August Lundh (1838−1916)


Lars August Lundh, born 2 July 1838 in Stockholm and died 14 July 1916 in Stockholm, was a music educationalist, church musician and composer. He taught music and played the organ on Södermalm and in the German Church. While his works include cantatas, orchestral works and a requiem, he mainly produced teaching material and anthologies of music for practical use. His song to the spring ‘Hör hur västanvinden susar’ remains part of the repertoire to this day.


Education and career

After two years of study, Stockholmer August Lundh took his organist’s degree at the Kungliga Musikaliska akademien (the Royal Swedish Academy of Music) in 1857, commencing soon thereafter on a long and significant career in music pedagogy on Södermalm in Stockholm. He taught music at Katarina lower secondary school from 1857 to 1906, and at the Stockholm elementary school teacher training college for women from 1865 to 1907; he was also engaged as a singing teacher at Maria elementary school from 1866. Between the years of 1869 and 1916 he served as organist at the German Church in Stockholm. The extant biographical material on Lundh reveals three marriages, the first of which with Emma Mathilda Nyqvist (b. 1829) produced three daughters.

The few surviving documents indicate an industrious, ambitious personality and an unremitting pursuer of respect for his work. He was appointed Director of Music in 1884, adding to his In sui memoriam medal, and subsequently awarded the Litteris et artibus badge of merit (1892) and made a knight of the Order of Vasa (1898). Even though the Musikaliska akademien seems to have demonstrated little interest in acknowledging the value of Lundh’s teaching material, he was voted in as an associate member in 1910 – recognition that was no doubt well served by the participation of such a luminary as Gustaf Mankell, the Academy’s professor of organ, in numerous performances of the composer’s liturgical music.

Writer of musical textbooks

August Lundh’s most important contribution to the music scene of his time is hardly to be sought in his individual compositions, but in an untiring production of musical teaching material for schools and the publication of several books of songs and chorales. No doubt his role as teacher at the training college for women contributed to the significant impact made by his books of sheet music and textbooks for the teaching of music.

The magnitude of his influence is, however, hard to judge. His work on harmony was the most talked about of his textbooks during his lifetime, and the fact that parts of it were reprinted as late as the 1940s testifies to its longevity. His song books and miscellaneous practical material for chorale performance were a natural point of convergence for his roles as publisher and composer. It is obvious that Lundh had a solid grounding in music theory, which he combined with a breadth of insight into the musical practices of school and church.


Minor pieces and songs

As a composer, August Lundh is also often closely associated with different kinds of utility music or occasional works. In his songs as well as his short, elementary piano pieces he demonstrates a sure hand and a consistent ability to capture effectively, albeit through simple means, different characters and moods. In his chamber music with piano, like Legend for violin, he allows himself a more richly expressive palette, even if an inserted hymn shows how close he sailed to a religious style of composition. Nocturne for piano is one of his most interesting pieces, and even boasts certain virtuosic tendencies. The delicate song to the spring ‘Hör hur västanvinden susar’ is the only one of Lundh’s compositions to have a living place in music today, a century after his death. Not only is it popular amongst Swedish choirs, it has also been cited, controversially, as the unacknowledged inspiration for singer Ulf Lundell’s famous ‘Öppna landskap’ from 1982; whatever the truth of this, the tonal content of the introduction to both songs is indeed identical.


Much of August Lundh’s liturgical music and festive cantatas grew out of his work at the training college. He composed a number of short sacred cantatas to texts from the Swedish hymnal, with an era-typical church-musical reception of attributes of the baroque liturgical style. Retained contrapuntal practice and elements of recitative co-exist here with a restrictive attitude towards a more advanced, modern idiom. In contrast, Lundh demonstrates – for example in Kantat till Gustaf Adolfs-festen – programme music ambitions in his simple yet effective attempt to depict in sound the fluctuating moods of anxiety, dejection, hope and valour during the Thirty Years’ War. Lundh enjoyed particular widespread acclaim with his cantata Svea, composed to Esaias Tegnér’s of the same name and performed in 1897 at King Oscar II’s silver jubilee.


Of all August Lundh’s surviving major compositions, his Requiem commands our especial interest for its scope and for being an example of how in a romantic era the forms of Catholic tradition gradually won acceptance, even within the setting of Swedish Lutheranism.  The work is a through-composed, ambitious setting of the traditional Latin text for four-part choir, with an orchestra comprising strings, woodwind, horns and trombones. The overall impression is one of a restrained solemnity that only occasionally gives way to greater expressive freedom of rhythm, melody and structure. A pervasive homophonic choral part without solo passages and thematic recycling between the movements help to enhance the impression of a concentrated, well-executed work, albeit without any real wealth of musical variation.

Jonas Lundblad © 2016
Trans. Neil Betteridge

Publications by the composer

Pedagogical material
Tonträffningsskola. Samlingar af övningar till begagnande vid sångundervisningen i seminarier, elementarläroverk och folkskolor, Stockholm, 1868.
Elementarlära i sång för skolor, Stockholm, 1870 (2nd ed. 1874).
Teoretisk-praktisk lärobok i sång för skolan
, Stockholm, 1884.
Om röstorganen: Bihang till Teoretisk-praktisk lärobok i sång för skolan, Stockholm, 1885.
Förberedande öfningar för orgel-harmonium, Stockholm, 1885.
Ny tonträffningskurs och skriföfningskurs i musikens elementer för skolor, Stockholm, 1898.
Ny kortfattad orgelharmonium-skola, Stockholm, 1898.
Handledning vid användandet af tabeller för sångundervisningen i folkskolan, Stockholm, 1901.
Harmonilära för seminarier och läroverk, 3rd ed. Stockholm, 1905.
Övningar i prima-vista-sångStockholm, 1908.
Ny praktisk pianoskola
, op. 81, Stockholm, year missing.
Lärobok i sång för skolan. Förra resp. senare kursen, Stockholm, year missing.
För folkskole-seminarier, för högre flickskolor och för den privata undervisningen de första vocalise-solfeggie-övningarna med lätt pianoackompagnemang, op. 96, Stockholm, 1913.

Song books (publisher)
Trestämmiga sånger för skolungdom
, vol. 1−4, Stockholm, 1859−64.
Fyrstämmiga sånger för skolungdom, vol. 1−3, Stockholm, 1863−65.
Trettio exercissånger för skolungdom, Stockholm, 1867.
Sångbibliothek för högre elementarläroverk, Stockholm, 1871.
Elementarläroverkens sångbok, vol. 1, Trestämmiga sånger, del 1−2, Stockholm, 1874, 1876.
Sångbok för folkskolan, Stockholm, 1872 (2nd ed. 1876).
Svenska folkvisor i not- och sifferskrift till folkskolornas tjänst, Stockholm, 1881.
Skolans koralsångbok, 1883.
Melodier m. acc. till småskolans sångbok, Stockholm, 1884.
Allmänna läroverkens sångbok, vol. 1−4, Stockholm, 1884−.
Kyrkochören. Samling af religiösa hymner för S.A.T.B. med acc. af orgel
, 1885.
Normalsångbok för svenska skolan, 1887.
Illustrerad sångbok för hem och skola, op. 70, Stockholm, 1898.
Damkören. Sånger för seminarier och därmed jämförliga läroverk, Stockholm, 1907.
Sång-album för skolan, kyrkan och hemmet, vol. 1−2, Stockholm, year missing.

Chorale books and collections for liturgical use (publisher and often also composer)
Organistens preludiebok, 1871.
Korta förspel till Svenska kyrkans koraler att begagnas vid gudstjenst och enskild andakt, Stockholm, 1876.
Allmänna läroverkens koralbok. 50 trestämmiga koraler efter J. C. F. Haeffner, 1884.
Trestämmig choralbok till begagnande vid seminarier, elementarläroverk, och folkskolor, samt för kyrkan och hemmet. Efter den svenska choralboken utarb
., Stockholm, 1886.
I Landskyrkan. Preludier och mindre utgångsstycken för orgel eller orgelharmonium, vol. 1−2, Stockholm, 1888−89. 
Melodi-album för orgelharmonium, vol. 1−3, Stockholm, 1899.
50 nya små preludier f. harm. eller orgel, vol. 1−2, op. 90 and 94.
200 lätta och korta preludier för orgel eller orgel-harmonium till begagnande vid den allmänna gudstjensten, 2 vol., Stockholm, year missing.
Marscher och utgångsstycken (pub.), in this one: Sorgmarsch [F minor], Stockholm, 1953 (new printing).
Musik för orgelharmonium, opus number missing, year missing.
Svenska koralboken arr. för orgelharmonium eller piano, Stockholm, year missing.


Nyström, Pia & Elmquist, Anne-Marie: Kungl. Musikaliska akademien: matrikel 1771−1995, Stockholm: Kungl. Musikaliska akademien, 1996.
Ström, Ottmar & Tobeck, Christina
: ‘Lundh, August’, in: Sohlmans musiklexikon, 2nd ed., vol. 4, Stockholm: Sohlman, 1977, p. 385.


Musik- och teatermuseet Stockholm, Riksarkivet, Musik- och teaterbiblioteket

Summary list of works

Orchestral works, vocal works with orchestra (Requiem, the cantata Svea), chamber music, piano music, organ music, songs (Hör hur västanvinden susar etc.), sacred choral music.

Collected works

Elegi for orchestra op. 85.
En lefnadssaga. Symphonic poem for orchestra op. 91, 1909.

Chamber music
Bön. Andante religioso for violin and piano or pump organ op. 62, 1893. Dedicated to Hugo Alfvén.
Legend for violin and piano op. 82, 1904.

Nocturne. Etude de salon pour piano op. 2, 1862.
I aftonens stillhet. Melodi for piano.
Tonbilder. Lätta, melodiska och instruktiva små stycken för piano. Stockholm, 1889.
Elegie for piano and pump organ, 1907.
Tonbilder. Lätta små stycken för piano, 1919.


Vid sorgehögtiden och Vid högtidsfesten samt Preludium G major in Organistens favoritalbum, vol. 1−2, pub. N.E. Anjou. 
Festspiel for organ, op. 53, 1886.
Preludium & fuga.

Songs and other vocal music
Songs for children with piano op. 12. Stockholm, 1869:  Book 1: 1. Till skolan, 2. Julen i kojan, 3. Gossen och fjärilen, 4. Förtröstan, 5. Jesper, Nickus och John Blund, 6. Vallflickan. Book 2: 1. Barnkammaren, 2. Gossen och flyttfoglarne, 3. Visa om solen, månen och planeterna, 4. Nannas gåfva, 5. Vårvisa, 6. Herrens omsorg.
Cantata for the celebration of Gustaf Adolf, mixed choir, solo, piano and organ op. 65, 1894.
Svea, cantata with orchestra (E. Tegnér), 1897.
Sånger from the weekly magazine Barnavännen för de små i hem och söndagsskola, voice and piano op. 69, 1897.
Fem små enkla sånger vid piano, 1898.
Ungmors visa, solo voice and piano, 1902.
Standar (V. Nauckhoff), bass and piano op. 88, 1908.
Cantat for the 150-year celebration of Timmermansorden (J. Rosenius). Tenor solo, men’s choir and piano op. 92b, 1911.
Hell, hell vårt land, av fädren ärfdt (K.A. Mellin), solo voice. [Also in arr. for mixed choir and men’s choir in Svenska nationalsånger, pub. J. Wibergh)].
Julen i Norden (Z. Topelius), voice and piano and 3 part choir ad lib.
Ljungblomman (Hedvig A.).
Längtan (Gds.).
Upp med fanan.
Vattendroppen (Hedvig A.).
Vårsång, ”Hör hur västanvinden susar” (text and melody).

Sacred choral music
Cantata (Psalm 27, v. 4-6), SATB with organ op. 33, 1878.
Lofsång. Cantata by J. O. Wallin for soli, women’s choir with organ (piano) op. 35.
Sorgkantat, SSA with organ, 1880.
Davids 23dje psalm. Church aria for baritone with piano or pump organ op. 39, 1883.
Afskedssång to the principal of Sandberg for solo, [women’s] choir with organ op. 44, 1884.
Requiem for mixed choir and large orchester, op. 50, 1888. Stockholm: Musikaliska konstföreningen, 1891.
Kristi födelse. For Christmas day, cantata, 1900.
Vid barnens första nattvardsgång, Motet, 1901.
”O Kindlein neugeboren”, Weihnachtslied in: Från tonernas värld. Musiktidningens Julnummer 1909.
Davids 130e psalm. Cantata for solo, quartet, mixed choir and piano op. 60, 2nd ed. 1913.
8 Geistliche lieder (Motets) für gemischten Chor, 1936: 1. Der 36e Psalm, op. 58, 2. Lobgesang, op. 63:1, 3. Pilgerlied, op. 63:3, 4. Liebe zu Gott, op. 63:4, 5. Weihnachtslied, op. 63:5, 6. O Tag des Herrn, op. 63:6, 7. Gottes Gnade, op. 64:1, 8. Das Gebet, op. 64:3.   
Am Charfreitag. Kantat für Soli und gemischten Chor [und Orgel] op. 66.
Herr, deine Güte reichet, Motette für gemischten Chor.
Nåden, Sv. ps. 163, 4, 5, 7 i Manschoiren, no. 99.

Works by August Lundh

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

Number of works: 4