Wilhelm Peterson-Berger (1867−1942)

Svensk frihetssång [Swedish song of freedom] ("Ja, frihet är det bästa ting")

  • Year of composition: Probably in 1903 (according to Henrik Karlsson's list of compositions by Wilhelm Peterson-Berger [2004])
  • Work category: Voice and piano
  • Text author: After bishop Thomas [Simonsson] of Strängnäs (c. 1380-1443)
  • First performed: Skansen 1 May 1911
  • Duration: Approx. 1-5 min
  • Location autograph: Musik- och teaterbiblioteket
  • Possible call no. and autograph comment: Z/Sv


Karlsson, Henrik: "O, ädle svensk!". Biskop Thomas frihetssång i musik och politik (diss. 1988)
Karlsson, Henrik: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. Verkförteckning (2004) [tillgänglig hos Musik- och teaterbiblioteket]
Arbman, Ernst, Fredbärj, Telemak m fl: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. Festskrift den 17 februari 1937 (1937)

Description of work

Large and powerful C major 4/4 (C)

Work comment

According to a note from Peterson-Berger on the autograph, for musical and other reasons the lyrics are a variant of bishop Thomas' 'Frihetssång' [Song of freedom] in order to make the melody applicable to both stanzas and the song suited to be sung by all wishing to call themselves Swedes, regardless of religious standpoint.

At the Musik- och teaterbiblioteket there is an autograph of the setting for unison song and orchestra (with the alternative title "Svensk medborgarsång"). The lyrics of the second stanza differ somewhat from the setting for unison song and instrumental accompaniment ("Ädle svensk, du statt nu fast").
There can also be found a score in autograph with the title "Svensk Medborgarsång" for unison song and orchestra with the inscriptions "Rörligt, utan tempoförändringar (alla marcia)" [Mobile, without tempo changes (alla marcia)] and "N.B. This instrumentation is intended to accompany a small choir. For a larger choir, a stronger instrumentation may be used." (The lyrics are missing in this autograph.)

See also 'Svensk Medborgarsång' [sic] for voice and orchestra and 'Svensk medborgarsång' for voice and piano.


1. Ja, frihet är det bästa ting som sökas kan all världen kring
2. Ja, ädle svensk, nu stånda fast och bättra det som fordom brast