Hugo Alfvén (1872-1960)

Duvans sång på liljekvist (Song of the dove)

Rudén no. 154

  • Year of composition: Publishing contract 1 June 1938
  • Work category: Male choir a cappella
  • Text author: Folk song
  • First performed: Uppsala 30 November 1938, Orphei Drängar, cond. Hugo Alfvén
  • Arrangement/revision: Arranged for tenor solo and male choir by Hugo Alfvén in 1938
  • Duration: Approx. 1-5 min

Solo voices/choir

Tenor solo, T.T.B.B.

Examples of printed editions

Stockholm 1938, CG 2989. Gehrmans kvartett-bibliotek, 174
Sångarförbundet, vol 5, no. 255. Stockholm 1948, CG 2989

  • Location autograph: Uppsala Universitetsbibliotek
  • Possible call no. and autograph comment: UUB VMhs 184:8b


Ternhag, Gunnar: Folkvisearrangemangen, in Hugo Alfvén − en vägvisare. Ternhag, Gunnar & Rudén, Jan Olof (eds). Hedemora 2003: Gidlunds, pp. 156−167.

Description of work

Andante F major 2/4

Work comment

One of Alfvén´s many folk song arrangements, composed in 1938. It is more correct to call them folk song adaptations, since the composer did not follow the original exactly. In this case a soloist sings the folk melody that Alfvén took from Swedish Folk-songs from Ancient Times. The choir supports and comments on the soloist, but also breaks up the distinct flow of the song.


Det sitter en duva på liljekvist
i midsommarstider
Hon sjunger så fagert om Jesu Krist
I himmelen är en stor glädje.
Hon sjunger och sjunger och sjunger alltså
i midsommarstider
”Det väntas en jungfru till himmelen i år”
I himmelen är en stor glädje.
Och jungfrun vart döder och lades på bår
i midsommarstider
Och jungfrur och tärnor krusa’ hennes hår
I himmelen är en stor glädje.
De lade den jungfrun i svartan mull
i midsommarstider
Och själva Gud Fader, han var henne huld
I himmelen är en stor glädje.

In English:
A dove sits so gently by lily blooms,
in Midsummer season.
She sings, oh so sweetly, of Jesus Christ,
exuberant joy up in heaven.
She sings, and she sings, and she sings even so,
in Midsummer season.
The angels predict a young girl will join this year,
exuberant joy up in heaven.
The maiden who perished, was placed on a bier,
in Midsummer season.
And friends of the family the burial prepares,
exuberant joy up in heaven.
They buried the sweet child in dark blackened soil,
in Midsummer season.
Our Lord in his Kingdom attended her soul,
exuberant joy up in heaven.

Translation: Annika Vallgren