Swedish Musical Heritage exists for the purpose of highlighting, inventorying and accessing Sweden's musical heritage in all its diversity. There is a hidden treasure of significant Swedish art music from the 17th century onwards which until now has regrettably lapsed into oblivion. Much of it exists only in the form of near-indecipherable manuscripts which are often in bad physical shape − the paper mouldering, the ink fading, and so on. In many cases, modern editions are essential in order for the music to be at all playable. This lack of serviceable sheet music is not confined to unknown compositions. Some of the foremost works by Sweden's best-known composers are also very hard to come by nowadays.
One of the aims of this project is to make compositions from Swedish art music history a living component of the modern concert repertoire. The editions published by Swedish Musical Heritage will enable groups of musicians and individual players to bring the best of our music heritage to life again. There are great discoveries to be made here. Many earlier composers are completely unknown today, even to professionals. It is high time, not least, that women composers and their works received the attention they deserve.
This project, initiated by The Royal Swedish Academy of Music, is mobilising a wide spectrum of professional competence in Swedish music. Basically, it involves co-operation with Music Development and Heritage Sweden, the national Swedish libraries for music, theatre and dance, Swedish Music and Swedish Radio. To these are added a large number of experienced copyists, authors, translators, musicians, conductors, musicologists and editors of scholarly editions. Additionally, the project depends on generous inputs of unpaid labour by associates inventorying and appraising works of music.
A general inventory of Swedish art music forms the basis of other parts of the project. This work involves inspecting, listing and appraising individual works. The inventory covers music by the known composers, while at the same time charting music originating, in various parts of the country, away from the big concert venues. Those taking part in the inventory represent various walks of musical activity. They include experienced musicians, singers, conductors, musicologists, archivists and representatives of several other professions besides. This wide span enables the music inventory to take in a huge wealth of experience and perspectives.
Scholarly editions of music for various forces and from various periods in the history of Swedish music are published continuously on a database. This sheet music can be downloaded free of charge, but can also be purchased from Swedish Music as hard copy. Publishing is confined to music which is out of copyright, meaning music by composers who died more than 70 years ago.
Swedish Musical Heritage also presents biographies and commentaries giving general descriptions of musical activity in Sweden at various points in time.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Music is the project's mandator. Within the Academy, the Early Swedish music publishing committee serves as a general forum. Its members include representatives of the project partners.
The project team comprises the Academy Permanent Secretary Tomas Löndahl, project leader Ann-Charlotte Hell, conductor and composer, Professor B. Tommy Andersson and, as expert advisers, Professors Anders Wiklund (editing) and Gunnar Ternhag (copy).