Ture Rangström

Ture Rangström


• 1884 1947


One of Sweden's most favored composers of song, Ture Rangström left a number of works for voice and piano figuring prominently in the recital performances of celebrated Swedish singers. From Jussi Björling, Nicolai Gedda, Elisabeth Söderström, Kerstin Meyer, and Birgit Nilsson to later artists such as Anne-Sofie von Otter, Håkan Hagegård, Birgitta Svendén, and Solveig Kringelborn, Scandinavian singers brought Rangström's works before an international public. Aside from his important song literature, other aspects of the composer's career also demand attention: Rangström was a respected conductor, a critic of no small influence, and -- as founder of the Swedish Society of Composers in 1924 -- a capable organizer. After studying composition and taking beginning voice lessons in his native country, Rangström underwent further training as a composer and singer in Berlin. There he was also instructed in composition by Hans Pfitzner. He continued to study singing in Munich, gaining a technical grounding that made his songs vocally effective and also afforded him an ongoing part-time career as a singing teacher. To supplement his income further, he worked as a critic for four publications between 1907 and 1943. Rangström made his podium debut in 1915 and was thereafter regarded as a reliable conductor. For three years, beginning in 1922, he was principal conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. From 1930 to 1936, he served the Royal Swedish Opera in what would later be known as public relations. Although he had felt the pull of Impressionism, Rangström drew most heavily on Romanticism as it was manifested in his native Sweden. His early orchestral works, appearing after 1910, were in the form of symphonic poems (Dityramb, Ett midsommerstycke, and En höstsång). Later, he turned to symphonies, four in all, produced between 1914 and 1936. Aside from his songs, Rangström completed some other miscellaneous orchestral pieces, a few chamber works, some cantatas, and two operas, Kronbrüden (The Crown Bride) in 1915 and Medeltida (Middle Ages), completed in 1921. In his songs, however, Rangström is most truly himself. Whether he was influenced by theories positing that song arises from speech, or simply accepted them as confirmation of his own inner beliefs, the composer wrote songs of long-spanned melody placed comfortably on the text and pleasing, never tortured, harmonic movement.