Adolf Fredrik Lindroth (1824–1895)

Adolf Fredrik Lindroth, born in Stockholm 27 November 1824, died 29 June 1895. Joined the Royal Court Orchestra 1844−69. Violin teacher for the Royal Conservatory of Music in Stockholm 1868−71. Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music 1864. As violinist in the Royal Court Orchestra, conservatory teacher and chamber musician, he was a central figure of the Stockholm music scene in the late 1800s. He was also the composer of a number of solo, chamber and orchestral works, some of which became quite popular during his lifetime.

Adolf Fredrik Lindroth was the son of textile merchant Eric Lindroth, in whose manufactory the young Adolf laboured alongside his early violin studies before doing a brief stint in various clerical positions in the industry. Lindroth was eventually enrolled as a student at the Kungliga Musikaliska akademien (the Royal Swedish Academy of Music) in 1841, the same year as Eduard d’Aubert took up the post of violin teacher.

Lindroth was accepted into the Hovkapellet (the Royal Court Orchestra) as second violinist in 1844 and as first violinist in 1852. He resigned from the Hovkapellet in 1869. From 1868 to 1871, he was deputy teacher at the Musikkonservatoriet (the Royal Conservatory of Music) (having been nominated already in 1864 by Franz Berwald, whose letter to the Musikaliska akademien board dated 19 December drew its attention to an ‘appreciable degree of aesthetic cultivation’ in Lindroth). He became an associate of the Musikaliska akademien in 1850, a member in 1864, and subsequently a long-standing member of the academy’s teaching staff as well as its instrument custodian from 1891. From 1870 to 1871, Lindroth was on leave of absence from the conservatory due to residence in Vienna. He is named, alongside d’Aubert, Dente and others, in Prince Oscar’s ceremonial speech at the academy’s first centenary celebrations in 1871 as one of the talented musicians who, according to the prince, had contributed over the past decade to the status of the Hovkapellet as one of Europe’s leading orchestras.

Lindroth reaped great success as a soloist and quartet violinist in Stockholm, on provincial tours of Sweden and abroad. During the 1860s and 70s, he gave a number of subscribed chamber concerts with, amongst other musicians, Fritz Söderman and his former teacher and mentor d’Aubert. Contemporary sources are frustratingly sparse in their details of these concerts and of how his works were received.

Lindroth’s extant compositions are all related in one way or another to his instrument, the violin. However, they depart consistently from the mainstream of works by the so-called ‘virtuoso composers’ of the latter 19th century in disregarding the unilateral emphasis on ornamental and solo texture, and possess an orchestral texture that is much more motivically elaborate than many comparable works. For the violin concerto, piano reductions were also prepared of the orchestral part, including both a total orchestral abridgement and a piano movement based solely on the wind parts.

Five studies for violin, dedicated to d’Aubert, was one of the first publications of Musikaliska konstföreningen (the Swedish Art Music Society) and to date the only one in the violin etude genre. Judging by the existing printed copies, the collection of etudes reached a wide public, and, along with Lindroth’s Air varié, is one of the most purely violinistic in his oeuvre. The latter generally obeys established conventions in the gradual technical progressions of the variation genre, but there is no lack of original devices. Both the etudes and the variations piece reveal Lindroth’s famed technical finesse and are thus (as well as for other reasons) of great interest to the history of violin performance in Sweden. 

Andande and Bolero for violin and piano are arguably Lindroth’s most widely disseminated and, in his own time, performed works. The two pieces are clearly linked by motif and in the first there is a certain degree of motivic work in the piano part. Ludvig Norman thought that this work ‘surely proclaims a maturity that may not be attained without many years of study and exceptional powers of reflection’ and that ‘a certain popularity of style makes the composition even more enjoyable’.

The shorter string quartet in E-flat major is ably written with some interesting features to it, and here and there Lindroth’s interest in the violin can be detected in a first violin part that in terms of its distribution of themes and motifs is rather dominant. A string quartet that is possibly different to the one in E-flat major is known from the newspapers of the time, according to which it was composed in 1893 and premiered in 1894.

Lindroth was not a composer to embrace the tonal style of the early romantic period, which otherwise influenced much of the music being composed in late 19th century Sweden. In terms of style and tone idiom, his music is more reminiscent of Spohr and Mendelssohn.

Mattias Lundberg © 2013
Trans. Neil Betteridge

Bibliography

Ahnfelt, Arvid: Europas konstnärer, Stockholm: Lamm 1887, p. 324.
Berwald, Franz: Sämtliche Werke; Die Dokumente Seines Lebens, eds. Ingmar Bengtsson and Nils Castegren, main ed. Erling Lomnäs, Kassel: Bärenreiter 1979, p. 586.
Dahlgren, Fredrik August: Anteckningar om Stockholms theatrar: Förteckning öfver svenska skådespel uppförda på Stockholms teatrar 1737-1863 och Kongl. Theatrarnes personal 1773−1863 Stockholm: Norstedts 1866, p. 539.
Gillingstam, Hans (sign. HG-m): 'Lindroth, släkt', in: Svenskt biografiskt lexikon, Stockholm: Norstedts 1980−81, vol. XIII, p. 572.
Höijer, Leonard: Musik-Lexikon, Stockholm: Abraham Lundquist 1864, p. 260.
Kungl. Musikaliska akademien: Matrikel 1771−1995, Kungl. Musikaliska akademiens skriftserie 84, Stockholm: Kungl. Musikaliska akademien 1996, p. 81.
Mazérska qvartettsällskapet: Ett femtioårsminne 1849−1899, Stockholm: Haeggstrom 1899, p. 28.
Norman, Ludvig: Musikaliska uppsatser och kritiker, Stockholm: Gehrmans 1888, pp. 193−194.
Norlind, Tobias: Allmänt Musiklexikon, Stockholm: Wahlström och Widstrand 1916, vol. 2, p. 566.
−−−: Svensk musikhistoria , 2 ed., Stockholm: Wahlström och Widstrand, 1918 p. 293.
Norlind, Tobias och Emil Trobäck: Kungl. hovkapellets historia 1526−1926, Stockholm: Wahlström och Widstrand 1926.
Svensk Musiktidning, vol. 15, no. 13, 1895, p. 103.
Svenskt porträttgalleri XXI: Tonkonstnärer och sceniska artister, Adolf Lindgren and Nils Personne (eds). Stockholm: Tullberg 1897, p. 66 [portrait photography of Lindroth].

Summary list of works

1 violin concerto, chamber music (with at least one string quartet and a piece for violin and piano), Five studies for violin.