Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist: Suites for Orchestra
When Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist in 1962 was asked to compose the music score for the screen adaptation of Selma Lagerlöf’s Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige (Adventures of Nils Holgersson), he was already a well-known composer of film music. Since 1954 he had written the scores for 16 films, and three other movies with his music was premièred the same year as Nils Holgersson.
In 1962, Lundquist was engaged to compose the music for the grandiose and lavish Adventure of Nils Holgersson, an adaptation of Selma Lagerlöf’s novel, directed by Kenne Fant. A film in colour with stunning aerial photographs of Sweden and with music by Torbjörn Lundquist. It was actually the first time a complete soundtrack in a Swedish film was released on LP.
In the 1960’s, Lundquist also started writing music for radio plays and dramatized serial stories. In 1966, he was commissioned by the Swedish Radio to write music for a drama serial directed by Per Edström. Again, a novel by Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf.
One of her most dramatized, Gösta Berling’s saga, the depiction of the major’s wife and the cavaliers at Ekeby Manor in Värmland, adapted for radio by Olle Mattsson. The music for the play became so praised that it was released on LP. The suite consists of eight movements.
After the suite there are three dance movements where Lundquist puts together a number of pastiches on upper-class music from the beginning of the 19th century. They are followed by the caressing Meditation, the lyrical Legend and the swaying Berceuse. It all ends with Kavaljerernas polska (The Cavalier’s Polska). [Curt Carlsson, 2018]
By 1962, Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist was much feted as a composer of film scores, with sixteen already under his belt dating from 1954. He was to go on to write another twelve. This particular year he was approached to provide a score for the screen adaptation of Selma Lagerlöf's "Adventures of Nils Holerssohn", a best-loved children's classic. The story tells of a naughty boy who tortures animals and never listens to his parents. One day he wakes up as an elf, climbs onto a gander's back and flies away with a flock of geese. On his journey he learns everything about birds, animals, his country and good behaviour, and returns transformed. The film was a lavish production with stunning aerial photography. The music, sixteen episodes in all, accompanies beautiful scenery, such as an enchanted forest and some dramatic episodes such as a musical hunt "The fox and the watchdog". Memorable places crop up along the way, like the naval city of Karlskrona, portrayed by a brisk march, Stockholm, where the tune from the bells of the City Hall's tower is recalled, and Lappland, depicted by its Sami drums. Lundquist was under time pressure to complete this forty minute opus so did a bit of recycling and also came up with a catchy waltz, which appears from time to time.
This is a most welcome return to the catalogue for two very enjoyable and accomplished scores, Nils Holgerssons underbara resa (‘Adventures of Nils Holgersson’) from 1962, and Gösta Berlings saga, written to accompany a radio dramatisation of the novel of the same name by Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940 – winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, 1909) in 1891. As a supplement to the suite for the latter, Lundquist wrote seven additional movements, also recorded here. Lundquist is one of those Swedish composers whose music is worthy of wider circulation.