John Fernström (1897−1961)

John Axel Fernström, born in Ichang, China, on 6 December 1897, died in Lund, Sweden on 19 October 1961, was a violinist, composer and conductor. He studied at the Malmö Music Conservatory during 1913–15 and composition with Peder Gram in Copenhagen. In 1916 he was employed as a violinist in the Northwestern Skåne’s Orchestra Society in Helsingborg, but continued his violin studies with, among others, Issay Barmas in Berlin. He returned to Helsingborg in 1922 as a violinist and assistant conductor, continuing there until 1939. Beginning in 1939 he was a freelance conductor and composer in both Malmö and Lund and in 1948 he became municipal music director in Lund. Fernström was quite productive and composed art music within all genres. He became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 1953.

Life

Childhood and early music studies

John Fernström was born in the city of Ichang (Yichang), China – the second son of the missionary couple, Karl and Klara Fernström. There he attended the Swedish school established in the area for missionary children. In 1908 he was sent home to Sweden for schooling in Osby, graduating in the spring of 1913. His interest in music was prompted by his father, however it was not until the last two years in secondary school that he began to seriously consider a career in music. He played violin and was active in the formation of a school orchestra. In autumn of 1913 he enrolled in the Malmö Musikkonservatorium (the Malmö Academy of Music). After a couple of years, his violin teacher, Carl Nordberger, moved to Stockholm. Fernström then chose to study privately with Nordberger and broke off his studies in Malmö. Since this meant that he abandoned his plans of becoming a church musician, his parents withdrew their financial support. After nearly a year of lessons in Stockholm, Nordberger convinced him to apply for employment as a violinist in the Nordvästra Skånes Orkesterförening – NSO – (Northwestern Skåne’s Orchestra Society) in Helsingborg.

Fernström began playing with the NSO in the autumn of 1916. During those first years he had ambitions of becoming a soloist and therefore studied violin alongside his work in the orchestra, including with Carl Maull in Malmö and Max Schlüter in Copenhagen. From 1921 to 1922 he pursued violin lessons in Berlin under Issay Barmas. In the autumn of 1922 he returned to the NSO as an ensemble musician and also began taking composition lessons from the composer Peder Gram in Copenhagen – a contact he would maintain until 1930.

Violinist, manager and assistant conductor in Helsingborg

In 1923 Fernström married Dagmar Paulson. She was the sister of his friend, Gustaf Paulson who was the organist at Gustav Adolfskyrkan (Gustaf Adolf Church) in Helsingborg, but like Fernström, had the ambition of composing music. They both debuted as composers at a public concert in Helsingborg in 1925 where Fernström’s String Quartet no. 1 op. 6 and songs from op. 1 were performed. Fernström’s Intima miniatyrer op. 2 was performed in 1926 by the NSO at a so-called folk concert – these kinds of concerts had low ticket prices that the orchestra was obliged to offer under the rules for receiving state subsidies. The following year he became president of the musicians’ union for the Helsingborg region and the orchestra’s representative on the NSO’s board. In 1928, with the support of the musicians, he organized a Southern Swedish music festival in Helsingborg that was a huge success with both audiences and music critics. The same year he was able to convince the local section of the Arbetarnas bildningsförbund (ABF) – an adult education organization – to arrange music lectures illustrated with live music performed by the NSO, with himself as both the lecturer and conductor. The following year he took over as conductor for Lyran, a male workers’ chorus, a commitment he continued with into the 1940s. As with the other musicians in the NSO, Fernström was a seasonal employee, which meant that well into the 1930s he was forced to earn extra income as a restaurant musician.

From the end of the 1920s, Fernström was able to conduct several of the folk concerts organized by the NSO. His Symphony no. 3 ‘Exotica’ op. 15 was performed at such a concert in January 1929. Later that year he was able to, with the help of money secretly set aside by his wife, study conducting for about six months at the conservatory in the German town of Sondershausen. Upon returning to his hometown he sought, with support of ABF’s representative on the NSO’s board, the post of concertmaster. He did not receive the position, however, during the 1931−32 season he was able to conduct more of the folk concerts than before. In connection with the move into Helsingborg’s new concert hall in 1932 and at the suggestion of Fernström, the folk concerts were renamed study concerts and the target group shifted mainly toward youth. He received the job of manager, which included taking full responsibility for these concerts, while continuing as an orchestra violinist. The study concerts were a great success with the public, however when NSO’s economic situation eventually worsened partly due to increased costs of the locale, these concerts were among the activities that were cut.

Throughout the 1930s Fernström composed a long string of works. Many of these, such as Symphonic Variations op. 17, Symphony no. 4 op. 20, the serenade Den kapriciöse trubaduren op. 21, Clarinet Concerto op. 30 or Concerto for Viola op. 34 were directly composed for the number of musicians, as well as specific musicians who were part of the NSO – at that time the orchestra was comprised of between 25 and 27 musicians. When his wife suddenly and unexpectedly died in 1935 it paralyzed his creativity and it was more than a year before he regained his ability to compose. Symphony no. 6 op. 40. is one of the works he composed after his wife’s death.

In 1939 the NSO’s principle conductor, 71-year old Olof Lidner, declared himself ready to resign and the post was declared vacant. Fernström applied for the position, went through a conducting test for which he received high praise and won a vote of support from a majority of the musicians. Despite this, the orchestra’s board chose a musician from the outside, Sten Frykberg, as the new conductor. At the time the board had a preponderance of members who represented the city’s conservative bourgeois elite. The decisive factor for not choosing Fernström was probably his strong commitment to making sure that the orchestra’s music reached a more socially diversified audience.

Freelance conductor and full-time composer in Malmö

His defeat in the struggle for the position of conductor led Fernström to immediately resign his job in the NSO and move to Malmö where he had been promised the position of conductor for the Malmö radio orchestra. The agreement only gave him a half-time position for about a year. In order to cover his own and his two teenage daughters’ living expenses he was forced for a time to seek unemployment benefits. During the years that followed he took on conducting jobs including for Sydöstra Skånes Orkesterförening (Southeastern Skåne’s Orchestra Society) in Ystad, Lund’s female student choir, and as guest conductor in both Malmö as well as provincial towns. He also undertook the composition of cantatas for union celebrations in Malmö and completed ten such commissions during a ten-year period. His commitment to male choral singing remained strong; from the middle of the 1930s he was the conductor for the Skånska sångarförbundet (the Skåne choral society) and was drawn into the work of renewing the male choral repertoire that the song society managed at the national level. His ambitions are reflected in pieces including Six Songs for Men’s Choir op. 47. Moreover, during the 1940s he composed a long string of symphonies, solo concertos, smaller orchestral works and chamber works. Works from this time period include: the rhapsody Rao-nai-nais sånger op. 43, Concertino for Flute with a Small Orchestra and Female Choir op. 53, Songs of the Sea op. 62, Brass Quintet op. 59 and String Quartets nos. 4−6.

In the spring of 1943 Fernström’s Flute Concertino was performed by Stockholms konsertförenings orkester (the Stockholm Concert Society’s orchestra). The work was a great success and after the National Museum chamber orchestra’s performance one month later of Songs of the Sea for coloratura soprano and orchestra, his breakthrough on the national level was a fact. During the remainder of the 1940s up until 1953, Fernström’s works were played relatively frequently both in Stockholm and the provinces and were also spread via the radio. This acknowledgment motivated Fernström to compose a couple of large orchestral works such as Symphony no. 11 ‘Utan mask’ op. 77 and Symphony no. 12 op. 92. The large-scope Violin Concerto no. 2 op. 96 was also written during this period. Elements of twelve-tone technique in the latter two works testify to the fact that Fernström desired to jump into the modernist trends that were breaking into the music life of Stockholm.

Municipal music director in Lund

When in the autumn of 1943 Fernström became the conductor of Lund’s female student singers and a member of the Akademiska kapellet (the Royal Academic Orchestra) and Lunds orchesterförening (Lund’s Orchestral Society), he moved to Lund. He also became a teacher of musical instruments for students in the folk school that had been started several years earlier. Fernström’s contacts with the music scene in Malmö continued. Beginning in 1944 he was engaged as a composer for the Malmö stadsteater (the Malmö city theatre), which that year inaugurated a large theatre building (now the Malmö Opera). Fernström’s works for the stage include the saga-inspired ballet, Ni-Si-Pleng op. 87 the premier of which was planned for 1948 but was cancelled as the director of ballet and the author of the libretto were at loggerheads with one another. It was not until May of 1998 that the ballet received its premier at the opera house in Gothenborg.

Efforts in Lund to have music education in the folk schools led to the establishment of a municipal music school in 1948 with Fernström as its leader. Early on he launched the idea of a Nordiska ungdomsorkestern (Nordic Youth Orchestra) and, with backing from the municipality of Lund, Musikfrämjandet (Stockholm’s society for the promotion of music) and Föreningen Norden (the Nordic Association) founded one in 1951. The initiative was a huge success and, with Fernström as its conductor and leader, it became an important and influential network for young Scandinavian musicians. The Nordiska ungdomsorkestern is still active in Lund during two weeks every summer.

In 1953 Fernström was voted in as a member of the Kungliga Musikaliska akademien (the Royal Swedish Academy of Music). In the autumn of that year he suffered a heart attack. Failing health as well as his decreasing creative desire due to his perception of a growing mistrust of his musical language from, among others, critics within Stockholm’s modernist faction, caused him to cease composing. Instead he began to paint. He had a life-long interest in art – as a teenager he had chosen between being an artist or a musician – and during the 1940s he had begun to take part in evening courses at the Skånska målarskolan (Skåne’s painting school) in Malmö. He had his first art exhibition in 1954 in Lund. During the following years his interest in painting grew even more until, in 1957, he took a sabbatical from his job as municipal music leader for one year in order to commit himself to painting fulltime. His health, however, was failing and gradually deteriorated. After a heart attack in 1961 he never recovered. He died in October that same year.

Works

Fernström was an exceedingly productive composer and along the path of his 60-some years of life he succeeded in composing nearly 200 works of music. In addition he wrote poetry, was an accomplished painter and drawer, and held hundreds of lectures on music in all forms. He wrote compendiums on harmony, counterpoint, musical forms and orchestration. He published debate articles on the politics of music, gave private lessons in violin, music theory and composition, and not least of all, within many and varied educational contexts he stimulated thousands of people to enjoy the experience of both playing and listening music.

The musical works that he created cover almost all genres that art music had to offer during his lifetime. To a large extent he was an autodidact – the composition studies he wrote during his time with Peder Gram in Copenhagen during the 1920s were hardly regular and not particularly extensive. His own studies of the craft became all the more intense. Fernström’s industrious and self-driven studies can be seen as his way of compensating for his lack of formal education. In a letter from 1952 to the composer and music librarian Edvin Kallstenius, Fernström summarizes how he himself perceived the ‘personal style’ he had developed through the years:

My earliest compositions were aimed toward a fusion of impressionistically colored harmony with ideal classical forms. In later works I have striven more and more consciously after a synthesis of those streams of music from the last century that have enriched our tonal world. The symphonies are decidedly tonal while some chamber music is purely atonal.

It was this synthesis that did not resonate with the influential arbiters of the 1950s. Performances of Fernström’s works were very rare for many decades to come.

Beginning in the 1990s one can see a marked renewal of interest in Fernström’s music. The qualities in his music that now gained interest were the fine craftsmanship that permeates his composing and that can be seen in the distinctive musicality in the treatment of solo parts and an excellent mastery of orchestral sound. In many works intended for a wide audience, his music shows a contagious good mood. In music that caters to more discriminating listeners – such as the string quartets – it is rather a music that expresses gravity and pain, but also that captivates with its delicate and shimmering beauty.

Boel Lindberg © 2016
Trans. Jill Ann Johnson

Publications by the composer

‘Nordvästra Skånes Orkesterförening. En institution som börjar få tradition’, in: Skåne. Årsbok 1927, 219−223. Malmö: Sällskapet Skånes Årsbok, 1927.
‘Musikens fraseologi’, Musikern, vol. 21, no. 21, 1928, pp. 309−310.
‘Musiken som kulturfaktor. Sammandrag av föreläsning, hållen å A.B.F. i Hälsingborg av John Fernström’, Musikern, vol. 22, no. 5, 1929, pp. 60−62.
‘Musikens uttrycksmedel. Sammandrag av föreläsning, hållen i A.B.F. i Hälsingborg av John Fernström,’ Musikern, vol. 22, no. 15, 1929, pp. 202−204.
Dietrich Orgemester, Lund: Gleerups Bokförlag, 1937.
‘Om stilkänsla’, Musikvärlden, vol. 2, no. 1, 1946, pp. 6−8.
‘Confessiones, självbiografisk skiss’, Musikvärlden, vol. 2, no. 4, 1946, pp. 98−101.
‘Norskt och danskt i Brysselfinalen’, Svenska Dagbladet, 3 juli 1950.
Vår tids tonalitetsbegrepp: ett tillägg till varje harmonilära och varje kontrapunktlärobok, Stockholm: Gehrman, 1951.
De musikaliska formernas systematik, Stockholm: Gehrman, 1952.
Körmetodik, Stockholm: Gehrmans, 1952.
Svenska sångarförbundets ficksångbok för manskörer, Fernström, John (ed.), Stockholm: Gehrman, 1953.
‘Wienklassicismen som musikhistorisk stilart’, Sydsvenska Dagbladet, 18 Jan. 1955.
Jubals son och blodsarvinge. Självbiografiska anteckningar, Lund: C.W.K. Gleerup Bokförlag, 1967 (postum pub.).
Utan musik: dikter, selections by Jan Sigurd, Eslöv: Gondolin, 2005.

Bibliography







Anderberg, Thomas: ‘Tid för renässans?’, [journal] Musik, no. 2 1998, pp. 34−35.
Frid, Henry: ‘Kompositören John Fernström: hans skolminnen från Osby’, in: Årsbok/Osby hembygdsförening, 1998, pp. 51−60.
Lindberg, Boel: John Fernström och hans musik: en skrift om John Fernström med anledning av 100-års jubiléet av hans födelse, Kristianstad: Musik i Skåne, Kristianstad, 1997.
−−−: John Fernström, tonsättare i folkhemmets tid: en biografi, Lund: Arkiv förlag, 1997.
−−−: Mellan provins och parnass: John Fernström i svenskt musikliv, Lund: Arkiv förlag, diss., Lund University, 1997.
−−−: ‘Finkultur för folket. Folkkonserter i Helsingborg 1900−1932’, in: Eva Öhrström (ed.), Musiken, folket och bildningen, Linköping: Mimer, 1997, pp. 107−140.
−−−: ‘How Swedish music turned modern around 1950. Using Bourdieu's concepts ’field’ and ’capital’ to analyze changing cultural patterns’, lecture held at the Music Department, University of California Santa Barbara, April 24th, 1998 (available for download at http://www.boellindberg.se/).
−−−: ‘Kommentarer till: John Fernström: Symfoni no. 6, Concertino op. 52, Den kapriciöse trubaduren’, in: cd booklet, Symfoni no. 6; Concertino op. 52; Den kapriciöse trubaduren, Musica Sueciae, PSCD 706, 1999, pp. 4−8, 12−17.
Mårtensson, Jan: ‘John Fernström: Jubals son.’, in: Lundaprofiler under tusen år. Malmö: Sydsvenska Dagbladet, 1999, pp. 99−100.
Neiderud, Rikard: ‘Exotiska tonarter i John Fernströms stråkkvartetter: analys av kvartett no. 6 och 8’, C-level thesis in musicology, Lund University, 2000.
Norberg, Malin: Bravissimo! John Fernström och Sydöstra Skånes orkesterförening, C-level thesis in musicology, Lunds universitet, 1999.
Åstrand, Hans: ‘Konstmusiken 1920−45’, in: Musiken i Sverige, vol. 4, Leif Jonsson and Hans Åstrand (eds), Stockholm: Fischer & Co., 1994, pp. 310−365.

Summary list of works

3 operas (Achnaton, Isissystrarnas bröllop, Livet en dröm), incidental music (Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, etc.), orchestral works (12 symphonies, Symphonic Variations, etc.), solo concertos (2 violin concertos, viola concerto, cello concerto, clarinet concerto, bassoon concerto), works for voice and orchestra (8 cantantas, Mass, Stabat Mater, Requiem, etc.), works for song with orchestra (Songs of the Sea, etc.), chamber music (8 string quartets, wind quintet, Chaconne for Cello and Organ, Sonata da Chiesa for Violin and Organ, 3 sonatinas for 2 violins), works for piano, works for organ (Prelude and Fugue in A major etc.), songs and choral works.

Collected works

A great number of Fernström’s compositions are available as autographs on reproducible transparencies that are kept at STIM/Svensk Musik (see http://www.mic.se/avd/mic/prod/micv6.nsf/docsbycodename/aboutus). Some of his works are also available in printed form. A smaller number of autographs exist in ‘Samling Fernström’, at Lund University’s library in Lund. This collection also includes sketches and drafts of a significant number of the works that are stored at Svensk Musik. A chronological works list with information on year of composition can be found in Boel Lindberg, Mellan provins och parnass. John Fernström i svenskt musikliv, Lund: Arkiv förlag, 1997, pp. 308−317.

Operas
Echnaton/Achnaton, Opera in Three Acts op. 25a (M. Børup).
Isissystrarnas Bröllop, Lyric Episode in One Act/Three Tableaus for Soli, Women’s Choir, Men’s Choir and Orchestra op. 58a (V. von Heidenstam/A. Munck-Falk).
Livet en Dröm, Opera in Three Acts op. 83 (P. Calderon, trans. C. Berg). [The orchestration has only been completed for act 1.]

Incidental Music
Completed dramatic music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream op. 70a (W. Shakespeare).
Dramatic music for Niels Ebbesen op. 82b (K. Munck).
Music for Around the World in Eighty Days op. 71a (J. Verne).
Music for Hamlet, op. 82c (W. Shakespeare).
Genom Förtrollade Glasögon, music for a fairy play op. 75 (M. Åkerholm).
Music for The Taming of the Shrew (W. Shakespeare).
Dramatic music for The Merchant of Venice, op. 86a (W. Shakespeare).

Ballets
Ni-Si-Pleng, Ballet in Three Tableaus by C. Gustaf Kruuse af Verchou (based on the libretto by T. Kleen), op. 87a.
Korporal Tennsoldat på Vift, Ballet for Children (only the music has been preserved).

Symphonies
In Memoriam [Symphony No. 1] op. 4. [The work was withdrawn and destroyed by the composer.]
Symphony No. 2 op. 10.
Exotica, Symphonic Pictures of a Travelogue (Birger Mörner: Arafis tragiska år) [Symphony No. 2] op. 15. 
Symphony No. 4 op. 20.
Symphony No. 5 op. 27.
Symphony No. 6 op. 40.
Sinfonietta in Forma di Sonata da Chiesa [Symphony No. 7] op. 51 .
Amore Studiorum, Symphony for Large Orchestra [Symphony No. 8] op. 56.
Sinfonia Breve [Symphony No. 9] op. 60.
Symphonie Discrète [Symphony No. 10]. op. 65.
Symphony No. 11, Utan Mask, for Mixed Choir and Orchestra op. 77.
Symphony No. 12 op. 92.

Works for solo instrument and orchestra
Violin Concerto No. 1 op. 5.
Clarinet Concerto op. 30.
Chaconne for Cello and Orchestra G minor op. 31.
Concerto for Viola and Orchestra op. 34.
Concertino for Cello and Orchestra op. 49.
Concertino for Flute with a Small Orchestra and Women’s Choir op. 52.
Bassoon Concerto op. 80.
Violin Concerto No. 2 op. 95.
Romance in C-sharp Minor for Viola and Orchestra.

Suites for orchestra/string orchestra
Intima Miniatyrer, Suite for String Orchestra op. 2.
Variations, Passacaglia and Fugue on a Theme by Percy Buck op. 12.
Den Kapriciöse Trubaduren, Serenade in Four Movements for Chamber Orchestra op. 21.
Two Small Fugues for use at a public concert in Helsingborg 21 Sept. 1933.
Suite from the music for Isissystrarnas bröllop op. 58b.
Songs of the Sea, Symphonic Suite for Coloratura Soprano and String Quintet or String Orchestra op. 62.
Miniature Suite from complementary dramatic music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream op. 70b.
Suite from music for Around the World in Eighty Days op. 71b.
Norwegian Folk Melodies Arranged for Chamber Orchestra.
Suite No. 1 from dramatic music for The Merchant of Venice op. 86b.
Suite No. 2 from dramatic music for The Merchant of Venice op. 86c.
Suite No. 1 from music for the ballet Ni-Si-Pleng op. 87.
Four Swedish Folk Songs in arrangement for String Orchestra.






Orchestral works in one movement
Scanian Rhapsody op. 13.
Scanian Rhapsody op. 13, arr. for military orchestra.
Pastorale for Orchestra op. 16b.
Symphonic Variations op. 17.
Fragment, Pictures from a Film op. 24a.
Overture to the opera Achnaton op. 25b.
Celebratory Prelude for String Orchestra.
A Well-Known Melody in Many Variations [Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star], prepared for use at a public concert on 5 Dec. 1934.
Prèlude Solennel for String Orchestra op. 42.
Rao-nai-nais Sånger, Chinese Rhapsody op. 43.
Fanfares for the Inauguration of Malmö Stadsteater.
Allt Under Himlens Fäste, Swedish Folk Song, Arranged for Chamber Orchestra.
Sailor-Boy’s Dance, Arranged for Chamber Orchestra.
Pan Spelar for Recitative with Orchestra op. 74.
Symfonic Burlesque (Tokfan) [from Symphony No. 11: ‘Utan mask’, op. 77].
Symfonic Prologue for Large Orchestra, Concert Overture composed for the 25th anniversary of the Malmö Concert House Foundation in Jan. 1950 op. 88.
Ostinato for String Orchestra op. 94.
Celebratory Music for the Akademiska Föreningen’s inauguration of renovations on 3 Oct. 1953 op. 96.
March dedicated to the Kungl. Södra Skånska Infanteriregemente [Royal South Scanian Infantry Regiment]/C. G:son Schreiber/for military orchestra.

Chamber Music
String Quartets
String Quartet No. 1 E major op. 6.
String Quartet No. 2 G minor op. 9.
String Quartet No. 3 op. 23.
String Quartet No. 4 E-flat major op. 54.
String Quartet No. 5 op. 81a.
String Quartet No. 6 in the 7th romani scale on G op. 81b.
String Quartet No. 7 op. 91.
String Quartet No. 8 in dorian minor op. 93.






Other Chamber Music
Sonata for Piano op. 11.
Sonata for Violin and Cello op. 19.
Chaconne for Cello and Organ op. 31a.
Chaconne for Cello and Piano, G minor op. 31b.
Prelude and Fugue for Organ A major op. 35.
Little Suite for Piano op. 37.
Romance, E minor for violin and piano.
Sonata da Chiesa for Violin and Organ op. 41.
Sonatina for 2 Violins op. 45a.
Sonatina for 2 Violins op. 45b.
Suite for Cello and Piano op. 53.
Wind Quintet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon op. 59.
Little Serenade in Four Movements for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon and Cello op. 73.
Four Folk Melodies set for String Quartet op. 82a.
Sonatina No. 3 for 2 Violins op. 89.
Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello op. 90.
Three Croquis in G major for Flute, Clarinet and Strings.
Fyra Små Damer från Rokokon in a setting for string quartet.
Gamla Engelska Mästare set for string quartet.
Romance C-sharp Minor for vl., vl. obl., vlc., pf.
No title [March].
Rondo for Piano Trio.
No title [Piece for violin and piano].
Chanson Russe. Hommage a Tjajkovskij, for violin and piano.
Dorian Romance for Cello and Piano.
Menuett for Cello and Piano.
3 Small Piano Pieces.
Theme and Variations for Piano.
Crime Passionelle for Piano.
Djurgårdsnatt (Two Nocturnes) for Piano.

Choral Works
With soli and orchestra
Manhem for Solo Tenor and Solo Baritone, Men’s Choir and Orchestra op. 7 (E.G. Geijer).
Julhymn for Soloist, Choir and Orchestra op. 16a (E. Dahlgren).
Cantata for the inauguration of the organ and alterpiece in Helsingborg’s Gustav Adolf’s Church for Mixed Choir, Soli and Organ, op. 22 (E. Dahlgren).
Mass in C minor for Soli and Orchestra op. 26.
Stabat Mater for Two Solo Voices, Mixed Choir and String Orchestra op. 33b.               Den Omistliga Skatten, Cantata for Solo Baritone, Women’s Choir, Men’s Choir, Mixed Choir and Orchestra op. 57 (B. Malmberg).
Cantata for the 1942 Jubilee of the Socialdemokratiska Ungdomskrets [Swedish Social Democratic Youth League] for Recitation, Men’s Choir and Orchestra op. 61 (A. Fjellander).              
Mot Framtiden, Cantata for the 25-year Celebration of the Commerce Workers’ Section Mercur for Tenor, Recitation, Men’s Choir and Orchestra (A. Fjellander).
Så Sjöngo Skalderna för oss, Cantata for a Workers’ Organization for Solo Bass Baritone, Recitation, Men’s Choir and Orchestra (P. Lagerkvist, H. Blomberg, J. Kjellgren and H. Grundström).
Requiem for the Drowned, for Solo Tenor and Solo Soprano, Women’s Choir, Strings and Piano op. 66 (J. Edfelt).
Engelbrekt, for Tenor, Men’s Choir and Orchestra, op. 68 (K.G. Ossiannilsson).
Har du Hört det Tysta Tala – a Song for Sweden, for Solo Tenor, Men’s Choir and Orchestra, op. 69 (A. Munck-Falk).
Cantata for the 60th Anniversary of the Swedish Mine and Factory Workers’ Union Section 8 in Malmö (A. Uhlén).                 
Cantata for the 25th Anniversary of the ABF Union Local Section in Helsingborg op. 72 (C. Schill).
Cantata for the 1945 Anniversary of the Malmö Folkets Park for Large Archestra, 3 Soloists and Men’s Choir op. 76 (E. Rosberg).
Cantata for the 40th anniversary of the Swedish Commerce Workers’ Union for Solo Soprano, Men’s Choir, Women’s Choir, Mixed Choir and Orchestra (A. Fjellander).
Celebratory Cantata dedicated to the Kooperativa Klubben on its 20th anniversary for Solo Tenor, Men’s Choir and Piano (E. Rosberg).
Den Mödosamma Vägen, a Profane Oratorio dedicated to the Swedish Working Class. An arrangement and partial re-composition of some 10 previously composed anniversary cantatas, op. 85 (Axel Uhlén, Pär Lagerkvist et al.).

Mixed choir a cappella
En Ljusröd Blomma, for Mixed Choir a Cappella op. 82d (J Fernström).         
Till den Okända, in: Three Songs for Choir for Mixed Choir a Cappella op. 97a (H. Grundström)
Så Hårt Spänns Ingen Båge, in: Three Songs for Choir for Mixed Choir a Cappella op. 97b (P. Lagerkvist).
Då Sjungas Segersånger, in: Three Songs for Choir for Mixed Choir a Cappella op. 97c (P. Lagerkvist).
Dolce Far Niente, for Mixed Choir a Cappella (J. Fernström).     
Sjöman på Land, for Mixed Choir a Cappella (J. Fernström).
Go Down Mohsis, in: Arrangements of Three Negro Spirituals for Mixed Choir a Cappella
Deep River (Djupa Floden), in: Arrangements of Three Negro Spirituals for Mixed Choir a Cappella.
Lille David, in: Arrangements of Three Negro Spirituals for Mixed Choir a Cappella.

Men’s choir a cappella
Sångerna, for Men’s Choir op. 24b (C. Schill)
Det Slocknar Så Många Stjärnor, in: Two Songs for Men’s Choir op. 28a (P. Lagerkvist)
Kärleksstigen, in: Two Songs for Men’s Choir op. 28b (P. Lund)
Visan om Mathilda Magnet /En Paradisets Lilja/Liljan i Paradiset/ for Men’s Choir op. 32 (B. Bergman)
Dorian Wimpoles Sång om Englands Vägar, in: Songs from Chesterton’s The Flying Inn, for Men’s Choir op. 33a(a) (K.G. Chesterton).
Serenad för Lady Joan, in: Songs from Chesterton’s The Flying Inn, for Men’s Choir, op. 33a(b) (K.G. Chesterton).
Sången mot Sångerna, in: Songs from Chesterton’s The Flying Inn, for Men’s Choir op. 33a(c) (K.G. Chesterton).         
Lindelin, Seven Songs for Men’s Choir op. 48a (E.A. Karlfeldt).
Den Sköne Rosenblom, in: Seven Songs for Men’s Choir, op. 48b (E.A. Karlfeldt).
Pastoral − En herde − och Namnsdagsvisa, in: Seven Songs for Men’s Choir op. 48c (E.A. Karlfeldt).
Sista Resan, in: Seven Songs for Men’s Choir op. 48d (G. Jönsson).
Regnet och Grödan, in: Seven Songs for Men’s Choir op. 48e (G. Jönsson).
Vårregnet, in: Seven Songs for Men’s Choir op. 48f (G. Jönsson).
I Himlen, in: Seven Songs for Men’s Choir op. 48g (P. Sörman).
Tillägnan, in: Six Songs for Men’s Choir op. 47a (K.G. Ossiannilsson).
Fria Våra Vindar Gå, in: Six Songs for Men’s Choir op. 47b (K.G. Ossiannilsson).
Gack in o, Svensk, Bland Furorna, in: Six Songs for Men’s Choir op. 47c (K.G. Ossiannilsson).
Fjädern Jag Bar i min Hatt, in: Six Songs for Men’s Choir op. 47d (K.G. Ossiannilsson).
Blomman, in: Six Songs for Men’s Choir op. 47e (K.J. Jansson).
Som Palatsen i Österlanden, in: Six Songs for Men’s Choir op. 47f (K.G. Ossiannilsson).
Dolce Far Niente, for Men’s Choir a Cappella (J. Fernström).
Ödets Män, in: Five Songs for Men’s Choir op. 79a, (E. Åkesson).
Vårdagjämning, in: Five Songs for Men’s Choir op. 79b, (E. Åkesson).
Serenad, in: Five Songs for Men’s Choir op. 79c (E. Åkesson).
Nikanor, in: Five Songs for Men’s Choir op. 79d, (E. Åkesson).
Västersol över Ljungen, in: Five Songs for Men’s Choir op. 79e (E. Åkesson).

Women’s choir a cappella
Det Slocknar så Många Stjärnor, in: Two Songs for Men’s Choir op. 28a in arrangement for women’s choir (P. Lagerkvist).
Visan om Mathilda Magnet/En Paradisets Lilja/Liljan i Paradiset for Women’s Choir op. 32 (B. Bergman).
Den Sköne Rosenblom, in: Seven Songs for Men’s Choir, Version for Women’s Choir op. 48b (E.A. Karlfeldt).
Gack nu Moses, in: Three Negro Spirituals in Arrangement for Women’s Choir a Cappella.         
Deep river (Djupa floden), in: Three Negro Spirituals in Arrangement for Women’s Choir a Cappella.
Lille David, in: Three Negro Spirituals in Arrangement for Women’s Choir a Cappella.

Other vocal works
1 voice with piano
Begravningståget, De Mortuis, in: Three Songs op. 1 (P. Lagerkvist).
Stjärna Namn och Kors, De Mortuis, in: Three Songs op. 1 (C. Schill).
Beim Grab des Kindes, De Mortuis, in: Three Songs op.1 (J.L. Uhland).
Sida vid Sida Falla De, De Mortuis, in: Four Songs with Piano, op.1 (Anonymous).     
Bergsstigar, in: Six Songs with Piano (G. Ullman).
Blod, Sot och Tårar, in: Six Songs with Piano (P. Lagerkvist).
Japanskt, in: Exotisk Bukett, 3 Songs for Tenor [with piano] op. 3: 1 (H. Sköld).
En Persisk Dikt, in: Exotisk Bukett, 3 Songs for Tenor [with piano] op. 3: 2 (Mulla Rushdi Rustandari).
Främlingen Arafis Sång, en Natt Kring Wuvulu, in: Exotisk Bukett, 3 Songs for Tenor [with piano] op. 3: 3 (B. Mörner).
Nachtgesang, in: Two Songs for One Voice, Obbligato Violin and Piano op. 18a (J.W.v. Goethe).
Nu Sover Sorg, in: Two Songs for One Voice, Obbligato Violin/Cello and Piano op. 18b (N. Ferlin).
Fåglalåt, for Coloratura Soprano and Piano op. 29 (G. Fröding).
Är Jag Intill Döden Rrött, in: Two Songs with Piano op. 36a (H. Löwenhjelm).
Vaggvisa, in: Two Songs with Piano op. 36b (P. Lund).
I Himlen, in: Three Poems by Py Sörman, for Baritone, Mezzo-Soprano and Piano op. 39a.
Serenata, in: Three Poems by Py Sörman, for Baritone, Mezzo-Soprano and Piano op. 39b.
Skin, Sol, in: Three Poems by Py Sörman, for Baritone, Mezzo-Soprano and Piano op. 39c.
Vargalåt for Voice and Piano (T. Rangström).
Jag Hastar Bort, in: Two Songs for One Bass Voice with Piano op. 44a (C. Schill).
Avtagsvägen, in: Two Songs for One Bass Voice with Piano op. 44b (P. Sörman).
Välsignad Du som Allting Vet, in: Four Songs op. 46a.
Finns Det en Väg, in: Four Songs op. 46b (I. Björklund).     
Pastoral - En Herde- och Namnsdagsvisa, in: Four Songs op. 46c (E.A. Karlfeldt).
Avsked, in: Four Songs op. 46d (I. Björklund).
Moll, in: Nine Little Songs op. 50a (N. Ferlin).
Vilse, in: Nine Little Songs op. 50b (N. Ferlin).
Tre Dagar, in: Nine Little Songs op. 50c (N. Ferlin).
Det Finns så Många Gårdar, in: Nine Little Songs op. 50d (N. Ferlin).
I Stolta Städer, in: Nine Little Songs op. 50e (N. Ferlin).
Rolig Bror, in: Nine Little Songs op. 50f (N. Ferlin).
Guds Spelemän, in: Nine Little Songs op. 50g (N. Ferlin).
En Vandrande Pierrot, in: Nine Little Songs op. 50h (P. Sörman).
Min Broder Död, in: Nine Little Songs op. 50i (P. Sörman).
Söndagsresan, in: Four Songs op. 55a (G. Jönsson).
Flickan och Göken, in: Four Songs op. 55b (G. Jönsson).
Snödropparna, in: Four Songs op. 55c (G. Jönsson).
Kväll, in: Four Songs op. 55d (G. Jönsson).
Du, in: Six Songs op. 63a (B. Lindberg).
Klöver, in: Six Songs op. 63b (B. Lindberg).
Visa Klockan Tolv, in: Six Songs op. 63c (B. Lindberg).
Nymåne, in: Six Songs op. 63d (D. Stenberg).
Rokoko, in: Six Songs op. 63e (D. Stenberg).
Visa i Moll, in: Six Songs op. 63f (D. Stenberg).
Strandvialen, in: Two Songs op. 64a (E. Åkesson).
Några Steg, in: Two Songs op. 64b (E. Åkesson).
Vallfärd, in: Five Songs op. 78a (G. Bagger-Sjöbäck).
Du, in: Five Songs op. 78b (G. Bagger-Sjöbäck).
Vårsång, in: Five Songs op. 78c (G. Bagger-Sjöbäck).
När Sorg Vill Tvinga, in: Five Songs op. 78d (G. Bagger-Sjöbäck).
Vandringsvisa, in: Five Songs op. 78e (G. Bagger-Sjöbäck).
Bebådad ur en Silversky, in: Songs to Texts by Elof Åkesson from his Poetry Collection ‘Segling Efter Solen’ op. 84a.
När Ljuset Viker, in: Songs to Texts by Elof Åkesson from his Poetry Collection ‘Segling Efter Solen’, op. 84b.
Segling Efter Solen, in: Songs to Texts by Elof Åkesson from his Poetry Collection ‘Segling Efter Solen’ op. 84c.
Under den Gråaste Dag, in: Songs to Texts by Elof Åkesson from his Poetry Collection ‘Segling Efter Solen’ op. 84d.
Över Sommarslätten, in: Songs to Texts by Elof Åkesson from his Poetry Collection ‘Segling Efter Solen’ op. 84e.
En Sjöman, unaccompanied folk song.
Kärlekens Visa op. 98 (P. Lagerkvist).
O, Hjärta, Hjärta, Hvi Suckar Du (Anonymous).      
Marits Reggla (O. Stjerne).
Längtan Heter min Arvedel (E.A. Karlfeldt).
Marschvisa for Södra Skåningarna (Anonymous).

One voice and orchestra
Japanskt, in: Exotisk Bukett, 3 Songs with Orchestra op. 3:1 (H. Sköld).
En persisk dikt, in: Exotisk Bukett, 3 Songs with Orchestra op. 3:2 (Mulla Rushdi Rustandari).
Främlingen Arafis Sång, en Natt Kring Wuvulu, in: Exotisk Bukett, 3 Songs with Orchestra op. 3:3 (B. Mörner).
Fåglalåt, for Coloratura Soprano and Orchestra op. 29 (G. Fröding).
Avtagsvägen, Orchestrated Version of op. 44b (P. Sörman).
Välsignad Du som Allting Vet, Orchestrated Version of op. 46a (H. Grundström).
Avsked, Orchestrated Version of op. 46d (I. Björklund).
Det Finns så Många Gårdar, Orchestrated Version of op. 50d (N. Ferlin).
I Stolta Städer, Orchestrated Version of op. 50e (N. Ferlin).
En Vandrande Pierrot, Orchestrated Version of op. 50h (P. Sörman).
Flickan och Göken, Orchestrated Version of op. 55b (G. Jönsson).
Klöver, Version for String Orchestra of op. 63b (B. Lindberg).
Visa Klockan Tolv, Orchestrated Version of op. 63c (B. Lindberg).
Nymåne, Orchestrated Version of op. 63d (D. Stenberg).
Rokoko, Orchestrated Version of op. 63e (D. Stenberg).
Vårsång, Orchestrated Version of op. 78c (G. Bagger-Sjöbeck).
När Sorg Vill Tvinga, Orchestrated Version of op. 78d (G. Bagger-Sjöbeck).

Arrangements/orchestrations of other composers’ works
Instrumentation of Gavotte and Musette (J.S. Bach) for Chamber Orchestra.            
Prelude and Fugue (Dieterich Buxtehude) in Arrangement for Orchestra.
Instrumentation of Ballet Music from the Opera Alceste (C.W. Gluck) for Chamber Orchestra.
Aftonstämning (A. Körling/D. Fallström) Arranged for Voice and Orchestra.
En Speleman (A. Körling, also author of text) Arranged for Voice and Orchestra.
Instrumentation of Ballad from the Opera Kung Karls Jakt (F. Pacius) for Chamber Orchestra.
Hjärtat (G. Paulson/B. Bergman) Arranged for Voice and Orchestra.        
Gammal Kvarn (G. Paulson/M. Edlund) Arranged for Voice and String Orchestra.
Vallvisa (G. Paulson/R. Hagman) Arranged for Voice and String Orchestra.
Sång efter Skördeanden (W. Peterson–Berger/E.A. Karlfeldt) Arranged for Voice and Orchestra.
Ochestration of the Opera Gilgamesh (T. Rangström/E. Linde).
[Sommarskyar] Sju Miniatyrer (T. Rangström) Arranged for Orchestra. 
Korpen (A. Rasmuson/B. Gripenberg).
Röster i Mörkret (A. Rasmuson/B. Gripenberg).


Works by John Fernström

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

Number of works: 23