Born: May 21, 1813, Gullarp, Skåne, Sweden.
Died: October 22, 1882, Karlshamn, Blekinge, Sweden.
Buried: Hvilans Kyrkogård, Karlshamn, Blekinge, Sweden.
Oskar was the son of Jonas Ahnfelt, pastor of Gullarp (and later Knästorp) parish, and husband of Clara Strömberg.
Originally planning to be a priest, he eventually decided his calling lay in music. In 1840, Ahnfelt accompanied Bishop Johan Henrik Thomander to Stockholm to study at the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Known as Sweden’s
Spiritual Troubadour, he composed or arranged the music for all of Lina Sandell’s hymns.
Like Sandell, he was a Pietist, and traveled throughout Scandinavia singing her hymns, accompanying himself with a 10 string guitar.
The state church opposed pietistic hymns, and ordered Ahnfelt to sing them before King Karl XV. After hearing him, the king said,
You may sing as much as you desire in both of my kingdoms.
He sang them so much that Sandell wrote,
Ahnfelt has sung my songs into the hearts of the people.
Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale, was also a Pietist, and popularized Sandell’s hymns in America and wherever she sang.
Lind also financed the first edition of Ahnfelt’s songs (1850), consisting mostly of Sandell’s hymns.