- Hans Åstrand
(b Helsinki, Sept 21, 1893; d Gustavsberg, nr Stockholm, March 5, 1977). Swedish composer and music critic of Finnish birth. Compared with his Swedish colleagues (he became a Swedish citizen in 1918) Pergament had a cosmopolitan background and training: he was born into a Jewish family; he studied in St Petersburg as a violinist (and served as such for four years in the Helsinki Philharmonic Society) and in Berlin at the Stern Conservatory; he also trained as an opera conductor; and he spent much of the interwar period in Berlin and Paris before settling permanently in Stockholm. There he worked steadily as a composer and as one of the city's most influential and trenchant music critics, with some part-time choral and orchestral conducting.
The varied experiences of Pergament's formative years gave him a breadth of perspective which is obvious in his vast output and which sets him apart from his compatriots. His interest in Russian music (particularly Musorgsky) and German Expressionism is balanced with Impressionist touches and later French traits, notably from Les Six. Besides this, some of his most important works treat Jewish themes and are partly influenced by Hebrew cantillation. ...