Frithiof Hertzman (1837-1910)


Fredrik Ludvig Frithiof Hertzman was born in Västra Ny near Motala in the region of Östergötland on 12 December 1837 and died, ‘after a long, debilitating illness’, on 4 September 1910 in Stockholm. He was a teacher and composer and later developed into a song and piano composer with an extensive creative output. Aside from songs and piano pieces he wrote only a small number of chamber music and orchestral works.

(Svenskt Porträttarkiv)

Frithiof Hertzman studied at the educational institution of the Kungliga Musikaliska akademien (the Royal Swedish Academy of Music) from 1854 to 1860. He was not particularly recognised by the music establishment, but some of his songs were performed and did receive ‘acclaim from audiences and critics’. He supported himself as a music teacher and piano tuner and for several decades was frequently engaged by, among others, the royal court (Oscar II and Gustav V). From 1889 until his death, he worked as a teacher at the Tomteboda institute for the blind in Solna parish outside of Stockholm, where he taught piano tuning.


Frithiof Hertzman wrote a small number of chamber music works that have made little impact. However, in 1889 the work Romans for violin and piano op. 24 is mentioned when it was performed by one of the era’s greatest violinists: ‘A beautiful romance by Herzman (sic) … was played by violinist Mr Aulin with a fine and warm execution’. Hertzman’s piano pieces encompass exclusively short, salon-centred genre pieces that are a few minutes long, with a level of difficulty that is quite appropriate for music making in the home. Several of these works have also been set for orchestra, chamber ensemble or organ. In relation to the different music making situations in the home, some of Hertzman’s songs have had, perhaps ironic, notes in the manuscript. The song, ‘Näckrosen’ is thus ‘a song for one, two or three female voices or for one tenor part with accompaniment for piano and violin or cello, together with harmonium (ad lib) … This piece can even be played as a duet for piano and harmonium (without song)’.

Vocal music dominates Frithiof Hertzman’s creative output. He wrote some thirty songs and about as many vocal quartets and choral pieces. Three collections with a total of a dozen songs were featured in print. Most of his works are, however, unpublished and unfortunately also undated − most likely they were composed from the end of the 1870s up until around 1908. He seems to have achieved his artistic peak during the years 1903−1905, at a time when the childless Hertzman became widowed and perhaps took solace in his creativity. It was also during this time that he wrote his songs to the texts by the Finnish-Swedish poet Emil von Qvanten (or Quanten) (1827−1903), who had lived in Stockholm since 1853 and was, among other things, a frequent music critic, but moved to Italy in the 1890s for health reasons. Qvanten’s poems themselves contain a palpable rhythm and musicality, which meant that, during this period, they were set to music by names such as Ivar Hallström, Ludvig Norman, August Söderman, Vilhelm Svedbom and Sigurd von Koch.

For his vocal quartets, Hertzman chose more freely among the texts. Here one can find sacred musical settings as well as drinking songs, along with poems including those of Erik Johan Stagnelius, Johan Ludvig Runeberg and Zacharias Topelius. It is difficult to trace coeval opinions of his music, however in Svensk Musiktidning (Swedish music journal) from 1892, one finds the following review: ‘The Allmänna sångföreningen [choir] sang a choral piece with organ by F. Hertzman, “Pilgrimernas bön vid Jerusalems portar”, a less significant composition’.

Frithiof Hertzman frequently composed texts with regular lines of verse, whose accentuations also create musical weight that often enhances the words. However, he also desired to give the songs and vocal quartets an overarching musical form, sometimes without support from the text. There might be, for instance, slow sarabands or quick mazurkas, with clear rhythmic motifs. A closeness to the inflections of folk music is clear in certain ballad-like songs such as ‘Jungfrun i det gröna’.

Stig Jacobsson © 2015
Trans. Jill Ann Johnson


Malmberg, Helge: 'Frithiof Hertzman', in: Sohlmans musiklexikon, vol. 3, Stockholm, 1976, p. 427.
Norlind, Tobias: 'Frithiof Hertzman', in: Allmänt Musiklexikon, vol. 1, p. 517 (Wahlström & Widstrand, Stockholm, 1927.


Musik- och teaterbiblioteket, Det Kongelige Bibliotek, Copenhagen.

Summary list of works

Piano music, choral pieces and songs, manuscripts in the Music and Theatre Library of Sweden, most undated.

Collected works

Fantasy piece for strings.
Festival march for large orchestra.
Serenade for string orchestra in G major.

Chamber music
Andante cantabile pour violon (ou Violoncello) avec accompagnemet de Orgue ou Piano op. 16.
Duettino. Romance for violin and violoncello with piano accompaniment in D major.
Elegy for violin and organ or piano.
Ida-vals for flute, violin, violoncello and piano, 1909.
La gondola, Etude pour le piano by Henselt op. 13, air for violin or violoncello with accompaniment of piano and harmonium.
Romance (Duettino) op. 24 in D major für Violoncell oder Violine, mit Begleitung von Orgel od. Piano.
Hungarian dance for violin and piano, 27 May 1905.

Piano music
Album leaf for piano or organ in B-flat major, 21 Oct.1906.
Album leaf (Aftonstämning) in E-flat major, 29 Jul. 1903.
Album leaf in F major, 17 Aug. 1907.
Allegro in D major.
Allegro moderato in C major, piano 4 hands.
Allegro vivace in E-flat major.
Andante grazioso in G major.
Anna waltz, 1903.
Funeral music (Sorgtoner med anledning af min hustrus död), 1903.
Farmer’s wedding march.
Elegy (Sorg-musik vid båren), 3 Mar. 1905.
Fantasy for orchestra. ‘Soluppgång vid stranden’. Arrangement for piano.
Festmarsch Ess-dur samt Fest-Polonaise med anledning af förmälningen i Karlsruhe (mellan Kgl. H. Kronprins Gustav och prinsessan Victoria av Baden) 1881.
Glitter (Rapsodi), 1 .ul- 1903.
Gunilla waltz. Op. 25.
Humoresque in E-flat major, 27 Aug. 1907.
Hägring (string orchestra) arr. for piano.
Ida-vals, 6 Apr. 1909. Also wedding music for flute, violin, violoncello and piano.
Idyll, 12 April 1907.
Impromptu (Rhapsodie).
Lied ohne Worte, 13 Mar. 1907.
Mazurka in C major.
Novellett, 8 Sep. 1908.
Ode, 20 May 1908.
Parade-march in E-flat major, 26 Oct. 1908.
Polka in F major.
Polka brillant in A-flat major.
Prelude in E-flat major, 1907.
Prelude in G major for piano or organ, 1 Oct. 1909.
Scherzando in F minor, 17 Jan. 1907.
Serenade in G major.
Funeral march in A minor.
Hungarian march, 27 May 1905.
Vals de salon in F major, 26 Jun. 1906.

Organ music
Adagio in G major.
Funeral music (Sorgtoner med anledning af min hustrus död), 1903.
Wedding march in E-flat major.
Elegy (Sorg-musik vid båren), organ (harmonium) or piano, 1905.
Festival march in E-flat major.
March in E-flat major.
Funeral march in A minor.

Aftonklockan (‘Jag mins’, C.D. af Wirsén), 1905.
Brikoll sång (‘När som lifvets morgon’, P.O. Bäckström) with organ and quartet accompaniment or sole organe, 1881.
De två kämparne (‘Der bodde två kämpar vid nordanfjell’, F. Hedberg) in A major, 1878.
Du är min ro (Z. Topelius) in C major, 1878.
En sörmlandsgosse (‘Jag är en sörmlandsgosse’, Gustaf Klingbom) from Eskilstuna-kurirens julnummer, 1908.
Erik den helige (‘Och Erik, Svea konung’, E. v. Qvanten), 1904.
Grötlunken (‘Kom nu flickor’) musical joke.
Hennes skål! (‘Låt oss för henne dricka’, freely after Thomas Moore) in A-flat major.
I skogen.
Church aria no. 2 (‘Af hjertat hafver jag dig kär’, L. Laurinus), Ps. 221.
Mitt hjärta får ej ro (Emil v Qvanten), 1904.
Morgonen (‘Solen några purpurdroppar’, J.L. Runeberg) in F major.
Morgonrodnadens sång (‘När tyst i skyn’, E. v. Qvanten) in Eföat major,1903.
Mötet (‘Det var så ljuft’, E. v. Qvanten), 1904.
Neckrosen (‘Tyst hvilar vattenrosen’, E. Geibel). Song for one, two or three female voices or tenor part with accompaniment of piano and violin of violoncello and harmonium, C major.
New songs, op. 5, Lundquists förlag, 1874 1. På ängen (‘Hur skön du lilla blomma är’, V.E. Norén) in D major, 2. Jungfrun i det gröna (‘Det var en gång en jungfru, hon satt i rosengård’, B.E. Malmström) in A major, 3. Förgängligt (‘Ack, när jag ser en blick så öm’, Th. Moore) in D major.
Serenade (‘Solen slumrar’, E. v. Qvanten), 1904.
Six songs (‘Till Fredrika Stenhammar’) Hirsch förlag n.d. (1. Höstvisa (‘Se! Nakna alla lundar stå’, B.E. Malmström) in E minor, 2. Blomman (‘Dofta, dofta blomman min’, B.E. Malmström) in G major, 3. Perlan (‘Det var en gång så grön en ö’, B.E. Malmström) in D-flat major, 4. Kom tillbaka (‘Bjud ditt hjerta här att stanna’, B.E. Malmström) in G major, 5. När tanken waknat (‘Ännu mitt öga vill beskåda’, words by C.) in D major, 6. Stafkarlen (‘Från hemmets tomter fjärran’, B.E. Malmström) in G minor.
Sjung (‘Sjung medan blodet’, text from a Finish calender), 1904.
Som en fläkt på stilla vatten (K.A. Melin), 1904.
Sov i ro (‘Solen ljus’).
Sången (‘Klinga, stilla sång’, E. v. Qvanten), 1904.
En sörmlandsgosse.
Three songs op. 4, Hirsch förlag, 1869. 1. Flickans födelsedag (‘Mild belyser dagens gud’, B.E. Malmström) in G major, 2. Sommarens sista ros (‘Se blommande allena’, Th. Moore) in D major, 3. Ett minne (‘Som en stråle sitt sken öfver vågorna slår’, Th. Moore) in F minor.
Ögonblick (‘Ett ögonblick’, E. v. Qvanten), 1904.

Vocal quartets
Aftonbön (‘Hur herlig är ej kvällen’, E. v. Qvanten). Accompaniment ad lib.
Aftontoner (‘Purpurstänkta molnen simmar’, E. v. Qvanten).
Aftontoner (‘Winden hviskar’, E. v. Qvanten).
Andehviskning (‘Hvi stirrar du med tårar’, E.J. Stagnelius).
Dalen (‘Din stillhet rörd’, E.J. Stagnelius).
Dryckessång (‘Skänk i den gyllene pokal’, E. Wallmark), op. 23. (‘Tilldelad 2a priset 1886’).
Erik den helige (‘Och Erik Svea konung’, E. v. Qvanten), 14 Aug. 1904.
Fiskarsång på hafvet (‘Somna du min våg’, Z. Topelius).
För nattvardsungdom (‘För dig jag träder fram’, J.O. Wallin) Dav. 25.
Höstsuck (‘Det är icke värdt att lyssna’, L.W. Löhman).
I månens skimmer (‘Öfver nejden skönhet glimmar’, E. v. Qvanten).
Kyrkoaria (‘Gud! Fullkomlighetens källa’) Psalm 219.
Minnessång (‘Hvad äro några svunna år’) for solo quartet and choir with piano/harmonium.
Morgonen (‘Solen några purpurdroppar’, J.L. Runeberg).
Morgonrodnadens sång (‘När tyst i skyn’, E. v. Qvanten).
Naturens skönhet (‘Jag stod vid klippan’, Z. Topelius).
Om qvällen (‘Hur ljuf den stund’, Th. Moore).
Pilgrimernas bön vid Jerusalems portar (‘Vår vandrings mål’, Nicander).
Psalm 202 (‘O Gud! som äfven räckt’).
Psalm 219 (‘Gud! fullkomlighetens källa’).
På böndagar (‘Ära och pris vare Herran Gud’), augusti 1891.
På vakt! (‘På vakt, på vakt! I svenske män’, K.A. Melin). (‘Försök till nationalsång’)
Serenade (‘O! säg du natt som dig sänker’).
Serenade (‘Solen slumrar’, E. v. Qvanten), 17 May 1904.
Solnedgång (‘Sakta du sjunker’, F. Hedberg).
Sommarqvällen [Version I and II, 22 Sep. 1903] (‘Sig aftonsvalkan sprider’, E. Sehlstedt).
Sof i ro! (‘Solen ljus ej mera lyser’).
Styrbjörn Starke (‘Styrbjörn Starke drog i härnadståg’, K.A. Melin). Baritone solo with choir.
Sångare-marsch (‘Framåt tappre gossar!’).
Till musiken (‘När lifvets skumma dalar’).
Tvenne Fosterländska Sånger för mansröster. ‘Tillerkänd 2a priset’ 1. Soldatkör (‘Framåt, framåt’, E. Wallmark), 2. Fosterlandet (‘Du ärorika fosterland’, B.E. Malmström).
Varer svenske! (‘Unga släkte, du som träder stolt en dag’, D. Fallström).
Vid bålen (‘Goda gosse glaset töm’, E. Sehlstedt).
Vårsång (‘En engel är’, E.J. Stagnelius).