Stockholm in the Gustavian Era

  • Anna Johnson
Part of the Man & Music book series (MAMU)


In the songs of Carl Michael Bellman (1740–95), Stockholm of the late eighteenth century is seen as through a bright prism — refined Rococo pastels, as well as shrewd drawings with revealing details. Bellman, ‘the Nordic Anachreon’, was the genius of Swedish poetry and an excellent performer of his own songs. As royal secretary he was just as welcome at the court as in the bourgeois salon or the tavern. Hence, in his poetry, he swiftly moves from one milieu to another, at ease in every social stratum. He depicts a world of music and dance — in countryside manors, brothels and alleys of ‘The Town between the Bridges’.1


Eighteenth Century Late Eighteenth Century Folk Music Opera House Swedish Translation 
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  1. 1.
    For a fascinating description of Stockholm in the Gustavian era see P. B. Austin, The Life and Songs of Carl Michael Bellman (Malmö and New York, 1967).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    For a penetrating investigation of theatre repertories in Sweden during the reign of Gustavus III see M.-C. Skuncke, Sweden and European Drama 1772–1796 (Uppsala, 1981).Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Besides his two sojourns in Stockholm, in 1785–6 Naumann also visited Copenhagen where he wrote music for a Danish version of Orpheus. An account of Naumann’s operas for the Nordic countries is given in R. Engländer, Johann Gottlieb Naumann als Opernkomponist (Leipzig, 1922).Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    For information about the Swedish productions of Gluck’s operas see R. Engländer, Joseph Martin Kraus and die gustavianische Oper (Uppsala, 1943), 27–37;Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    There are thorough analyses of the musical parody technique in Bellman’s songs in J. Massengale, The Musical-Poetic Method of Carl Michael Bellman (diss., Uppsala U., 1979).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Granada Group and Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1989

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  • Anna Johnson

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