Hans Jacob Tengvall (1787-1863)


Hans Jacob Tengvall, born in Malmö on 28 June 1787 and died in the same city on 8 May 1863, was an organist, music and singing teacher at the secondary school in Malmö, music director at the Southern Skåne infantry regiment as well as a conductor and composer. Tengvall was one of the most skillful French horn players of his time and he composed orchestral and chamber music, songs and music for military orchestra. In 1830 he became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

Childhood and education

Hans Jacob Tengvall was the son of the city musician, music director and organist at St. Peter’s parish in Malmö, Petter Tengvall (1764−1829) and his wife Maria Ulrika Ahlman (1764−1820). He received a solid music education at home and from the beginning of the 1800s he began taking over his father’s duties at the city’s secondary school and at St. Peter’s parish. The position of city musician was abolished in Malmö in 1811, however this seems not to have resulted in any change in Tengvall’s duties. He continued serving at St. Peter’s Church and at the secondary school. He retained the latter job until his death.

Tengvall’s first marriage was to Julia Maria Chevalier (1787−1831) and his second wife was Anna Mariana Jacobina Wilcke (1783−1854). He had four children, all born between 1811-19. During the same decade, in 1815 and 1816, he was employed as the French horn player at the Hovkapellet (the Royal Court Orchestra) and at that time also took lessons in music theory from Pehr Frigel at the Kungliga Musikaliska akademiens undervisningssverk (the educational institution of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music). Already during this period he became known as a very good French horn player. In the history about the academy’s first 100 years, he is named as one of the few Swedish-born wind instrument virtuosos active in Sweden during the period 1771−1871.

Because of the music training Tengvall received at home he became skilled at playing many instruments. In the oration in his memory at the Kungliga Musikaliska akademien’s annual banquet in 1863 it was noted that above and beyond his skill on the French horn ‘Tengvall could play almost all musical instruments and provided lessons on them as well. He was one of the first to make the guitar known in southern Sweden, and the trumpet, of which he was a master, was among the first instruments he learned. In addition he played the violin, piano and organ and was also a good singing teacher at the school.’ (Post & Inrikes Tidningar, no. 298 1863).

Conductor, organist and music teacher in Malmö

From the end of the 1810s Tengvall was fully occupied with work in Malmö. It is likely that during this period he received lessons with two famous musicians in Copenhagen, Christoph Ernst Friedrich Weyse (1774−1842) and Friedrich Kuhlau (1786−1832).

Tengvall was, together with his father, one of the founders of the Musikaliska Sällskapet (the Music Society) in Malmö and also active as a music director in it. In this role he would have been responsible, according to the society’s rules, ‘for the advancement of musical talent in the society’. The society was active from October to April. During this period the working members gathered to rehearse every week and held five or six general meeting for all members of the society – with musical performances led by Tengvall. The society was active during the years 1825−41.

From 1830 to 1851 Tengvall was also music director of the Södra Skånska Infanteriregementet (the Southern Skåne Infantry regiment). In 1830 he was elected as a member of the Kungliga Musikaliska akademien (the Royal Swedish Academy of Music). He died on 8 May 1863 of pneumonia. In the above-mentioned eulogy, he was honoured for, among other things, the fifty years he directed the orchestra in Malmö at concerts and other events, which speaks to the fact that he took on these kinds of duties beginning in the 1810s. He was also prized for his almost sixty year career as a teacher, having taught several thousand students in the art of music. As early as the first decade of the 1800s it seems that he worked as a music and vocal teacher.


Tengvall’s list of works reflects his versatility as a musician. The list includes compositions that were used in Tengvall’s work as the city’s musician, as a music teacher at the secondary school, as music director in Malmö’s music society and the Södra Skånska Infanteriregementet. His duties as an organist, on the other hand, did not leave behind many traces, if one considers the preserved works, and neither have any of the lesson books for song he published during his lifetime been found.

The French horn had an important role in several of Tengvall’s works, which confirms his leading role on that instrument. For the military band at the Södra skånska infanteriregemen he provided a long string of marches, he created orchestral arrangements of known soldier’s songs and composed quite a few polkas, waltzes and several dances that were in vogue at the time.

Boel Lindberg © 2016
Trans. Jill Ann Johnson


Alander, Bo: ‘Stadsmusiken i Malmö under 1600- och 1700-talen’, in: Malmö Fornminnesförenings Årsskrift 1942, Malmö, 1942.
Andersson, Greger
: ‘Stadsmusikanter i Skåneland under 1600- och 1700-talet. 1−2’, in: Ale: historisk tidskrift för Skåneland, no. 4 1990, pp. 1−12, and no. 1 1991, pp. 18−32.
−−−: ‘Städerna som musikmiljöer: Privilegierade musiker’, in: Leif Jonsson and Anna Ivarsdotter-Johnson (eds), Musiken i Sverige, vol. 2, Frihetstid och gustaviansk tid 1720–1810, Stockholm: Fischer & Co., 1993, pp. 143 ff.
Cronhamn, Johan Peter:
Kongl. Musikaliska akademien åren 1771–1871: Historiska anteckningar, Stockholm: Seelig, 1871.
Edlund, Barbro:  ‘Musikvänner i Malmö vid sekelskiftet 1800’, in: Elbogen. Malmö Fornminnesförenings årsskrift, vol. 63, Malmö, 1995.
Ljungberg, Leif: ‘Musikaliska sällskapet i Malmö’, in: Malmö Fornminnesförening. Årsskrift 1965.
Norlind, Tobias: ‘Tengvall, Hans Jakob’, in: Allmänt Musiklexikon, vol. 2, Stockholm: Wahlström & Widstrand, 1916, p. 954.
Nyström, Pia, Kyhlberg-Boström, Anna, Elmquist, Anne-Marie, Kungl. Musikaliska akademien: matrikel 1771–1995, Stockholm: Kungl. Musikaliska akademien, 1996.
Post & Inrikes Tidningar:  no. 112 (death notice, H.J. Tengvall) and no. 298 (funeral speech held for Tengvall at the Kungl. Musikaliska akademien’s annual banquet 1863), Stockholm, 1863.
Tengvall, Gustaf: Försök till slägtregister öfver slägten Tengvall och derifrån härstammande slägter, Härnösand, 1894.
Åstrand, Hans: ‘Skånsk orkesterhistoria’, in: Musik i Skåne. Sydsvenska Dagbladets Årsbok 1971, Malmö, 1971.


Stadsarkivet, Malmö; Musikaliska Sällskapet in Malmö arkiv; Tengvallska notsamlingen, Malmö Stadsarkiv; Kungliga biblioteket, Stockholm; Musik- och teaterbiblioteket, Stockholm.

Summary list of works

Orchestral Works (Theme with variations for horn and orchestra etc.), chamber music (3 horn quintets etc.), songs, works for military band. The most famous work is the comic trio Skolmästaren och hans disciplar (‘Kära gåssar låten se’).

Collected works

This works list is partially based on the list in the archive of Tengvall music, Malmö stadsarkiv. A thorough list of that archive has been made by Thomas Olsson.

Arrangerad Harmonie Musik (from the monologue Pygmalion).
Theme and Variations for horn and orchestra.
[Qunitet in F major], arranged for orchestra.
All works are in the Tengvall music collection, Malmö stadsarkiv.

Chamber music
Theme with 5 variations for horn and string quartet.
2ne Wariations pour Cor Principal for horn and string quartet.
3 quintets for horn and string quartet.
Trio for horn, violin primo and secundo or alto.
Romance and Polonaise, two duets for violin and horn.
Funeral music for flute and piano. Manuscript, MTB, Stockholm.
Menuetto Composed by Tengvall. Ms. [1794?]. For 2 mel. Instr. I [Dansbok 9.]
Notae=Bok… pp. 32, 33. Manuscript. MTB, Stockholm.
All works are in the Tengvall music collection, Malmö stadsarkiv unless otherwise indicated.

Voice and orchestra
Recitative and aria from the monologue Pygmalion. Manuscript. For soprano, fl, 2 kl, 2 hn, 2 fag, vl. I,  vl. II, vla, vc, kb. No. 123, vol. W, markt Anförare Stämman. In the music collection of the Musikaliska sällskapet, Malmö stadsarkiv. Printed Stockholm, 1829.
Bewara Gud vår Kung [Folksång] for 1 soprano, 3 tenors, 3 basses and orchestra. Dedicated to the Musikaliska sällskapet in Malmö 29 Nov 1831. Tengvall music collection, Malmö stadsarkiv.

Voice(s) and piano
Recitative and aria from the monologue Pygmalion. Printed parts for soprano and piano. Stockholm: C.V. Schele, n.d. Musikaliska sällskapets music collection, Malmö stadsarkiv.
Skolmästaren och hans disciplar: ‘A, b, c, d, etc.’. Song, 1 voice with piano. In: Samling handskrivna sånger, p. 1. MTB, Stockholm.
Skolmästaren och hans disciplar (‘Kära gåssar låten se’). A comic three-part song. Imitation of L. Von Calls: Der Schulmeister. For use at the theatre harmonic arrangement and added ritornellos by H.J. Tengvall. Accompaniment for piano or a flute and guitar. Stockholm: C. Müller. MTB, Stockholm.
Hymn [?] composed for celebrations in Malmö 17 December 1822 for soprano, alto, bass and piano. Tengvall music collection, Malmö stadsarkiv.

Men’s choir/men’s quartet
Uti vårt stånd ger ingen ro, 3-part men’s choir. Tengvall music collection, Malmö stadsarkiv.

Military orchestra /ensemble – all works are in the Tengvall music collectionen, Malmö stadsarkiv
Jagtsång: Bröder! Hörden I signalen?
Den tappre Landsoldat.
Dansk Folkesang (‘Med mandig Stolthed i mit Bryst’). Orchestrated for Kongl. Smål. Grenadièr. Battalion music by H.J. Tengvall.
Sång för Kongl. Sk. Inf. Regementet (‘För Konung och Fäderneland’, Lindeblad).
Folksång (No. 17).
Kung Carl den unga hjelte.
Soldatsång (2 songs).
Funeral music.
Marches (ca 20 including Marsch [No 20] – Kongl. S. Sk. Inf. Regementets marsch. 24 May 1845. Dedicated to Colonel E.A. Peyron.).
Dance music (Clara Polka, Majestångspolska, Scandinave Polka, Venetiansk Tambur Polka, Wår Polka, Poloneis, Rysk Wals, Ål Valsen, 3 redoble/reduplo).
Reveille (‘Ur Walchs Verk’), arranged by H. J. Tengvall.
Tappto och Österrikiskt Tappto.

Works by Hans Jacob Tengvall

There are no works by the composer registered