Wilhelm Peterson-Berger (1867−1942)


Olof Wilhelm Peterson-Berger was born on 27 February 1867 in Ullånger. After studying at Burträsk elementary school in 1885 he took his school exams in Umeå, which he followed with an organist diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Stockholm in 1889. He then studied for a brief while in Dresden, and spent periods teaching music there and in Umeå. From 1896 to 1930 he was Dagens Nyheter’s lead music critic (on leave between 1908 and 1910 and again in 1920/21). From 1930 until his death in Östersund on 3 December 1942 he lived at Sommarhagen on Frösön. Not only was he one of the most popularly appreciated and widely performed Swedish composers of his time, he was also acknowledged as a culture philosopher and feared music critic. Became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 1921.

Wilhelm Peterson-Berger.

Wilhelm Peterson-Berger circa 1900.(Musikverket).


Childhood and studies

Both Peterson-Berger’s parents came from Nössemark in Dalsland and were distant relatives. His mother, Wilhelmina Berger, was the upper-class girl from the Bälnäs estate at Stora Le, his father Olof Peterson the son of a tenant farmer. From his academically gifted father, who earned his school diplomas as a privately coached student in Lund, Wilhelm inherited a sharp mind, a rhetorical bent and an interest in languages, while his mother’s side offered an abundance of literary and musical talent, including the Bågenholm family of folk musicians.

Peterson-Berger grew up in Västerbotten, where his father worked as a surveyor. He was a precocious and especially gifted child, who received systematic teaching in music from his mother from the age of six, and soon began to experiment at the piano with his own tunes and accompaniments. After two years in the village school, where he found the formal demands on spelling and rote learning of the Catechism hard to accept, he was taught at home by a tutor to prepare him for the grammar school in Umeå. He was enrolled there at the relatively young age of 11, and left in 1885 with excellent grades in the classics. His music teaching was not particularly demanding and he soon quit his violin lessons to concentrate solely on piano.

Although his parents wanted him to be a medical doctor, he managed to convince them to let him study at the Musikkonservatoriet (the Royal Conservatory of Music) in Stockholm, where he was admitted in 1886 after a term of private tuition in the theory of harmony and composition for Oscar Bolander. The organist diploma he earned in 1889 he regarded primarily as something to fall back on if he failed to make a living as a composer, which was his dream. His teachers − Aron Bergenson in harmony and Joseph Dente in composition − he mentions without enthusiasm, the latter having criticised most of the works he presented. Despite this, he continued to compose under his own steam during his conservatory years, penning several violin pieces (including a violin sonata in E minor, catalogued as op. 1) and solo songs like the oft-performed Irmelin Rose and Aftonstämning. His first composition to come out in print was Valse burlesque for piano (1888).

During his terms in Stockholm, Peterson-Berger socialised with the slightly elder sons and daughters of the Jämtland priestly families of Tirén (Oviken) and Arbman (Sunne), who would have a profound effect on his intellectual, social and artistic maturation. In the summer of 1889 he was invited to visit them in Jämtland for the first time, an occasion that was life-changing on a number of levels. He was enthralled by the magnificence of the natural surroundings, and spent almost every summer thenceforth on Frösön composing and taking extensive mountain hikes in the company of others, often friends from Stockholm’s music and theatre circles; this he would continue to do for much of his life. A couple of motifs that were later used in the opera Arnljot (‘Arnljots hälsningssång’ and ‘Jämtlandsmotivet’) were sketched out during this first visit. The Jämtland landscape with its impressive mountainous terrain became the hub of the synthesis of life, work, house, home and history that he systematically erected and cultivated throughout his life.


"Fjällkvartetten" with Peterson-Berger standing. Many of Peterson-Berger's early songs were written as work songs meant to accompany moutain hikes. (Photo 1891, belonging to Harald Tirén).



Dissatisfied with the inferior lessons in composition he was receiving at the time in Stockholm, Peterson-Berger, like most of his contemporaries, travelled abroad to continue his studies − but not to Leipzig, as was commonly the case, but to Dresden, attracted chiefly by its reputation as a centre of culture. His studies in composition and instrumentation for royal court organist Edmund Kretschmer lasted no more than five months during the 1889/90 winter and made no impression to speak of upon him; however, Kretschmer arranged for his first orchestral work Orientalisk dans to be performed at a student evening in 1890. The flourishing musical scene in Dresden would now play a greater part in his future than Kretschmer’s teaching in strict form, counterpoint and orchestration, and it was here that his extensive knowledge of international repertoires, conductors and soloists was laid down. In style as much as content, the accounts he gives of concerts and operas in his letters home are already fully-formed reviews.

Back in Umeå, Peterson-Berger did some supply work as a music teacher between 1890 and 92, and spent a year as a conductor for the city’s music society, enabling him to perform his own works, such as the new choral songs ‘Stemning’ and ‘Guldfågel’ as well as the larger-scale choral pieces by the likes of Edvard Grieg, Niels W. Gade and Peter Heise that he had arranged specifically for the society’s ensembles. He was then offered different permanent positions, at the seminary and the grammar school, as organist for Umeå City Church or as a conductor for the regiment − assuming he was interested. However, he found teaching uninspiring and had neither the aptitude nor patience to be an orchestra leader. It was at this time that he also sketched out his first symphony (Baneret) and completed some of his most popular solo songs, Fyra visor i svensk folkton (1890, printed 1893).

For almost two academic years afterwards and with long summer breaks, he accepted an offer as a teacher of piano and music theory at Dresdner Musikschule between 1892 and 94 to earn his daily bread. The position was not particularly onerous, as most of his pupils were beginners, and instead he busied himself with composing. Many of his works from this period in Dresden make reference to his mother country and a longing for home, such as the male choral cycle En fjällfärd (to his own lyrics, 1893) and the choral songs ‘I furuskogen’ and ‘Aften ved fjorden’. He showed a few opera drafts, probably from Ran, to opera director Ernst von Schuch, who advised him to complete them at his own pace. Encouraged by this, he made his mind up to leave Dresden in order to concentrate exclusively on composition, taking with him what was already a rich catalogue of works: two dozen or so solo songs, most of the songs for mixed choir, a violin sonata, the first piano collections Tonmålningar and Damernas album and several shorter piano pieces.

Peterson-Berger 1910.

Wilhelm Peterson-Berger 1910. (Musikverket).


Breakthrough as a composer and critic

After another six years, alternating between his childhood home in Umeå and his friends on Frösön, he moved in the autumn of 1895 to Stockholm to give private lessons and compose. Already in the January of the following year, he was employed on the strength of a test article as the principal music critic for the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, where he stayed until the spring of 1930.  The job that he first considered a temporary financial expedient at once gave him detailed and valuable information about the Stockholm music scene. The paper’s chief editor, Nils Vult von Steijern, was a devout Wagnerite and Goethe admirer and served for a time as Peterson-Berger’s mentor, introducing Peterson-Berger via his salons to the city’s inner cultural circles and giving him his whole-hearted support. Peterson-Berger soon became the newspaper’s most widely read critic, and it was soon noted that all the debates and controversies in which he was involved boosted sales.

1896 also saw Peterson-Berger’s great public breakthrough with the publication of the first collection of Frösöblomster (composed in the same year), along with Marits visor and the first book in the solo-song series Svensk lyrik. The piano pieces quickly became favourites for pianists of all levels, and his songs were performed by known opera singers such as Dina Edling and Mathilda Grabow. But he always had his sights set higher than songs and piano pieces for home and salon, which he referred to later as ‘shavings from my workshop’ and mere preliminary studies for the genres that ranked highest in those days, namely symphonies and operas.

Peterson-Berger’s first work in the larger-scale format was the cantata Sveagaldrar, which he composed to his own lyrics on commission from the Kungliga Teatern (the Royal Opera) for King Oscar II’s silver jubilee in 1897. It is normally classified as a cantata but is actually a through-composed music drama scene written in the spirit of Wagner. During the vocal coaching of the piece, Peterson-Berger insulted the young opera singer John Forsell, who retaliated with a punch in the face, the first of many fights and affairs that resounded in the Stockholm press. The new century welcomed his most creative and productive decade. At the same time as he was composing several larger works, he translated selected writings of Wagner and Nietzsche (The Birth of Tragedy), and composed seven of the latter’s poems, which are some of his most important solo songs. It was also in 1900 that he met the poet Erik Axel Karlfeldt, marking the start of a long, inspirational friendship; 22 of his 25 solo songs to Karlfeldt’s poems were written during the first six years of the new century.

His real stage debut took place in 1903 with two of his works: the fairy play Lyckan at Svenska teatern (The Swedish Theatre) in March, and two months later the full-length opera Ran at the Kungliga Teatern, both to his own librettos. His first symphony, Baneret, which was first conceived back in Dresden, was premiered in 1904. Two years later, his now seldom-performed two-volume arrangement of Swedish folk music for piano, Folkvisor and Dansar, was published, both of which, compared to Frösöblomstren, are harmonically and technically unexpectedly bold and ahead of their time. Meanwhile, the opera Arnljot had become a relatively slow-developing project; emulating Wagner he first published the libretto (1906), dedicating it to ‘my friends and fellow-Jämtlanders’, and then spent the next three years composing the music.

Peterson-Berger and Anders de Wahl.

Peterson-Berger and Anders de Wahl entertaining their fellow participants on a mountain hike in 1911 at Korsnärsvallen, Kallsjön. (W.P.-B.-foundation, Landsarkivet Östersund)


During the 1908−10 season he took leave of absence from Dagens Nyheter to realise his operatic visions as a director at the Kungliga Teatern. After Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde (1909) he staged his own Arnljot in 1910, which he then kept a close, zealous eye on, and even reviewed all new settings of. Back at the newspaper, he announced his own cultural political view and manifesto as a critic in two seminal texts, the book Svensk musikkultur (1911) and an article titled ‘Några ord om musikkritik’ (Idun, 1912). His deep interest in current music issues and competition from the new generation of composers (Ture Rangström, Kurt Atterberg etc.) spurred him on to compose his own works during a decade that marked the culmination of his own creative efforts, which most notably included, apart from Arnljot, the song cycle Gullebarns vaggsånger (1914), the Romance for violin and orchestra (1916) and Symphony no. 3 (Same-Ätnam, 1917).

After the opera Domedagsprofeterna (1919), he himself noted the need of a change both in music drama and orchestral treatment, while at the same time becoming increasingly critical towards Wagner as a role model. By the mid of the 1910s, the new international trends (atonality, expressionism and impressionism) had become a challenge, a threat even, that he was unable to accept or handle. In his quest for clarity and simplification to free his music from ‘the German yoke’, as he called it, he steered a course towards impressionism via Claude Debussy, but his attempt at reorientation came far too late to be fully realised. In 1920−21 he took more leave from the newspaper to seek inspiration and compose in peace and quiet for half a year in Italy. Here, he worked on two commissions (the Umeå and Norrbotten cantatas), which he followed up with another two, one for the 150th anniversary of the Kungliga Teatern (1923) and the Frösö cantata Soluppgång (1929). A high-point during the decade was the violin concerto (1928), for many years one of the few truly substantial Swedish solo concertos. The 1927 performance of his final opera Adils och Elisiv, the libretto of which was published back in 1919, was dogged by misfortune and controversies with the Kungliga Teatern that greatly contributed to his decision to leave Stockholm for good in 1930.

Since settling permanently in Sommarhagen, the summer residence he had built in 1914 on Frösön, Peterson-Berger made the occasional appearance as a conductor for the Östersund Orchestra Society, performing his own compositions and the same works by Grieg and others that he had conducted in the 1890s in Umeå. In 1935 he founded the Frösöspelen festival to put on Arnljot as a spoken drama with incidental music on the Arnljotlägden outdoor stage. With a temporary suspension during the war, the drama has been performed every summer, these days in a shortened version with a new directorial concept. During his final decade, his interest in piano pieces and solo songs waned, and he occupied himself with revising and simplifying previous works and sketching four new operas, including one based on Gösta Berlings saga, of which only the synopsis and fragments of text remain. In that there is no extant music from these operas, it is unclear whether he even composed any sketches or drafts.

Sommarhagen, Frösön.

Sommarhagen, built as a summer residence, was in 1930 winterized and became Peterson-Berger's permanent home.

The music hall, Sommarhagen.Peterson-Berger at his grand piano.

The music hall at Peterson-Berger's Sommarhagen on Frösön. Decor painting by Paul Jonze 1914. (Photo Bengt Weilert, Jamtlis Arkiv).

Peterson-Berger at his grand piano, Sommarhagen 1942. (Musikverket).


‘The feared trademark’

In all his writings (over 3,000 reviews and articles) Peterson-Berger stuck consistently to an idealistically toned musical aesthetic, constantly on his guard against superficial virtuosity, star-cults and mimicry. Even though he was at heart a cultural conservative, his texts also contain radical culture-political proposals made in a generally didactic spirit to enlighten and school new audiences with special programmes. His real influence on music was rooted in his position as a critic. He never had any students of composition and deliberately avoided socialising with other composers lest he found himself facing a conflict of interest in his judgements.

As a critic and opinion-former, he occupied a dominant position in Swedish music, especially during the first 20 years at Dagens Nyheter, but gradually, thanks to his categorical opposition to modernism, his opinions became more disputed and he more isolated. His often devastatingly pithy and ruthless reviews, first under the signature −t−., and then usually from 1900 P.-B., earned him many a foe, not least from amongst other composer-critics. The sharp polarisation for and against his compositions that had now gradually died down was undoubtedly based on his often very disparaging, cutting appraisals of his colleagues’ works. Many of his writings gave rise to letters of protest and litigations, but he was loyally defended by the paper up until the end of the 1920s, when his anti-Semitic tirades became too awkward. However, in 1933 he was one of the first members of Swedish music society to draw attention to where the Nazi regime in Germany was heading, and was thereafter a confirmed anti-Nazi.


Wilhelm Peterson-Berger is one of the leading proponents of Swedish national romanticism, with deep roots in Scandinavianism and the artistic and literary 1890s and their love of nature, homeland and province. He was also profoundly influenced by symbolism and the German cultural circles of Heinrich Heine and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe he knew so well, Houston Stewart Chamberlain’s race and climate theories, and − most of all − Friedrich Nietzsche. As far as his compositions went, his first encounter with Richard Wagner’s The Mastersingers of Nuremburg in Stockholm 1887 was a watershed moment. Peterson-Berger’s ideals were a development of Wagner’s operatic art with an explicit rooting in national characteristics, something which in the long run stunted his own growth as a musical dramatist. He became increasingly critical of Wagner’s works and how his ideas were handled by other composers and on stage. In the ‘Germanic triangle’ with Beethoven and Bach at the base and Wagner at the apex that had been his ideal for so many years, Wagner was eventually replaced by Johannes Brahms, with whom he felt much more of an affinity.

As a composer, Peterson-Berger was primarily lyrical and mostly harmonious, personal and original in the smaller formats. His melodies are personal, at times brilliant, and made frequent references to folk songs, not least the choral works. His works for voice, piano and mixed choir still form part of the standard repertoire. However, his hopes of realising a philosophical ‘music of ideas’ in his orchestral works have been less understood and are distinguished in the symphonies by contradictory combinations of sublime movements and sections that were probably conceived as detached commentaries or self-reflections. It is also uncertain whether the philosophical content or programmes he published as a guide to the symphonies were there from the beginning, unfolded during composition or were post hoc appendages; the same applies to the picturesque or descriptive titles he gave to the piano pieces.

Operas and cantatas

Peterson-Berger’s first operas carry the unmistakable stamp of Wagner, particularly in his use of leitmotif in his first full-length opera Ran and his major hit Arnljot, with its pronounced autobiographical overtones. Its premiere in 1910 was a resounding success, particularly the second act ‘I vildskogen’, which with its two songs for the female protagonist Vaino has been described as a high point of Swedish opera. Arnljot is one of the most widely performed Swedish operas of the 20th century, has at times been referred to as a national opera, and was performed with its original stage sets at the Kungliga Teatern until 1960 (in an orchestrally revised version from 1949 by Stig Rybrant).


Arnljot. Scenes from Kungl. Operans (The Royal Opera's) performance 1910. (Musikverket).


 From the fairy play Lyckan, a melodrama with elements of spoken song, interludes and short song numbers, he put together an impressionistic orchestral suite. With the comedic Domedagsprofeterna, a kind of counterpart to The Mastersingers of Nuremburg and set in 17th century academic Uppsala, he wanted to show a social and jovial side of himself that was absent in Arnljot. His final opera, Adils och Elisiv, manifests a new kind of simplicity and a refined folk-song tone as a kind of synthesis of what he wanted to express in his music dramas. The declamatory style, which he had spent many years developing from the melodies of the Swedish language, was praised by the critics but also stemmed his dramatic flow. In all his operas there are long, slow passages when the philosophical content of the libretto is carried out at the expense of the drama.

Adils and Elisiv.

Adils and Elisiv. Scene from Kungl. Operans (The Royal Opera's) performance 1927. (Musikverket).

 The five cantatas are commissions (four of them to his own words) and largely tied to particular times and places, but they also contain larger-format sections (soloists, choirs and accompaniments of different numbers of instruments) that are not so common in his operas and that deserve mention. There are currently no recordings of his cantatas available.

Orchestral works

Peterson-Berger himself claimed that his content descriptions of the symphonies were not to be seen as programme music but as accounts of his own ideas and moods during the compositional process. The first symphony, Baneret (premiered in 1904, revised in 1932−33) evokes, according to the movement titles, a kind of youthful expedition of discovery or conquest, while the second, Sunnanfärd (1911), is more explicitly an expression of the northerner’s yearning for the South and fantasies set in a classical milieu complete with a Dionysian procession and a temple of Eros. His most consummate instrumental work is the third symphony (Same-Ätnam, 1917) centred on five Sami yoiks (vuolleh). Movement no. 3 (‘Sommarnatt’), it too inspired by a painting by Folke Hoving, is a particular high-point in Swedish symphonic music and commences with a strangely floating, slowly unfolding fugato. Evident here are also his pantheistic views and intimate familiarity with the mountains. The fourth symphony Holmia (1930) was a kind of valediction to Stockholm and was greeted, by virtue of its rhapsodic character, by almost total bafflement, while the fifth and last − Solitudo (1934) − can be seen as a kind of précis of his previous symphonies, his life-shaping natural experiences, and the artist’s life of solitude and social intercourse. The Romance for violin and orchestra (1916) and the violin concerto (1929) have no programme descriptions at all, but differ little in style and texture from the symphonies. The violin concerto in particular is one of the most consummate Swedish works in the genre. Peterson-Berger’s orchestral works have been criticised for their formal weaknesses, but he deliberately sought out his own, unconventional modes of orchestration, sometimes with the piano as an orchestral instrument. Thus, above all, the orchestral version of Gullebarns vaggsånger (1918) is scored in a way that is as original as it is masterful, with influences of Gustav Mahler, in whom he found a kindred spirit.


In the early violin and piano pieces, there are distinct influences of Edvard Grieg, but after the first piano collections (Frösöblomster I−III, Damernas album, Tonmålningar, Sex låtar för klaver, Fyra danspoem and I somras) and from the collection Earina (1917) − and, perhaps more so, in Italiana (1922) and Anakreontika I−II (1924, 1936) − his language gradually expands in terms of both expression and tone. His forms become freer and the changes of harmony swifter, as he alternates modernist and experimental stylistic features with his well-known ‘Nordic’ idiom. In all his collections, from the first to the last, extroverted, more salon-like dances and virtuoso pieces such as ‘Nachspiel’ are blended with contemplative observations of nature, mood paintings and introverted ‘dream visions’ (like ‘Villa d’Este’, 1922). The piano pieces are playable for pianists of all levels, which goes part way to explaining their widespread popularity.


Initially inspired by August Söderman and Halfdan Kjerulf, Peterson-Berger created a new standard repertoire for mixed choir in the early 1890s, initially by arranging songs for male choir, folk songs and popular songs by the likes of Bellman, for his friends during their mountain hikes. His own choral songs, originally composed for solo quartet, were often written to Nordic poems with a mountain-landscape motif, before being expanded into exquisite genre scenes (‘Killebukken’), epigrammatic mini-portraits (‘Anne Knutsdatter’, ‘Prinsessen’, ‘Ingerid Sletten’) and moods of nature (‘Stemning’, ‘Ved Havet’); all of them were composed in the 90s. His works for male choir, especially the cycle En fjällfärd to his own lyrics (1893), Finsk idyll (J. L. Runeberg) (1903) and eight songs to words by E. A. Karlfeldt possess a more advanced texture and were composed with a well-trained male choir and concert platform in mind.

Solo songs

Peterson-Berger’s more than 100 solo songs are some of the finest in the Swedish song genre. His compositions in the 19-volume series Svensk lyrik, comprising a total of 52 songs from 1896 and 1928, are unique. His fastidious choice of lyrics also included Danish and Norwegian poets, and writers like Nietzsche, Goethe, Heine and Richarda Huch. At first he usually opted for observations of nature (‘Aftonstämning’), genre and folk-like scenes (Marits visor) or personal portraits, especially from Karlfeldt’s Fridolin poetry (‘Böljebyvals’), turning more to poems with a stronger personal and existential bearing during the 1910s (Bo Bergman, Gustaf Fröding, Anders Österling). His final songs are three poems from Karlfeldt’s Hösthorn, 1928.

Other works

A large number of his own arrangements of solo songs, choral works and piano pieces for orchestra and other settings; three violin sonatas (E minor, A minor and G major) and smaller pieces for violin and piano; 20 Jämtpolskor after Lapp-Nils for two violins; and a Berceuse for cello and piano.


In contemporary reviews, but especially during the 1950s, critics often pointed to weaknesses in Peterson-Berger’s orchestration, blaming them on his lack of technical schooling. Sometimes this can be explained by his sometimes ambiguous expression marks and a long-standing Swedish performance praxis based partly on his own often clumsy interpretations as a conductor. But much of the opprobrium aimed at his operas and symphonies came from critics who were also composers and who had been the victims of his own pen; the composer was punished for the sins of the critic. His last years were tainted by the opposition he felt he was facing from Stockholm’s leading music institutions. However, for most of the 1930s, he was still the most frequently played Swedish composer on the radio, way ahead of Alfvén, Stenhammar and Sjögren. Today, all groups of works are well represented on phonogram, with the exception of the cantatas, parts of the operas and the works for violin.

Henrik Karlsson © 2013
Trans. Neil Betteridge

Publications by the composer

Svensk musikkultur. Stockholm 1911.
Richard Wagner som kulturföreteelse. Sju betraktelser, Stockholm, 1913 (German trans. Richard Wagner als Kulturerscheinung, trans. Marie Franzos, Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel 1917).
P.-B.-recensioner. Glimtar och skuggor ur Stockholms musikvärld 1896−1923, 2 vol., Stockholm: Åhlén & Åkerlunds förlag, 1923.
Melodins mysterium. Nutidsbetraktelser över musikens väsen, Stockholm: Natur och kultur, 1937.
Om musik. Ett urval essayer och kritiker, Stockholm: Albert Bonniers förlag, 1942.
Minnen, Telemak Fredbärj (ed.), J.A. Lindblads förlag, Uppsala 1943.
Från utsiktstornet. Essayer om musik och annat, Telemak Fredbärj (ed.), Östersund: AB Wisénska bokhandeln, 1951.
Fjällminnen. Samlade artiklar, Orwar Eriksson & Gusten Rolandsson (ed.), Östersund: Jengel, 2003.

Libretti and cantata lyrics
Sveagaldrar. Ett sångdramatiskt festspel i 4 bilder, Stockholm 1897.
Lyckan. Ett sagospel, Stockholm: AB Ljus, 1903.
Ran. En dramatisk dikt, Stockholm: Lundquist, 1898.
Arnljot. Handling i tre akter, Stockholm: Lundquist, 1906 (rev. ed. 1919).
Domedagsprofeterna. Handling i tre akter, Stockholm: Lundquist 1912.
Adils och Elisiv. Musikaliskt drama i tre akter, Stockholm: Lundquist, 1919.
Kantat vid Kungl. Teaterns i Stockholm 150-årsjubileum., Stockholm, 1923, also pr. in Gustaf III:s opera, Stockholm: A-B. Gunnar Tisells tekniska förlag, 1923.
Kantat vid Umeå stads 300-årsjubileum, Umebladet 22 June 1922, Dagens Nyheter 23.6.1922, Västerbottens-Kuriren 23 June 1922.
Soluppgång. Kantat till 250-årsminnet av Frösö trivialskolas instiftelse, Östersunds-Posten  28.8.1929, Jämtlands Tidning 29 Aug. 1929, Jämten, no. 10−12, 1929.

Wagner, Richard: Skrifter i urval, trans. and rev. Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Stockholm: Beijers bokförlagsaktiebolag, 1901.
−−−: Tristan och Isolde, Stockholm: A.-B. Ljus, 1908.
Nietzsche, Friedrich: Tragediens födelse, trans. and rev. Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Stockholm: C. & E. Gernandts förlag, 1902.
−−−: Så talade Zarathustra, övers. Albert Eriksson, rev. Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Stockholm: Svithiod, 1913, 3rd ed.
Gottfried Keller: Romeo och Julia i byn, övers. Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Stockholm: Sv. Andelsförlaget, 1919.


Aulin, Arne: Tonsättaren i Sommarhagen: Några data ur Peterson-Bergers liv jämte verkförteckning med kommentarer och diskografi, Östersund: Wisénska bokhandeln, 1976.
Beite, Sten: 'Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. Några drag i hans tondiktning', Ord och Bild, 1934.
−−−: 'Wilhelm Peterson-Berger', see Törnblom: Musikmänniskor.
−−−: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. En känd och okänd tondiktare, Östersund: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger Sällskapet, 1965.
Berg, Curt: 'Mina relationer till P.-B.', see Ljungquist (ed.), from Dagens Nyheters historia. Del 3.
Block, Tomas: 'Penningen och Anden. Wilhelm Peterson-Berger och Kurt Atterberg', see Engström et al. (eds): Wilhelm Peterson-Berger.
Bohlin, Folke: 'En aspekt på Peterson-Berger', Musikrevy, no. 1, 1967.
−−−: 'På fjället i sol. Sångerna för mansröster', see Engström et al. (eds): Wilhelm Peterson-Berger.
−−−: 'Om jojkarna i Peterson-Bergers samiska symfoni', in: Thule. Kungl. Skytteanska Samfundets årsbok 1993, Umeå: Kungl. Skytteanska Samfundet, 1993.
Boström, Mathias: 'Vilka jojkar hörde Peterson-Berger? Om Karl Tiréns jojkinspelningar på etnografiska utställningen i Stockholm 1913', in: Mattias Lundberg & Sven-Åke Selander (eds), Melos och logos. Festskrift till Folke Bohlin, Skellefteå: Artos & Norma bokförlag, 2011.
Brodin, Gereon: 'Vad är sanning om P.-B:s symfonier', Musikvärlden, no. 4, 1947.
Carlberg, Bertil: 'Glimtar av P.-B.', see Törnblom: Musikmänniskor
−−−: Peterson-Berger, Stockholm: Bonniers, 1950.
Engström, Bengt Olof: 'Tre bilder av Wilhelm Peterson-Berger', Thule. Kungl. Skytteanska Samfundets årsbok 1993. Umeå: Kungl. Skytteanska Samfundet, 1993
−−−: 'Den dubbla rollens dilemma. Stockholms Konsertförening som medspelare och motpart', see Engström et al. (eds): Wilhelm Peterson-Berger.
Engström, Bengt Olof et al. (eds): Wilhelm Peterson-Berger  en vägvisare, Möklinta: Gidlunds förlag, 2006 [articles by Tomas Block, Folke Bohlin, Bengt Olof Engström, Lennart Hedwall, Henrik Karlsson, Ulla-Britt Lagerroth, Ola Nordenfors, Gunnar Ternhag, Joakim Tillman and Anders Wiklund].
Evertsson, Maria: 'Wilhelm Peterson-Bergers konstfilosofi. Inflytandet från Friedrich Nietzsche och Richard Wagner', master's thesis in musicology, Uppsala universitet, 2001.
Funke, Erika: 'Stig in i Sommarhagen. Ett drömhem från 1914', Antikvärlden, no. 26, 2006.
Hedwall, Lennart: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. En bildbiografi, Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell (Norrlandsförlaget), 1983.
−−−: 'Anteckningar kring Wilhelm Peterson-Bergers pianosviter', Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning, vol. 49, 1967.
−−−: 'Wilhelm Peterson-Berger', in: Leif Jonsson & Martin Tegen (eds), Musiken i Sverige III. Den nationella identiteten 1810−1920. Stockholm: Fischer & Co., 1992.
−−−: 'En kompositörs tolkning: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger', in: Josua Mjöberg (ed.), Karlfeldt och 1900 talets klassiker, Malung: Dalaförlaget och Karlfeldt-samfundet, 1992.
−−−: 'Om Peterson-Bergers sånger', in: Romanser i sommarnatten. Wilhelm Peterson-Bergers solosånger 22 juni − 6 juli 1996, Östersund [publ. unknown], 1996.
−−−: 'En inspirerande själsfrändskap. Wilhelm Peterson-Berger och Erik Axel Karlfeldt', see Engström et al. (eds.): Wilhelm Peterson-Berger.
−−−: 'Peterson-Berger, Olof Wilhelm', in: Svenskt biografiskt lexikon, vol. 29, Stockholm: Svenskt biografiskt lexikon, 1997.
−−−: 'I tonsättarverkstaden. De efterlämnade skisserna', see Engström et al. (eds): Wilhelm Peterson-Berger.
Hult, Olof T.:  'Med P.-B. i tidiga ungdomsår', see Törnblom: Musikmänniskor.
Höjer, Olof: 'Wilhelm Peterson-Berger och hans pianomusik 1883–1896', textbook to Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. The Complete Piano music, vol. 1, Swedish Society Discofil, SCD 1086, 2000.
−−−: 'Wilhelm Peterson-Berger och hans pianomusik 1897–1903o, textbook to Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. The Complete Piano Music, vol. 2, Swedish Society Discofil, SCD 1087, 2001.
−−−: 'Wilhelm Peterson-Berger och hans pianomusik 1904–1920', textbook to Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. The Complete Piano Music, vol. 3, Swedish Society Discofil, SCD 1088, 2004.
−−−: 'Wilhelm Peterson-Berger och hans pianomusik 1920–1942', textbook to Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. The Complete Piano Music, vol. 4, Swedish Society Discofil, SCD 1089, 2005.
Johansson, Stefan: 'Peterson-Berger ville tala om något djupt personligt i Arnljot', programme notes to the performance of parts from Arnljot 17 Dec. 2010, Kungliga Operan Stockholm.
Karlsson, Henrik: Det fruktade märket. Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, antisemitismen och antinazismen, Malmö: Sekel Bokförlag, 2005.
−−−Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. Tondiktare och kritiker. Skellefteå: Norma & Artos bokförlag, 2013.
−−−: 'Spjutet Självråde. Anteckningar om Wilhelm Peterson-Berger som musikskriftställare', Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning, vol. 85, 2003.
−−−: 'En sal mot aftonen belägen. Landskapet och Sommarhagen', see Engström et al. (eds): Wilhelm Peterson-Berger.
−−−: 'Systematisk verkförteckning. Kompositioner och skrifter', see Engström et al. (eds): Wilhelm Peterson-Berger.
−−−: '"Hans alstringsförmåga tycks vara uttömd": Peterson-Berger vs. Alfvén', in: Gunnar Ternhag & Joakim Tillman (eds), Hugo Alfvén − liv och verk i ny belysning, Möklinta: Gidlunds, 2012.
Kask, Jan: 'Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. Den nutida forskningens förutsättningar och uppgifter', bachelor's thesis in musicology, Uppsala universitet, 1974.
−−−: 'Perspektiv på Peterson-Berger', textbook to the CD of Arnljot, Caprice/Rikskonserter, CAP 1341-43, 1986.
Kock, Augustin: 'P.-B. i snabbild som människa, tondiktare och kritiker', see Törnblom: Musikmänniskor.
Lagerroth, Ulla-Britt: 'Arnljot som nationalopera i ett nationellt, internordiskt och samtidspolitiskt perspektiv', see Engström et al. (eds): Wilhelm Peterson-Berger.
Linell, Stig: 'Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. Intåg i Sommarhagen', in: Knut Ödegård et al. (eds), Hemma hos författare, konstnärer, kompositörer i Norden, Helsingfors: Otava, 1999 [in English as Nordic Artists’ Homes, Oslo: Cappelen, 1999].
Lingblom, Hans: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger på CD. En discografi, Östersund: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger Institutet, 2003.
Ljungquist, Ivar (ed.): Ur Dagens Nyheters historia. Del 1, 1889−1921: Bakom spalterna. Minnesanteckningar av Otto v. Zweigbergk och andra, Stockholm: Bonnier, 1952.
−−−: Ur Dagens Nyheters historia. Del 2, 1889−1921: Kampen om läsarna, Stockholm: Bonnier, 1953.
Nordenfors, Ola: 'I Zarathustras spår. Nietzschesångerna', see Engström et al. (eds): Wilhelm Peterson-Berger.
Nordström, Anita & Britt-Marie Salmén: 'Sommarhagen. Studie av Wilhelm Peterson-Bergers hem på Frösön', degree project in architectural history, Kungl. Tekniska högskolan, 1967−68.
Norell, Gösta: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger och dikten. I, Arboga: Norrlandsförlaget/Kulturbild, 1991.
Nyman, Alf: 'Wilhelm Peterson-Berger som musikskriftställare', Bonniers litterära magasin, no. 2, 1932.
Pergament, Moses: Svenska tonsättare. Stockholm: Gebers förlag, 1943.
Pihl, Herman Gottfrid: 'Minnen från Sommarhagen', see Törnblom: Musikmänniskor
Rabenius, Olof: Mellan Stockholms strömdrag, Stockholm: Fritzes bokförlag, 1943.
−−−: 'Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. Några personliga drag', see Törnblom: Musikmänniskor.
Rosenborg, Einar: 'Kring några P.-B.-brev', see Törnblom: Musikmänniskor
Rybrant, Stig: 'Det nya Arnljot-partituret', Musikrevy, no. 5, 1949.
Stolpe, Sven: 'Enslingen på Frösön. Peterson-Berger 65 år', Fronten, no. 5, 1932.
Sundqvist, Axel V.: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Sven Kjellström och Västerbotten, Umeå: [self-publ.], 1975.
Ternhag, Gunnar: 'Om sambandet mellan folkmusikinsamling och tonsättning av folkmusikbaserade verk − med utgångspunkt i samarbetet mellan Karl Tirén och Wilhelm Peterson-Berger', Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning, vol. 82, 2000.
−−−: 'Folkmusik är aldrig gubbmusik. Wilhelm Peterson-Berger och folkmusiken', see Engström et al. (eds): Wilhelm Peterson-Berger.
Tillman, Joakim: 'Ledmotivstekniken i Arnljot', see Engström et al. (eds): Wilhelm Peterson-Berger.
−−−: 'Wagnerinfluenser i Wilhelm Peterson-Bergers dikt Ran', Parnass, no. 4, 2007.
−−−: 'Wagnerallusioner i Wilhelm Peterson-Bergers Ran', Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning, vol. 90, 2008.
Törnblom, Folke H. (ed.): Musikmänniskor. Personliga minnen av bortgångna svenska tonsättare. Hågkomster och livsintryck XXIV, Uppsala: J. A. Lindblads förlag, 1943. [Articles on Peterson-Berger by Olof T. Hult, Sten Beite, Einar Rosenborg, Augustin Kock, Bertil Carlberg, Herman Gottfrid Pihl and Olof Rabenius].
Wallner, Bo: 'Till den himmelske fadern. En vuolleh som symfoniskt tema', Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning, vol. 38, 1956.
Wiklund, Anders: '"Obs! Kan bli bra om den omarbetas". Kring en skiss till Die Wallfahrt nach Kevlaar', see Engström et al. (eds): Wilhelm Peterson-Berger.
Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. Festskrift den 27 februari 1937, Ernst Arbman et al. (eds), Stockholm: Natur och kultur, 1937.
Wilhelm Peterson-Berger Sällskapet 1950−2009, Täby, 2010.


Göteborgs stadsarkiv, Göteborgs Universitetsbibliotek, Jämtlands länsbibliotek, Kungliga Biblioteket, Musikmuseet Stockholm, Sibeliusmuseet Helsingfors, Statens Musik- och teaterbibliotek, Stiftelsen Musikkulturens främjande (Nydahlsamlingen), Stockholms stadsarkiv, Uppsala Universitetsbibliotek, Västerås stadsbibliotek.
Portrait: Gripsholms slott, Nationalmuseum, Stockholms konserthus, Svenska porträttarkivet, Kungl. Musikaliska akademien.

Summary list of works

5 music dramas (Lyckan, Ran, Arnljot, Domedagsprofeterna, Adils and Elisiv), 5 cantatas, 5 symphonies (Baneret, Sunnanfärd, Same-Ätnam, Holmia, Solitudo), 1 violin concerto, other orchestral music (Orientalisk dans, Majkarneval i Stockholm, etc.), vocal music (over 100 solo songs, approx. 50 songs for mixed choir, etc.), piano music (over 100 piano pieces and arrangements of folk music), chamber music (3 violin sonatas etc.), folk music arrangements, etc.

Collected works

Music dramas
Adils och Elisiv.

Kantat vid Umeå stads 300-årsjubileum.
Kantat vid Kungl. Teaterns i Stockholm 150-årsjubileum.

Symphony no. 1 in B-flat major, Baneret.
Symphony no. 2 in E-flat major, Sunnanfärd.
Symphony no. 3 in F minor, Same-Ätnam.
Symphony no. 4 in A major, Holmia.
Symphony no. 5 in B minor, Solitudo.

Other orchestral works
Orientalisk dans.
Majkarneval i Stockholm.
Romans för violin och orkester.
Konsert för violin och orkester.

Vocal works with orchestra
Gullebarns vaggsånger.

Chamber music
Sonata for violin and piano, E minor op. 1.
Sonata for violin and piano, A minor.
Bolero for violin and piano.
Cantilena for violin and piano.
Melodi for violin and piano.
Lyrical song for violin and piano.
Suite for violin and piano op. 15.
Sonata no. 2 for violin and piano G major.
Melodia for violin and piano.
A song without words for violin och piano.
Sœtergjentens Søndag for violin and organ or piano.
Berceuse for violoncello and piano.
Prelude for 2 violins.
Marching tune for 2 violins.
Intermezzo for 2 violins.
Duet for 2 violins.
20 Jämt-polskor for 2 violins (arrangement).

En herrskapstrall.
Valse burlesque.
Canzonetta op. 2.
Damernas album op. 6.
Frösöblomster I op. 16.
Sex låtar för klaver.
Invention à 2 voci.
Glidande skyar.
Norrländsk rapsodi.
Fyra danspoem.
Frösöblomster II.
I somras.
Svensk folkmusik book 1.
Svensk folkmusik book 2.
Kung Junis intåg.
Frösöblomster III.
Tre albumblad i dansform.
Tre nya danspoem.
Anakreontika I.
Tre tondikter för piano.
Mirres menuett.
Hyllning på femtioårsdagen.
Anakreontika II.

Song and piano
O, moder kära.
Tre sånger op. 3.
Jämtlandsminnen op. 4.
Die Wallfahrt nach Kevlaar.
Ur en kärlekssaga op. 14.
Fyra visor i svensk folkton op. 5.
Och riddaren drog uti Österland.
To orientalske Sange op. 8.
From 'Minnesångarn i Sverige' op. 7.
Tre sånger op. 10.
Två dikter av Birger Mörner.
Tvenne sånger op. 9.
Marits visor op. 12.
Mor Britta.
Dichtungen von Friedrich Nietzsche.
Svensk frihetssång.
Vier Gedichte von Ricarda Huch.
Två orientaliska fantasier.
Två romantiska visor.
Svensk lyrik I:1 op. 17.
Svensk lyrik 1:2 op. 18:1.
Svensk lyrik 1:3 op. 18:2.
Svensk lyrik I:4.
Svensk lyrik I:5.
Svensk lyrik I:6.
Svensk lyrik II:1.
Svensk lyrik II:2.
Svensk lyrik II:3.
Svensk lyrik II:4.
Svensk lyrik II:5.
Svensk lyrik II:6.
Svensk lyrik II:7.
Svensk lyrik III:1.
Svensk lyrik III:2.
Svensk lyrik III:3.
Svensk lyrik III:4.
Svensk lyrik III:5/6.
En Stockholmssång.
Till Alma Arbman.

Mixed choir
Five poems from 'Arne'.
Kan det tröste.
Österländsk dans-scen.
Hvile i Skoven.
Sånger [songs] for mixed choir.
Anne Knudsdatter.
Album. 8 songs for mixed choir.
Tio sånger [10 songs] for mixed choir.
Vårsång III.
La pêche de moules.

Male quartet
En fjällfärd.
Fyrstämmiga sånger för mansröster [4 part songs for male quartet].
Finsk idyll.
Hyllning till Jämtland.
Fyra dikter av E. A. Karlfeldt.
Sorgehymn vid August Strindbergs bår.
Gillets skål.
De tysta sångerna.
Dalslands hembygdssång.
Jutta kommer till Folkungarna.
Svensk folkvisa.

Unison song
Riddargossarnas sång.
I Mora.

Works by Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

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

Number of works: 316