Hallén, (Johannes) Andreas
- Axel Helmer
(b Göteborg, Dec 22, 1846; d Stockholm, March 11, 1925). Swedish conductor, composer, teacher and critic. Between 1866 and 1871 he studied in Leipzig with Reinecke, in Munich with Rheinberger and in Dresden with Rietz. He then returned to Göteborg, where he became conductor of the music society (1872–8); he later taught singing in Berlin (1879–83). Back in Sweden he was conductor of the Philharmonic Society in Stockholm (1885–95) and of the Royal Opera (1892–7), as well as founder and conductor of the South Swedish Philharmonic Society (1902–7). From 1909 to 1919 he taught composition at the Stockholm Conservatory.
Hallén’s compositions show an accomplished handling of formal elements and contain stylistic reminiscences of Swedish folk music and the works of other Swedish composers like Söderman. The salient feature of his style, however, and the one which strongly affected contemporary reaction, is its close, almost derivative relationship to German music. Wagner’s works and aesthetic ideas had a particularly strong and lasting influence on Hallén; his operas, although conceived with considerable dramatic skill, are largely dependent on Wagnerian models. As an enterprising and versatile conductor, he gave sympathetic performances of the Wagner operas and brought about performances of many choral masterpieces then almost unknown in Sweden, including the first Swedish performance of Bach's ...