his eighth symphony.[11] The new version of the fourth symphony was published in 1947 by the Swedish Music Information Center (SMIC) in Stockholm.

It seems that the orchestral material of Leuckart’s original version survived somewhere, as the conductor Otto Schubert rented it for two concerts in Bad Homburg and Oberursel in November 1947. When Atterberg received knowledge of this, he wrote to a friend: ‘I will send him a new, i.e. a lengthened scherzo for this symphony, from which I plan a new edition, because the old was destroyed in Leipzig.’[12]

As mentioned above the most significant editing in the score was the extension of the scherzo movement.[13] In the original version it has 78 bars and a duration of about 80 seconds. The scherzo theme, a polska from Södermanland (200 svenska folkdanser no. 136), is followed immediately by the theme of the trio, a polska from Västmanland (200 svenska folkdanser no. 187), before the nearly unchanged recapitulation of the scherzo theme is attached. In the version of 1945 Atterberg added a development and also an untouched recapitulation of the trio, which extends the scherzo movement to 182 bars. The development is based on motifs of the scherzo theme. 

Bar Part of the movement Remark
5 Scherzo (polska, ternary lied form)  
27 Trio (polska, ternary lied form)  
51 Development  Not included in the original version
131 Recapitulation Trio   Not included in the original version
155 Recapitulation Scherzo   

Table 1: Sinfonia piccola, structure of the Scherzo (revised version 1945).

Traditionally the development is expected to be part of the scherzo section. In the case of Sinfonia piccola this would be difficult without destroying the folk dance which is used as the scherzo theme. Instead Atterberg added the development after the trio. But as a result the development appears a bit exerted and cramped because it is more like a separate block than being well integrated. Perhaps this was the reason why Atterberg’s friend Fritz Tutenberg was not satisfied with the new scherzo. After listening to Otto Schubert’s concert, Tutenberg wrote to the composer: ‘But the scherzo is still much too short. It appears as if half of the material was lost during the journey from Stockholm to Homburg.’[14]

What is nearly unknown is that beside the scherzo the composer changed other parts of the symphony as well. In his memoirs Atterberg gave more information about this: ‘Furthermore the new score is relatively unchanged. I have added a few low notes of the harp in the slow movement, at some places, which are “calling for harp”. And at the end of the finale, I have deleted a few bars, which were difficult from aspects of playing together.’ (Atterberg vol. 6 p. 255‑256)[15] These are the bars 322 to 325 in the finale of the original score, where clarinet and bassoon immediately imitate the end of the preceding flute phrase. It is regrettable that these bars were removed because they added a humorous ending to the symphony.

However the composer did not mention further changes: concerning the orchestration, he marked many instruments with ad libitum, including the newly added harp. The revised instrumentation is as follows:

2 Fl. (also Picc.) 2 Ob. (2nd ad lib.) 2 Cl.  2 Bn. – 4 Hn. (3rd & 4th ad lib.) 2 Tpt. 2 Tbn. (1st ad lib.) 1 T. (ad lib.) – 1 Timp. 0 Dms. – 1 Hp. (ad lib.) – Strings

A similar ad libitum orchestration can be found in his eighth symphony from 1944 which is also based on Swedish folk music. Atterberg’s folk tune symphonies were quite popular. It can be assumed that with the ad libitum versions the composer would like to encourage the orchestras of Sveriges orkesterförenings riksförbund (SOR)[16] to play these pieces. Possibly Atterberg did not write the ad libitum remarks in the score at the time he revised his symphony in 1944–45, but rather added them when the score was published in 1947.[17] An indication for that is a concert on 22nd October 1946, when the composer conducted his Sinfonia piccola at the 20th anniversary of Skellefteå Orkesterförening[18] – a member of the SOR (Atterberg vol. 6 p. 307). It is to be supposed that he used his new orchestral material on this occasion, although it was not published at that time, and thereby had in mind the small size of the Skellefteå orchestra.

Furthermore Atterberg also changed the articulation and the instrumentation in some passages of the symphony. For example, in the first movement he omitted the articulation signs for the first violin and viola at the principal theme (bb. 3‑10) and added slurs at the tuba part in bb. 30‑33. While in the same movement, the motif in b. 15 was originally played by the horn, it is played by tuba and bassoon in the revised version. In the second theme the part of the first violin is now completely played in unison with the flute (bb. 65‑68).

Concerning the above mentioned concert in Bad Homburg it is important, that Atterberg did not send Otto Schubert the whole score of the revised symphony, but only the scherzo. In a letter to Schubert, he wrote: ‘I will use this opportunity to send you a slightly modified scherzo to my Sinfonia Piccola, with the request to play this instead of the printed one.’[19]

Atterberg also published the scherzo separately, presumably because it was for him the most important modification of the symphony. Thus there are two options to perform it: in the revised version as a whole or in the version of 1918 with the scherzo of 1945. While no recordings exist of the complete new version, there is one historical recording of the mixed version available.[20] All other recordings regrettably use the first version of the symphony.[21]

In opposition to the original version, the new score was published by SMIC. Leuckart returned the publishing rights of the old score to Atterberg on 31st December 1966. Why he gave the publishing rights immediately to Breitkopf & Härtel,[22] although he had already published the revised score in 1947, remains unclear. Doubtlessly this causes the difficulties to obtain the right score today.[23]

Symphony No. 5 D minor Op. 20 Sinfonia funebre

While the fourth symphony had the shortest creation period, composing the fifth symphony took the longest period: Atterberg began the symphony in 1917 and finished it on 22nd July 1922.[24] The original score was published by F.E.C. Leuckart, but since 1967, it is under the copyright of Breitkopf & Härtel.[25] Like his Sinfonia piccola the composer also revised his Sinfonia funebre andit was likewise published in 1947 by SMIC.[26] Maybe there is also a connection to the destruction of his publishing house – Atterberg wrote in a letter, that five of his symphonies were destroyed during the war.[27] In his ‘Minnesanteckningar’ he did not mention a revision of the fifth symphony. But in a letter to Natanael Broman from 27th October 1946 the composer wrote, that he just proofread ‘the new orchestral material with the changes made in it’.[28] The reason for his proofreading was a concert on 14th December 1946 in Göteborg with Sixten Eckerberg conducting, which was also due to be broadcasted. Atterberg asked the orchestra to send him the score as well as the trumpet, trombone, tuba, percussion and piano parts, because he wanted to correct and change them.[29]

Compared to the fourth symphony, the amendments are less significant and mainly concern the orchestration. The instrumentation of the fifth symphony requires three clarinets and three oboes, but according to the revised version ‘[t]he work can be played with only 2 oboes and 2 clarinets’.[30] However, it is not clear which of the parts can be omitted. When Atterberg wrote ad libitum instrumentations, it is not self-evident that the lowest part can be omitted.[31] It has to be considered, that the third oboe moreover has to play heckelphone,[32] which has an important role especially in the slow movement. The score also requires a piano in the orchestra, which is, according to the score, to be placed behind the orchestra. In the revised version Atterberg specified in his foreword: ‘The piano ought to be placed among the wood winds and the brass winds, if possible out of sight of the public’ which is due to the specific use of the piano: In Atterberg’s symphonies the piano mainly doubles the wind parts to give them more contours. In Sinfonia funebre the piano is also used to produce a percussive sound.

Noticeable in the fifth symphony is the intensive use of brass instruments and percussion. Here the composer modified his score. These revisions are related only to the final movement. The first change occurs in b. 625, where the percussion has to play a sequence of four notes. In the 1922 version, the notes are played successively by triangle, timbre,[33] which has to be struck with a steel bar, cymbal, which has to be struck with a triangle bar and bass drum. In the revised version the composer changed the sequence into triangle, cymbal which has to be struck with triangle bar, clash cymbals and bass drum. In the original version some passages of the third trombone and the tuba can be ad libitum tacet, while in the revised version the composer deleted these passages completely.[34]

The largest modification concerns the musical climax towards the end of the movement (b. 857ff.). In the new score the remarks ‘Largamente’ and ‘so stark wie möglich’ were deleted for the whole orchestra. The score examples from the first four bars show the further differences between Atterberg’s two versions.


Example 1: Sinfonia funebre (version 1922), 3rd movement, bb. 857–860.

Example 2: Sinfonia funebre (version 1946), 3rd movement, bb. 857–860.

In the original version trumpets and trombones play the fanfare motif on b flat in unison, while in the version of 1946, the low brass has additional chords,[35] which results in a fuller sound. The pedal point on c, in the principal trumpet, makes the sound at the same time more dissonant. Atterberg also changed the dynamics and added accents to the fanfare motif. The percussion parts are completely rewritten. In the version of 1922 the composer uses continuous tremolo of the snare drum and, like in b. 625, demands timbre. In the revised version, the snare drum emphasizes the fanfare rhythm together with the new added timpani. The timbre is replaced by a tam-tam, which appears only in this passage. On the one hand due to the snare drum and the timpani the fanfare motif now obtains more contour. On the other hand, the use of the timbre in the original version caused an interesting and striking sound.

As with Sinfonia piccola, the revised version of Atterberg’s Sinfonia funebre seems to be nearly unknown and so the out-dated score from Breitkopf & Härtel is still in use.[36] An exception is the new CD of Neeme Järvi, which used the revised score.[37] Other recordings which are currently available did not consider the composer’s last version. Ari Rasilainen used the version of 1922[38] and Stig Westerberg made his own version by mixing Atterberg’s two scores: While the musical climax of the third movement (b. 857ff., Example 2) can be heard in the revised version, the passages before (bb. 830–856) are played in the version of 1922, which is indicated by the use of the tuba, which was deleted during the revision (see footnote 34).[39]

Here again the question arises why the composer transferred the publishing rights of the old version to Breitkopf & Härtel in 1967, although he had published his revised score in the meantime in Sweden.

Symphony No. 7 Op. 45 Sinfonia romantica

Atterberg composed his seventh symphony in 1941–42. To a large extent it is based on his opera Fanal (1929–32). Here his revisions are quite radical: At first he composed a symphony in three movements. During or after working on the final rondo Atterberg decided to write a fourth movement. But after the premiere the conductor Hermann Abendroth thought that this movement was too long.[40] In addition Atterberg had the impression that it was ‘partly too long, partly far too heavy […] even though there were a lot of effective parts in it’ (Atterberg vol. 6 p. 158).[41] Hence he deleted itand returned to the earlier version in three movements. [42] He also removed the ‘Slummerarian’ in the first movement (see below). The exact date for this revision cannot be reconstructed but it must have been between 8th February 1946 and end of 1962.[43]

Since then the symphony is performed and recorded in three movements,[44] but it seems quite unknown, that there are – according to the composer – altogether three options in which it can be played. The first and familiar one is the version in three movements. The second one is a version in four movements, but with another finale: Atterberg’s Vittorioso Op. 58, which is based on the deleted fourth movement and on the also deleted Nocturne No. 4 (‘Strid i gryningen – Frihetssång’) from Fanal.[45]

Both final movements in these pieces [the seventh symphony and Four nocturnes] worried me. […] But the deleted parts contained so much of my best music that I would like to do something with it. According to the examples amongst others, of Beethoven and Reger, I had decided to create a new short piece from the parts of the deleted final movements. But it was a difficult compositional task.[46]

According to Atterberg the work ‘can be used as final movement – if wished – both for my 7th symphony and for my three nocturnes from “Fanal”’.[47] (Atterberg vol. 6 p. 158) He confirmed that some pages later: ‘If a conductor would be so delighted by this symphony in three movements, my opus 58 “Vittorioso” […] can serve as a fourth movement. But I think that the version in three movements is the best.’[48] (Atterberg vol. 6 p. 163)

Before discussing the use of the Vittorioso as new fourth movement of Sinfonia romantica, the structure of both finales shall be outlined shortly:[49] The deleted fourth movement has the structure of a sonata form with a slow introduction and three themes. There is a traditional development in the middle of the movement, but motivic thematic work can also be found in exposition and recapitulation. The finale is connected to the other movements by reminiscences of some themes and motifs. The Vittorioso has a free form in four parts which consists of three themes and a tranquillo section. The themes are mainly repeated and aligned. The first half (first and second theme) of the piece corresponds with the first part of the deleted Nocturne No. 4. The second half (tranquillo, third theme) is identical with the slow introduction, exposition of the first theme and the coda of Sinfonia romantica’s former fourth movement.

Should the Vittorioso be played as fourth movement of the symphony? According to the author this is problematic for two reasons. Firstly the symphony was drafted in three movements originally. So the third movement, a vivid rondo, has a very strong ‘Finalwirkung’. As a result, it is quite difficult for both later added fourth movements to exceed the rondo.[50] Secondly it depends on the structure of the Vittorioso. As a result of its aligned structure the piece has no symphonic character but feels more like a potpourri. Using it as final movement would give the symphony a huge imbalance. So it would be better to perform the Vittorioso Op. 58 as it was written – as an independent piece.

Finally there is a third option for the seventh symphony. As mentioned above the composer deleted not only the finale but also the middle part of the first movement, in which he cited the complete ‘Slummerarian’ from his opera Fanal. Surprisingly he wrote that the first movement of Sinfonia romantica can be performed separately.[51] In that case the deleted aria cannot be omitted: ‘it has to be played only when this movement “Drammatico” is performed separately’.[52] (Atterberg vol. 6 p. 160) In this context it is interesting that Atterberg’s friend Joen Lagerberg reported that in the beginning the composer had only the intention to write an orchestra piece in one movement, which should contain the ‘Slummerarian’ and should be written in sonata form. (Jacobsson 1985 p. 210)

Using the ‘Slummerarian’ caused an uncommon structure of the first movement’s sonata form: The centre of the movement is not the development but the aria. A second development is added after the recapitulation in order to create a symmetrical form. The focus on the ‘Slummerarian’ might be the reason why both development sections are comparatively short. 

Bar Part of the movement Remark
1 Introduction  
14 Exposition  
123 First development  



Material of the introduction


Deleted in the revised version. To be played if the movement is performed separately.

278  Material of the introduction


318 Recapitulation  
439 Second development  
492 Coda  

 Table 2: Sinfonia romantica, structure of the first movement.

The symphony’s movements are interconnected by the appearance of several themes and motifs throughout the movements. For Atterberg the ‘Slummerarian’ in the beginning was the most important part and the origin of the first movement. So it is remarkable that there are no references to the aria in the following movements. It is also not a subject of motivic and thematic work in the first movement. Therefore, it feels like an episode or even foreign part which disturbs the symphonic character of the movement. For that reason, Atterberg’s decision to delete the ‘Slummerarian’ from the symphony is comprehensible. If the first movement would be performed independently as a kind of symphonic fantasy, using the aria as contrasting slow middle section of the piece however would be adequate.


As shown in the article there are several versions for Atterberg’s Symphonies No. 4, No. 5 and No. 7. The range of the modifications varies greatly. In the fifth symphony the revisions mainly concern the instrumentation, especially the use of brass instruments and percussion in the final movement. In the fourth movement Atterberg also revised the instrumentation in some passages. The main – and for the composer the most important – revision was the extension of the scherzo movement. But in the author’s opinion the new added development is not well integrated. One reason for that seems to be the use of folk songs as themes. The revision of the seventh symphony is the most radical, because Atterberg i. a. deleted the complete fourth movement. According to the author that was the appropriate decision, because at first the work was written in three movements. Adding a fourth movement caused an imbalance in the symphony. While this revision is commonly accepted, the revised versions of Symphonies Nos. 5 and especially 4 tend to be ignored or seem to be unknown. The fact that Atterberg gave the publishing rights of the original versions to Breitkopf & Härtel, although he had published the revised scores in the meantime at SMIC, doubtlessly causes difficulties. Finally it does not make it easier that there are several performing options concerning the fourth and the seventh symphony (see Table 3).

The fact that all revisions were published by the composer and his comments on them, unmistakably shows that they were important to him. Performing an original version to show the differences to the final version of a piece is of course legitimate. But in general, practical aspects and personal preferences of a conductor or concert manager should not play an essential role in choosing a version. In the opinion of the author the final will of the composer – in this case Atterberg – should be respected. To achieve that, a critical edition of his symphonies would be helpful and enriching.

Symphony No. 4 G minor Op. 14 Sinfonia piccola

Original version 1918

Revised version 1944/45 (published 1947)

Performing options:

-       all movements in revised version

-       movements 1, 2 and 4 in original version, scherzo in revised version

Symphony No. 5

Original Version 1922

Revised version 1946 (published 1947)

Symphony No. 7 Op. 45 Sinfonia romantica

Original version 1941/42

Revised versions between 1946 and 1962

Performing options:

-       revised version (three movements)

-       revised version with Vittorioso Op. 58 as fourth movement

-       first movement in original version performed as separate piece

Table 3: Revisions and performing options of Symphonies Nos 4, 5 and 7.




Atterberg, Kurt: ‘Minnesanteckningar’ vol. 6 (1963/1964, unpublished). Atterberg archive at Musik- och teaterarkiv Gäddviken, Statens Musikverk.

Connor, Herbert 1977: Svensk musik 2. Från Midsommarvaka till Aniara. Stockholm: Bonnier.

Finkel, Carola 2013: »Ich selbst bin ein unverbesserlicher Romantiker« Die Sinfonien Kurt Atterbergs. Marburg: Tectum.

Hedwall, Lennart 1983: Den svenska symfonin. Stockholm: Almquist & Wiksell.

Jacobsson, Stig 1985: Kurt Atterberg. Borås: Norma.

Music scores

200 svenska folkdanser, arrangerade för piano. Abraham Lundquist Stockholm (Abr. L. 1519).

Atterberg, Kurt: Sinfonie Nr. 4 g-Moll op. 14 Sinfonia piccola (Original version). Breitkopf & Härtel Wiesbaden, Leipzig, Paris (Reprint of F.E.C. Leuckart’s score F.E.C.L. 806).

Atterberg, Kurt: Sinfonia piccola, Symfoni IV byggd på svenska folkmotiv op. 14 (Revised version). SMIC Stockholm (ID number 16719).

Atterberg, Kurt: Scherzo from Sinfonia piccola, Symfoni IV byggd på svenska folkmotiv op. 14 (Revised version). SMIC Stockholm (ID number 12568).

Atterberg, Kurt: Scherzo from Sinfonia piccola (Revised version), sketches. Musik- och teaterbiblioteket Stockholm, Statens Musikverk (No signature).

Atterberg, Kurt: Sinfonie Nr. 5 d-Moll op. 20 Sinfonia funebre (Original version). Breitkopf & Härtel Wiesbaden, Leipzig, Paris (Reprint of F.E.C. Leuckart’s score F.E.C.L. 8230).

Atterberg, Kurt: Sinfonia funebre Nr. V (Revised version). SMIC Stockholm (ID number 12573).

Atterberg, Kurt: Symphonie VII op. 45 »Sinfonia romantica«. SMIC Stockholm (ID number 12575).

Atterberg, Kurt: Vittorioso op. 58. SMIC Stockholm (ID number 12578).

Atterberg, Kurt: Nocturne No. 4 from »Fanal« op. 35bis. Orchestral material. SMIC Stockholm (ID number 12558)[53]


Letter from Hermann Abendroth to Kurt Atterberg, 18th February 1943. Signature ATT 586, Atterberg Archive at Musik- och teaterarkiv Gäddviken, Statens Musikverk.

Letter from Kurt Atterberg to the librarian of the Göteborgs Orkesterförening, 21st November 1946. Signature ATT 314, Atterberg Archive at Musik- och teaterarkiv Gäddviken, Statens Musikverk.

Letter from Kurt Atterberg to Fritz Tutenberg, 31st August 1947. Signature ATP 6012, Atterberg Archive at Musik- och teaterarkiv Gäddviken, Statens Musikverk.

Letter from Kurt Atterberg to Otto Schubert, 2nd September 1947. Signature ATT 427, Atterberg Archive at Musik- och teaterarkiv Gäddviken, Statens Musikverk.

Letter from Kurt Atterberg to Natanael Broman, 27th October 1947. Signature ATP 3999, Atterberg Archive at Musik- och teaterarkiv Gäddviken, Statens Musikverk.

Letter from Kurt Atterberg to Rolf Agop, 7th January 1963. Signature ATP 38, Atterberg Archive at Musik- och teaterarkiv Gäddviken, Statens Musikverk.

Letter from Kurt Atterberg to Sven Kruckenberg (Konserthuset Göteborg), 8th September 1970. Signature ATT 336, Atterberg Archive at Musik- och teaterarkiv Gäddviken, Statens Musikverk.

Letter from Fritz Tutenberg to Kurt Atterberg, 22nd November 1947. Signature ATP 6022, Atterberg Archive at Musik- och teaterarkiv Gäddviken, Statens Musikverk.

[1] All modifications in the other symphonies were made before they were published.

[2] Concerning the fourth symphony only the revisions of the scherzo movement are discussed (Hedwall 1983 p. 252, Jacobsson 1985 p. 204). The revision of the fifth symphony is briefly mentioned only in Jacobsson 1985 p. 205. The revisions of the seventh symphony are mentioned in literature, but not discussed, concerning content and consequences (e.g. Connor 1977 p. 152).

[3] Berg’s result of the wager was his Symphony No. 4 Pezzo sinfonico. But because it was two minutes too long, he had to pay a fine of 20 SEK. (Hedwall 1983 p. 261)

[4] ‘[…] hade aldrig varit riktig [sic] nöjd med stycket, ty scherzot hade bara blivit en liten kort snutt […].’ Translation of the Swedish and German quotations by the author.

[5] In Finkel 2013 p. 165f. the author confused them with Breitkopf & Härtel. They also had their headquarters in Leipzig and were destroyed at the same day.

[6] Note from the publisher to the author on 8th January 2014. In his memoirs Atterberg misdated the destruction to December 1944 (Atterberg vol. 6 p. 254).

[7] ‘Jag hade fått meddelande från Leipzig om att mina samlade tryckte verk hade lockat bomber till sig, så att bl.a. min Sinfonia Piccola företagit en himmelsfärd […].’

[8] Date on the last page of the published score, which is a facsimile of the autograph.

[9] Atterberg, Kurt: Scherzo from Sinfonia piccola (Revised version), sketches (No signature). Musik- och teaterbiblioteket Stockholm, Statens Musikverk.

[10] It is not known when Atterberg received the message from Leuckart. Strangely the whole correspondence with his publishers does not exist in the composer’s extensive collection of letters (About 10 000 letters. Musik- och teaterarkiv Gäddviken, Statens Musikverk).

[11] The score was written between 14th May and 19th December 1944. (Dates in the published autograph), but in March Atterberg already made preliminary studies for his eighth symphony (Atterberg vol. 6 p. 211).

[12] ‘Jag skall skicka honom ett nytt d.v.s. förlängt scherzo till denna symfoni, av vilken jag planerar en ny upplaga, emedan den gamla blivit förstörd i Leipzig.’ Letter from Kurt Atterberg to Fritz Tutenberg, 31st August 1947.

[13] See also Jacobsson 1985 p. 204.

[14] ‘Men scherzot är alltid ännu alltför kort. Det verkar, som om hälvten [sic] av materialet gick förlorad vid resan från Stockholm till Homburg.’ Letter from Fritz Tutenberg to Kurt Atterberg, 22nd November 1947.

[15] ‘För övrigt är det nya partituret tämligen oförändrat. Jag har lagt till ett par bastoner i harpan i den långsamma satsen, några par ställen, som “ropar efter harpa”. Och i slutet på finalen har jag kapat ett par takter, som var besvärliga ur samspelssynpunkt.’ In her dissertation about the symphonies the author regrettably could only consider the scherzo.

[16] SOR, founded in 1928, was an organisation of orchestras where amateurs played together with professional musicians. Many Swedish composers adapted and facilitated their compositions for amateur orchestras during that time.

[17] The score’s facsimile shows that a different pen was used for the ad libitum marks.

[18] Renamed in Skellefteå Symfoniorkester in 2010.

[19] ‘Ich werde diese Gelegenheit benutzen um Ihnen ein etwas verändertes Scherzo zu meiner Sinfonia Piccola zu senden, mit der Bitte dasselbe anstatt des gedruckten zu spielen.’ Letter from Kurt Atterberg to Otto Schubert, 2nd September 1947.

[20] Radioorkestern, cond. Sten Frykberg. Radio recording from 21st June 1956 (Archive of Sveriges Radio, Signature M A 56/2166). The new added development and recapitulation of the trio can be heard between 00’47’’ and 2’15’’. It is interesting that Frykberg later made two records, where he instead used the original score from 1918 (see next footnote).

[21] Recordings of the first version can be recognized in the scherzo, where in b. 51 instead of a development the polska of the trio is followed immediately by the recapitulation of the scherzo (compare Table 1), for example in the newest recording: Göteborgs Symfoniorkester, cond. Neeme Järvi. Year of recording 2012 (Chandos CHS A 5116), third movement at 0’54’’. Another indication for the use of the original version is the little wind solo at the end of the final movement (bb. 322‑325). In Järvi’s recording it can be heard at 5’13’’. That also applies to the following recordings: Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt, cond. Ari Rasilainen. Year of recording 1998 (cpo 999 639‑2). Norrköpings Symfoniorkester, cond. Sten Frykberg. Year of recording 1976 (Sterling CDS 1010‑2). Sveriges Radios symfoniorkester, cond. Sten Frykberg. Radio recording from 20th October 1970 (Archive of Sveriges Radio, Signature 5451‑70/1432).

[22] Notes from Leuckart and Breitkopf & Härtel to the author on 2nd and 8th January 2014.

[23] The revised symphony and the separate scherzo are indeed registered in the catalogue of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek for Breitkopf & Härtel, but during the author’s research, their department for hire material only found the 1918 version.

[24] Date on the last page of the published score (facsimile of the autograph).

[25] The published score is a facsimile of Atterberg’s autograph.

[26] Like the original version it is a facsimile of the composer’s manuscript.

[27] Letter from Kurt Atterberg to Sven Kruckenberg (Konserthuset Göteborg), 8th September 1970.

[28] ‘[…] det nya symfonimaterialet med däri gjorda ändringar’. Letter from Kurt Atterberg to Natanael Broman, 27th October 1947.

[29] Letter from Kurt Atterberg to the librarian of the Göteborgs Orkesterförening, 21st November 1946.

[30] Foreword of the revised score. It is written in German, English and French, but not in Swedish.

[31] In the 8th symphony trombones 1 and 2 are ad lib., in the 4th symphony (Version 1945) trombone 1 is ad lib.

[32] In case the heckelphone is not available, Atterberg divides up its part on cor anglais and bassoon.

[33] Fixed bell which is normally struck with a hammer.

[34] This concerns the bars 718 to 752 and the bars 831 to 856.

[35] The lower brass is doubling the wood winds and horns.

[36]An exception is the radio recording by Sixten Eckerberg and Göteborgs Symfoniker from 4th May 1960 (Archive of Sveriges Radio, Signature MO 60/293). As mentioned above they already performed the revised version in December 1946.

[37] Göteborgs Symfoniorkester, cond. Neeme Järvi. Year of recording 2014 (Chandos CHS A 5154).

[38] Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt, cond. Ari Rasilainen. Year of recording 2000 (cpo 999 565-2). One reference for the use of the original score is the climax of the third movement. It can be heard in the version which is shown in example 1 (at 11’34’’, compare with the revised version in Westerberg’s recording at 11’29’’). Another example in Rasilainen’s recording is the use of percussion in b. 625. It can be heard in the original succession triangle–timbre–cymbal–bass drum instead of the new version with triangle–cymbal–clash cymbals–bass drum (at 5’55’’).

[39] Stockholms Filharmoniska Orkester, cond. Stig Westerberg. Year of recording 1992 (Musica Sveciae MSCD 620). The tuba part of the original score can be heard from 10’59’’ until 11’29’’. Here Westerberg changes to the revised score as shown in example 2.

[40] Letter from Hermann Abendroth to Kurt Atterberg, 18th February 1943.

[41] ‘[…] dels för lång, dels alltför svårgestaltad […], trots att det fanns en hel del verkningsfula [sic] delar i den.’

[42] The fourth movement was found separately at Breitkopf & Härtel. A complete score in four movements, which is part of Atterberg’s inheritance, exists at Musik- och teaterbiblioteket Stockholm, Statens Musikverk.

[43] For a discussion about the chronology of the revision see: Finkel 2013, p. 275‑276.

[44] Unfortunately there are no historical recordings of the four movement version available in the radio archives of Sweden and Germany.

[45] There are no existing historical or recent recordings of the Vittorioso, both as separate piece and as part of the revised 7th symphony.

[46] ‘Die beiden Finale in diesen Werken haben mir aber Kummer gemacht. […] Aber die gestrichnen [sic] Teilen [sic] enthielt so viel von meiner besten Musik, dass ich gerne etwas davon machen möchte. Nach dem Beispiel von u. a. Beethoven und Reger habde [sic] ich mich entschlossen aus Teilen von den gestrischenen [sic] Finalen ein neues, kurzes Werk zu schaffen. Es wurde aber eine schwierige kompositorische Arbeit.’ Letter from Kurt Atterberg to Rolf Agop, 7th January 1963. Agop conducted the premiere of the new work Vittorioso on 25th May 1963.

[47] ‘[…] kan användas som avsluting – om så önskas – på såväl min 7. symfoni, som på mina Tre nocturner ur “Fanal”.’ Underlining from Atterberg.

[48] ‘Om någon Kapellmästare skulle bli så hänförd av denna tresatsiga symfoni, så kan mitt opus 58 “Vittorioso” […] tjäna som en fjärde sats. Men jag tror, att den tresatsiga versionen är bäst.’ Both quotations also in Jacobsson 1985 p. 211.

[49] For more detailed analyses of both movements see Finkel pp. 293–300.

[50] A similar problem occurs in Atterberg’s Symphony No. 2, which originally had two movements. The composer added a third movement some months after the premiere.

[51] Recordings of the first movement as separate piece, including the aria, do not exist. The author also did not find any references to performances of this version.

[52] ‘[…] det får endast spelas, om denna sats, ›Drammatico‹ framföres ensam för sig.’

[53] ID number of Tre Nocturner. There are four nocturnes in the catalogue (ID number ACB25), but the deleted fourth nocturne was found in the box of the Tre Nocturner, but only in the form of orchestral parts.


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