Hultkläppens Vals is one of the most widespread tunes played by the fiddler known as Hultkläppen.
His real name was Pehr Abrahamsson Hult Alcén, born in 1834 and died in 1898 in Bergsjö, Hälsingland. He was a unique character, often considered a “low-life”. He drank profusely, wore old clothes (in the style of 100 years earlier!), and was also an absolutely brilliant fiddler.
He was married for a time, and his wife’s influence had him clean up his act quite a bit. He was devastated by her death, though, and fell back into his old ways.
He never wrote down any of his tunes, but many have come down to us through fiddlers who heard him play. This is not the only waltz he played by any means, but it is the best known.
Here is a YouTube video of about 50 musicians playing it together at a fiddle festival in Bjuråker in Hälsingland. Most have fiddles, but there is a nyckelharpa or two, some accordions, some guitars, a bass, and even a ukulele!
To the left is a picture of a record jacket devoted to Hultkläppen’s tunes. The music is played by Thore Härdelin, and the scene is of Hultkläppen playing on his wife’s grave on Christmas Eve.