Nordic Highlights No. 1 2023

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HIGHLIGHTS

Music for Children

Focus on Mikko Heiniö and Daniel Börtz

N OR D I C 1 / 2 0 23
NEWSLETTER FROM GEHRMANS MUSIKFÖRLAG & FENNICA GEHRMAN

Staern artistic partner

Benjamin Staern will be one of four artistic partners at the Västerås Sinfonietta 2023–2026. The others include conductor Jessica Cottis, jazz musician/arranger Magnus Lindgren and violinist/leader Lorenza Borrani. “It will be great fun to be able to work closely together with the orchestra, hear them play some more of my works and not least get to write entirely new works for this wonderful ensemble. I am also looking forward to getting to know the other musicians in this project”, says Benjamin Staern.

Choral highlights this spring

The King’s Singers will premiere Per Gunnar Petersson’s Spring Has Now Unwrapped the Flowers together with the Mogens Dahl Chamber Choir in Copenhagen on 29 March. Conductor Bengt Ollén and the Sofia Vocal Ensemble are invited to the World Symposium on Choral Music in Istanbul 25–30 April, where they will present an all-Swedish programme with music by Hugo Alfvén, David Wikander, Oskar Lindberg, Sven-David Sandström, Jan Sandström, Karin Rehnqvist, et al. Sofie Jeannin will conduct the Chamber Choir of Ireland at the Cork International Choir Festival on 28 April in a programme featuring Carl Unander Scharin’s Mutations from Calligramme and Carin Malmlöf Forssling’s Ahimsa. On 29 April in Stockholm Cathedral Kaspar Putnins and the Swedish Radio Choir will premiere Mats Larsson Gothe’s The Pigeons, set to a poem by Håkan Sandell.

Kai Nieminen at 70

Composer and guitarist Kai Nieminen had a profile concert in his hometown Jyväskylä on 18 March. Members of the Jyväskylä City Orchestra performed chamber music by him at an event celebrating his 70th birthday. This included the world premiere of Two Pieces for Wind Quintet. Among the works performed was also the Sonata from Shadows which was recently recorded on the CD A Due by Pilfink Records (See: Albums).

Editors: Henna Salmela, Kristina Fryklöf

Translations: Susan Sinisalo, Robert Carroll

Cover photos: Emmi Nieminen (illustration), Laura Reunanen, Juha Reunanen

Design: Tenhelp Oy

Click the sound and video symbols in the text.

ISSN 2000-2750 (Online)

Works by Ilkka Kuusisto

Fennica Gehrman acquired a catalogue of some 200 works by Ilkka Kuusisto from Tactus Oy at the beginning of 2023: 19 operas, two symphonies and numerous other orchestral and chamber works. Fennica had already been publishing his vocal works, which will now be supplemented by his choral and religious repertoire. A prolific composer, Ilkka Kuusisto (b. 1933) is also a conductor and arranger. He has served as General Director of the Finnish National Opera and Director of Fennica Gehrman’s predecessor Edition Fazer. The Finnish Music Publishers Association honoured him with its special lifetime achievement award in 2021.

Award for Martinaitytė

Premiere for SALT in Gothenburg

Albert Schnelzer’s oratorio SALT, composed for the celebration of Gothenburg’s 400th anniversary, will be premiered on 20 April. Schnelzer has taken as his starting point the city’s proximity to water and the sea, and themes such as travelling and migration. The work is written for two soloists, mixed choir and orchestra, where the soprano is a symbol of the sea whereas the baritone symbolises mankind and the migrant. Joana Carneiro directs the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Choir at the premiere and the soloists are Mari Eriksmoen and Anders Larsson.

Brilliantly talented Lithuanian composer Žibuoklė

Martinaitytė received Lithuania’s National Prize for Culture and Arts on 16 February 2023. According to Culture Minister Simonas Kairys, the prize is awarded for many years’ work, honouring significant achievements in the field of culture and the arts.

Martinaitytė’s recent CD Ex tenebris lux has been nominated for the Premiere Award by the BBC Music Magazine. The disc by Ondine Records includes works for string orchestra. The three pieces have been composed since the onset of the global pandemic. Žibuoklė Martinaitytė’s most popular orchestral work Saudade was recently performed at the Musica Nova festival in Helsinki by the Helsinki Philharmonic, conducted by Janne Nisonen.

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS 1/2023 2 NO R DI C HIGHLIGHTS 1/ 2 023 N E W S L E T T E R F R O M G E H R M A N S MU S I K F Ö R L A G & F E NNI C A G E H R M A N
Photo: Mats Lundqvist Albert Schnelzer Benjamin Staern Photo: Katja Tauberman Photo: Maarit Kytöharju/Music Finland Ilkka Kuusisto Photo: Tomas Terekas Žibuoklė Martinaitytė

St. Luke Passion in German

On 25 March Rolf Martinsson’s St. Luke Passion will be performed for the first time in German by the Bach Collegium Zürich, with soprano/evangelist Lisa Larsson, baritone Samuel Zünd and narrator Andreas Müller-Crepon, under the direction of Bernhard Hunziker. It is a contemporary passion with a duration of 90 minutes, set to texts from the Gospel of St. Luke and with commentary texts by the poet and journalist Göran Greider. It is intended to be accessible for the great majority of choirs. A work that can be sung by many for many. It was premiered in 2012 and is now part of the recurrent passion repertoire of Swedish choirs.

New Lotta Wennäkoski & Kalevi Aho discs

Ondine Records has released a new disc of three orchestral works by Lotta Wennäkoski: the Harp Concerto Sigla (a recent RSO commission), Sedecim and Flounce (commissioned by the BBC for the 2017 Proms festival) . Nicholas Collon conducts the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Sivan Magen is the soloist in Sigla. Wennäkoski was the RSO’s spotlight composer for the 2021/2022 season.

The Kymi Sinfonietta continues its fruitful collaboration with Kalevi Aho, who will be 75 in 2024. The latest example is a new disc featuring Aho’s second Violin and Cello Concertos. The conductor on the BIS SACD is Olari Elts, and the soloists are Elina Vähälä, violin, and Jonathan Roozeman, cello (See: Reviews).

Skafte’s 24 Preludes

Martin Skafte’s 24 Preludes for piano has now been released by Toccata Classics recorded by Jonas Olsson. Skafte’s fascination with the 24 Préludes of Claude Debussy inspired him. Like Debussy, Skafte exploits the colours and sonorities of the piano but also he requires Lisztian virtuosity and pulls in a range of further influences, among them ragtime and Ligeti – and a sly sense of humour can often be detected in the background. Pianist Peter Jablonski gave the Japanese premiere of a couple of the preludes at a piano recital at Oji Hall in Tokyo on 20 February.

Kimmo Hakola news

Kimmo Hakola has a profile concert at the Sibelius Academy Concert Hall in Helsinki on 26 April. The programme will include two premieres: his Piano Quintet Op. 111 and Sinfonische Elegien Op. 112. Both address symphonic mechanisms in chamber music and are part of Hakola’s artistic assignment for a Doctorate in music which examines symphonic elements past and present. Kimmo Hakola is at present living in Paris and his next composition will be his second symphony. He is also an active pianist and conductor.

Urmas Sisask in memoriam

Estonian composer Urmas Sisask passed away at the age of 62 in December. He was a versatile composer who absorbed himself in his interest in astronomy, early music and shamanistic cultures. Rather than being a composer, he regarded himself as transcriber of music as his vision extended beyond the limits of our conscious world. Sisask received particular international recognition for his choral music. One of his best-loved works is Gloria Patri for mixed choir – a cycle of 24 unaccompanied hymns on Latin texts.

Tebogo Monnakgotla at Tanglewood

Tebogo Monnakgotla is co-curator at Tanglewood’s Festival of Contemporary Music 27–31 July. Among other works, the programme will feature her song cycle Un clin d’oeil , performed by the TMC Orchestra under Stefan Asbury. In addition, there will be a concert dedicated to her chamber music. During the season 2023–2024 Monnakgotla will also be Composer-in-Residence at the Wermland Opera.

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Photo: Kaapo Hakola Kimmo Hakola Martin Skafte Photo: Jenny Blad Photo: Elin/Model House Sweden Tebogo Monnakgotla Urmas Sisask Lotta Wennäkoski Kalevi Aho Photo: Henna Salmela

Seven questions for Mikko Heiniö

1. You have often stayed at the Villa Karo artists’ residence in Benin, most recently in January 2023. How has this been reflected in your music? It’s difficult to speak about this without being guilty of clichéd overstatement… To put it briefly: I have visited every continent outside Europe, but this is the only one I would almost have liked to remain in. In Africa, I’ve felt both totally at home and a total outsider. The reality literally gets you there; you truly experience it and it’s not just something put across by the media. Humans and nature are closer there than in Finland. Musically, this is reflected at least in Khora for piano and 5 percussionists (2001), Café au lait for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano (2006), and Täällä, kaikkialla (Here, Everywhere) for male choir (2019) – and a piece for guitar and piano I’m working on right now.

2. How do you feel about composing for different kinds of performers: orchestras, choirs and individual musicians; is there any you feel especially close to?

Timbres and harmony mean a lot to me, so I like composing for orchestra and choir. Most exciting of all is opera, where you can create real-life characters and their dramas on the stage. My special interest in literature has led me to compose lots of vocal music.

I’ve been happy to write for the handful of musicians who have repeatedly commissioned music from me. Such as Patrik Kleemola the guitarist, Tommi Hakala the baritone, and the choral conductors Matti Hyökki and Teemu Honkanen.

3. You often score works for unusual line-ups, an example being the piece for guitar and chamber choir to be premiered in October 2023. What inspired you to write for this combination?

An unusual line-up is a challenge and always brings out something new – new to me, that is. I’ve composed quite a lot of chamber music, but never two works for the same combination. This also applies to my concertos and symphonies.

I wanted to see how a guitar could act as a genuine soloist and not just accompanying a choir. Maybe a guitar is also better able to stand out from a choir than from an orchestra. I’ve given the choir very instrumental treatment, and I haven’t assigned the text such a big role as in my choral works proper.

4. In May, the Turku Philharmonic is giving a concert of chamber music by you in honour of your

75th birthday. Which of the works on the programme would you particularly single out?

The Canzona for string trio (2006), the Guitar Sonata (2019), Treno della notte for clarinet, cello and piano (2000), the new work for guitar and piano (2023) and the piano quartet “Puun ääni” (The Voice of the Tree, 2006) are all one of a kind. For practical reasons, there’s no vocal music. Poetry does nevertheless slip into the concert in that Canzona is a paraphrase of a poem by Lassi Nummi and the Piano Quartet a paraphrase of poems about trees by Eira Stenberg.

5. How would you summarise the highlights of your long career?

Oh the operas, and I don’t just mean the performances but the lengthy processes behind them. But all the other occasions on which brilliant musicians rehearse and perform works and claim they actually enjoy doing so are highlights, too. One such recent occasion was the performance of Koraaleja (Chorales).

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6. Chorales was premiered at the Katedraali soi festival of church music in Turku on 11 February by Eija Kankaanranta (kantele), Antti Tikkanen Mikko Heiniö has often stayed at the Finnish-African culture center and artists’ residence Villa Karo. It was established by writer Juha Vakkuri who also wrote the text to Heiniö’s choral work Täällä, kaikkialla (Here, Everywhere). Photo: Riitta Heiniö Mikko Heiniö with Key Ensemble and Teemu Honkanen Photo: Maarit Kytöharju

(violin and leader), Kristian Lindroos (baritone) and the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra. Can you tell us a bit about it – how it came to encompass a number of works?

I had started writing a concerto lasting just under half an hour for kantele, violin and string orchestra on the initiative of Kankaanranta and Tikkanen. Then the Sibelius Fund of the Society of Finnish Composers announced a grant for a work lasting 45 minutes, and the two wanted to apply for it. I reckoned I couldn’t make the concerto so long without adding something more. I wanted to include a baritone. In the end, we didn’t get the Sibelius Fund grant but we were lucky to get other funding. By that time, I’d already finished the first and third movements of the concerto, and I incorporated them as such in the new, bigger format. I also used the second movement, slightly revised, which is a duet for kantele and violin, and I wrote a few other smaller numbers for the soloists. The most substantial addition was, however, a completely new work: three settings of poems by Lassi Nummi, and for these I scored in a baritone. The songs are not performed one after the other, but in between the other movements, and they echo the wise voice, the agnostic and cultural Christian voice of my old friend Lassi Nummi.

7. Looking back, with your present experience of life, what would you say to the young Mikko Heiniö?

It’s advisable to get networking with performing artists when you’re still young, to try to find musicians who’ll play your works on their own initiative. Your fate is entirely in the hands of others unless you also happen to be a famous conductor or soloist. Whereas on the one hand you have to put as much into composing as you can, on the other you need to do other things as well, not putting all your eggs in one basket. Rachmaninov asked himself: “Have I been chasing three hares without catching a single one?” It’s me who should be asking that rather than him, because in addition to composing, I’ve spent a lot of time on an academic career and committee work. Things have just come along, without my stopping to choose at each crossroads. Possibly my best decision was resigning from my tenured professorship in good time before I reached retiring age. Because I could never have managed the opera commissions in the summer vacations alone.

A good reminder is also that there’s no point thinking of a large production unless you can be sure it’s going to be performed. The main thing about a commission is not the fee but the commissioner’s commitment and full intention to get the work staged. A composer has to be ready to face up to perpetual set-backs, and to a time when you’re der Welt abhanden gekommen. There’s no point becoming a composer unless the work itself is sufficient reward, even without outward acclaim or kudos.

NEW ALBUMS

KALEVI AHO

Violin Concerto No. 2, Cello Concerto No. 2 Kymi Sinfonietta/Olari Elts, sol. Elina Vähälä, vl, Jonathan Roozeman, vlc BIS-2466

Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2 for Accordion

Mateusz Stankiewicz

UMFC CD 178

Sonata No. 2 for Accordion ‘Black Birds’

Ida Løvli Hidle

LAWO-LWC 1247

5 Mythical Images for oboe (or soprano saxophone)

Adrian Tully, s.sax

MDG 603 2262-2 (“Reflections”)

MIKKO HEINIÖ

Täällä, kaikkialla (Here, Everywhere) for male choir Polytech Choir/Saara Aittakumpu

PK4AVA (“Unetar”)

THOMAS JENNEFELT

Sieben Liebeslieder

Helena van Heel, Mz, Naomi Tamura, pf Etcetera Records KTC 1765

TOMMI KÄRKKÄINEN

Tener Tempestas (Guitar Concerto)

Helsinki Sinfonietta/Erkki Lasonpalo, sol. Janne Malinen, gtr Pilfink JJVCD-240 (”Concertos - Cum tribus”)

KAI NIEMINEN

Pre-Inter-Post for organ

Marko Kupari

Pilfink JJVCD-253 (“Nordic Organ Music”)

Sonata from Shadows

Johanna Kärkkäinen, fl, Olli Hirvanen, gtr Pilfink JJVCD-234 (”A due – Finnish music and poetry”)

PEHR HENRIK NORDGREN

Streams, Cello Concerto No. 5, Chamber Symphony Jyväskylä Sinfonia/Ville Matvejeff, sol. Tuomas Ylinen, vlc Alba ABCD 521 (“Streams”)

SVEN-DAVID SANDSTRÖM

Five Pieces for Piano and Orchestra

Gothenburg SO/Ryan Bancroft, sol. Peter Friis Johansson, pf BIS-2576 (“Piano Concertos”)

MARTIN SKAFTE

24 Preludes for Piano

Jonas Olsson, pf Toccata Classics TOCC 0640

WILHELM STENHAMMAR

String Quartets Nos 1 – 6 Stenhammar Quartet

BIS-2709 (“The String Quartets”)

VELJO TORMIS

Works arranged for string orchestra: Hamleti laulud No.1, Pikse litaania, Pärismaalase lauluke, Laevas lauldakse, Sinikka laul, Raua needmine, Incantatio maris aestuosi, Lauliku lapsepõli, Kuulmata kuskil kumiseb kodu

VHK Keelpilliorkester & soloists/Rasmus Puur CD 4740447316130

TUOMAS TURRIAGO

Somber

ROOPE MÄENPÄÄ

Kolloidi

CECILIA DAMSTRÖM

Epitaph

Ville Hautakangas, pf Alba ABCD-519 (“12 premieres, Contemporary Finnish piano music”)

LOTTA WENNÄKOSKI

Harp Concerto “Sigla”, Flounce, Sedecim Finnish RSO/Nicholas Collon, sol. Sivan Magen, hp Ondine 1420-2

HIGHLIGHTS 1/2023 5

Daniel Börtz at 80

Daniel Börtz is without a doubt one of Sweden’s major composers. He will be 80 years old this year and his birthday will be celebrated with several premieres as well as with jubilee concerts.

For Daniel Börtz, the fundamental existential questions are of vital importance. His definitive breakthrough came in 1991 when he collaborated with Ingmar Bergman on the opera Backanterna (The Bacchae). The following year the Stockholm Concert Hall devoted their international composer festival to his music. Almost forty works were performed during the festival, which was a huge success.

Some years later, in 1998, when Stockholm was the European Capital of Culture, his opera Marie Antoinette had its premiere at Folkoperan. It is today the second most frequently performed modern Swedish opera, after Karl-Birger Blomdahl’s Aniara.

The big orchestral works, especially the symphonies – or sinfonias as he chooses to call them – are often grandiose and rich in sonorities. Bruckner – and even Mahler – are mentioned as predecessors and sources of inspiration. During the 1990s the melodic and singable elements acquired more scope in his music. A number of solo concertos were given titles relating to vocal music: Songs and Dances for trumpet and orchestra, Songs and Shadows for violin and orchestra and Songs and Light for clarinet and orchestra.

Sinfonia 13 & 14

Börtz’s Sinfonia 13 had its premiere in May 2019 at the Stockholm Concert Hall. It forms the third part in a triptych which also includes In the Darkness of Voices for choir a cappella with texts by Göran Sonnevi, and the full-length opera Medea, based on Euripides’ drama. Sinfonia 13 contains ten texts from Kjell Espmark’s book ‘The Creation’, in which both anonymous deceased and historical figures are struggling to become alive, in the poems and in us. We encounter war, flight and persecution.

– At first sight the three works in the triptych seem quite different, but all of them originate in a fundamentally dark outlook on life, where only mankind itself has the capacity to influence the world in a brighter direction. This music comprises the blackest darkness, violent aggressiveness and the mildest tenderness. You might perhaps think that Sinfonia 13 could just as well be called an oratorio as a symphony. But firstly, for me maybe the most important ingredient in

an oratorio is a choir, and in Sinfonia 13 there is none; and besides, I seem to have used the ‘symphonic paint brush’ to a very great extent in this work, explains Daniel Börtz.

The work consists of three parts, and in addition to the richly adorned orchestra there are two reciters, as well as three singers, a mezzo-soprano, a countertenor and a baritone. At the bottom of this is a will to expand the whole instrument that is the orchestra. Indeed, Börtz also has a highly developed sensitivity for the voice and the nuances of the text. His thirteenth sinfonia, too, is by far the longest.

– In these three “building blocks” – the choral work, the opera and the sinfonia – there are furthermore features in common dealing with mankind’s relationship to both nature and to how we behave in this world. Which is vital in the times we are living in now, with all the frightful, oppressive things going on around us.

Sinfonia 13 is probably the darkest piece Börtz has ever composed. With Sinfonia 14 for string orchestra he wanted to find a new direction.

– I turned everything over and took a look back at my own Sinfonia 1 from 1973, he says as we talk on the phone.

And in a manner similar to that in the first sinfonia, Sinfonia 14 begins with a soft chord in the major that grows and finally explodes. It was composed expressly for Musica Vitae on the initiative of the orchestra’s former concertmaster and artistic leader, the violinist Malin Broman. In a commentary in connection with the premiere in Växjö on 12 February of this year, Malin said that “Daniel Börtz’s music is always deeply moving, and Sinfonia 14 contains everything: it is dramatic, beautiful and fervent”.

Double Concerto for One & Sinfonia 15

The collaboration with Malin Broman dates back to the 1990s. Börtz has also written expressly for Malin the Double Concerto for One, to be premiered this March.

– At first I intended to write a viola concerto, but after hearing her in some context play both the violin and the viola I realised that I could actually use both instruments in one and the same concerto. In principle, it is designed so that the outer movements are for viola and the middle movement for violin. We didn’t have a commission for this work, but when it was ready the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra said they wanted to perform it, and since then a number of other orchestras have shown interest. I am really quite pleased with this, says Börtz.

After the double concerto Daniel Börtz found time to compose yet another sinfonia, his 15th.

It was written during the pandemic years 2021–22 and is scheduled to be premiered by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic in November 2023. His commentary on the music hints at drama as well as dynamics.

– In Sinfonia 13 the orchestra’s “alternative instruments” are given a sizeable role, e.g. the alto flute, the English horn, the bass clarinet, etc. In Sinfonia 15 these instruments – plus the piccolo, the E-flat clarinet and others – have been brought out further. They play roles in the borderland between light and darkness. They dare to be provocative and with their voices build bridges over what is black and threatening. At times their conviction of something better fails, and the shadow or the darkness enters in. But sometimes there are: light, tranquillity and warmth. That is what Sinfonia 15 is all about.

There is always musical activity going on in Daniel Börtz’s head. He will be 80 in August and does what he wants. In Sara Norling’s biography about him from 2017, he says: “With the right of age I feel a greater freedom to surprise myself and I sometimes let the means of expression decide for me. When you are young it is more difficult to affirm things, as you want to be strict and true to your ideals, or what the heck you may call it.”

And what we can count on Daniel Börtz in the near future affirming and surprising both himself and us with, we will soon surely see in the form of chamber music, he discloses.

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Photo: Hans Lindén

KIRMO LINTINEN Haapaneitty, Mettäntyttö / Skogens dotter, aspens ande (2007) Dur: 30’

A musical tale for narrator and ensemble: fl, ob, string quintet

Text: Arja Puikkonen (Fin), transl.

Paula Roselius (Swe) Lintinen’s stirring idiom joins an exciting story by Puikkonen in a breath-taking adventure in a forest of myths and legends where the leading character meets goblins and gnomes. The music alternates with narration, but sometimes the two overlap, thus raising the intensity. The characters are transported along on delightful themes, dances and short motifs.

CECILIA DAMSTRÖM

Dumma Kungen (The Silly King) (2016–17) Dur: 65’

Libretto: Monica Vikström-Jokela (Swe)

Children’s opera for boy soprano, coloratura soprano, 2S, Mz, T, B, children’s choir & chamber orchestra: 1010-0100-01-pf-acc-str (min 11011)

The Silly King is a fairy tale opera about xenophobia, power abuse, and about daring to embrace what is new and foreign. The self-centered King of My Land passes whatever laws he chooses, one more stupid than the other. When a large number of foreigners from Flatland arrives with the newly built railway, the King tries every trick to stop them. He is annoyed as he can’t control the Flatlanders that speak and sing in a language he does not understand. The Silly King was awarded the Aino Prize 2018 (The Children’s Opera of the Year).

KARIN REHNQVIST

Sötskolan/Beauty School/Die Schönheitsfalle (1999) Dur: 60’

Libretto: Kerstin Perski (Swe/Ger/Eng/Nor)

A horror opera for children from 10 years

2S, 1 Mz, 1 Bar & ensemble: fl, cl, tbn, hp, vln, vla, vlc. The Beauty School is about the constant demands on children to please the adult world with their behaviour and looks. Bella refuses to be her mother’s sweet little girl. She ends up in a nightmarish fantasy world where the countess Mammalia is going to teach her how to be sweet and nice. However, she soon finds out that all the sweet and nice girls are sooner or later offered up to the Vampire! Rehnqvist builds up a musical thriller atmosphere that is challenging with its blend of harsh and shrill dissonances, lovely melodious sections and humour.

KIMMO HAKOLA

Mara and Katti (2011) Dur: 55’

Libretto: Johanna Jokipaltio (Fin)

Children’s opera for 4 soloists, descant choir and ensemble: cl, hp, pf, acc, vla Hakola’s opera provides plenty of food for the imagination. The action-packed story is about Mara, who meets a singing cat called Katti. During their journey, they encounter the rat king, languish in prison and escape on a scooter. Hakola’s virtuoso music switches from one genre to another and creates a musical adventure in which entertainment, humour and sophistication go hand in hand.

ROOPE MÄENPÄÄ

Hyönteissinfonia/Insect Symphony (2021) Dur: 30’ for two narrators (adult, child) and orchestra: 2221-2201-02-str

Text: Roope Mäenpää (Fin/Swe/Eng)

A delightful and ambitious orchestral work with an important ecological message. The narration, in the form of a dialogue, sets out to explore nature and the miraculous world of little organisms. The music is melodic, as befits a piece for the whole family, and in many places calls to mind the speed and colour of film music. Lovely illustrations by Emmi Nieminen add to the experience.

Hipinäaasi apinahiisi (2019–20) Dur: 30’

A musical fairytale for narrator and orchestra: 2221-2201-02-str

Text: Ville Hytönen (Fin)

The fresh, gently anarchistic musical fairytale based on a popular children’s book by Hytönen is about two lonely animals that become friends. It is also a fascinating journey of discovery in the sound world of an orchestra, introducing the stylistic devices of contemporary music in between more traditional ones.

CHRISTOFFER NOBIN

Hion om natten (Hion at Night) (2014) Dur: 65’

Libretto: Henrik Ståhl (Swe)

SATU SIMOLA

The Mouse/Hiiri (2012) Dur: 25’ for narrator and orchestra: 2222-2210-11-pf-str or 2fl-pf-str or ensemble

Text: Satu Simola (Fin/Swe/Eng/Chinese)

This musical adventure is a perfect family concert. It tells of a timid mouse that lives in a machine it has built to protect it from the world. One day, a bird lands on the machine and the mouse has to choose between loneliness and friendship. The charming music is supported by narration and pictures. Available in a choice of languages.

ARMAS JÄRNEFELT

Miranda (1901) Dur: 15’

Alkuperäisteos: Zacharias Topelius

for narrator and orchestra: 2121-2210-03(/4)-str

Näytelmän sovitus: Jalmari Finne

Text: Jalmar Finne (Fin) after Z. Topelius

Sävellys: Armas Järnefelt

Ohjaus ja koreografia: Sanna Heiskanen

Kapellimestari: Janne Saarinen

Apulaiskapellimestari: Juhani Palola

Hiekka-animaatio ja lavastus: Amadeu Vives

This musical fairytale or “melodrama” was discovered hidden in the archives of the Finnish National Library and recently published for the first time. Järnefelt’s music enlivens Topelius’s epic about a princess and her suitors. The seven movements, each of a different nature, reflect the events and the characters’ psychology. The music has panache, force, a lilting waltz-like quality and a touch of oriental mystery.

Valosuunnittelu: Joni Kallio

Valokuvaus: Johannes Wilenius

Graafinen suunnittelu: Ankara Design / Anna Aalto

Vastaava tuottaja: Matti Karhos

Tuotanto: Lahden kaupungin kulttuuripalvelut / Sari Tuominen ja Henna Keihäs

Children’s opera for S, Mz, T, actor, choir, orchestra: 3333-4331-11-str. This is a sad, beautiful, warm, and compelling tale about the little village Hion, where the ruler Michael has decreed that no one should stay awake at night. But the girl Signa is not like the others. One night she is still up when everyone else is lying in their beds. She opens the door and peeks out, and suddenly, everything is changed. Nobin has let the music develop out of the story. It is full of drama, and there are melodies here that linger in one’s memory long after the end of the performance.

BENJAMIN STAERN

Snödrottningen/The Snow Queen/Die Schneekönigin (2016)

Dur: 70’

Libretto: Anelia Kadieva Jonsson after H.C. Andersen (Swe/Ger/Eng)

Family opera for 11 soloists, children’s chorus and orchestra: 2222-2220-02-hppf-str

The Snow Queen is based on H.C. Andersen´s well-known fairy tale about Gerda, who ventures out to save her friend Kai after he has been abducted by the Snow Queen. The evil and the goodness are easily recognizable in the music, depicted with sharp dissonances and noise, or in major/minor harmonies. The music is congenial with the tale, it is full of flashes of wit and swarming with musical references. It is an opera replete with excitement, humour and a heart-warming message, friendship’s victory over evil. The libretto is now also available in German and English.

TIPS Music for children and
REPERTOIRE
families
HIGHLIGHTS 1/2023 7

Highly interesting premiere

The new work also starts out with an airy chord in the major that immediately sharpens all of the listener’s senses… Even though the building blocks are recognizable and in fact rather simple, the composer twists everything together into something very special… one is astonished by the string instruments’ capacity to create such variegated

Highly recommended

sound. Moreover, the music does something inexplicable with one’s perception of time. It is as if it radiates in different directions simultaneously.

Sydsvenska Dagbladet 13.2.

Daniel Börtz: Sinfonia 14 World premiere: Musica Vitae/Malin Broman, 10.2.2023 Växjö, Sweden

Anders Paulsson traverses its [Symphony No. 3] five continuous sections – from an agitatedly expectant ‘Quest’, via the guardedly expressive ‘Solitude’ and assaultive ‘Shudders’, to a plaintively affecting ‘Sad’ before dissolving into the postlude that is ‘Mists’… The Fourth Symphony is among Eliasson’s most characteristic in its formal and expressive aims. Here a powerfully wrought Allegro summons up some of this composer’s most uninhibited music; evolving with no little motivic ingenuity to an Adagio whose concertante role for flugelhorn, eloquently rendered by Joakim Agnas, exudes a wistfully evocative tone. A scherzo-like section marked ‘threatening’ then builds to a climax, from where a brief Adagio returns the flugelhorn for a subdued envoi… the latter two pieces here find his idiom at its most refined, unfolding with a cumulative inevitability that could be thought Nordic in its ethos.

Arcana January 2023

Anders Eliasson: Symphonies Nos 3 & 4, Trombone Concerto CD: Gothenburg SO/Johannes Gustavsson, Royal Stocholm PO/Sakari Oramo, sol. Anders Paulsson, ssax, Christian Lindberg, tbn (BIS-2368)

Text-sensitive tone painter Kortekangas

The highlight of the concert was the premiere of Songs of Meena, in which the vocal mastery of Kortekangas, an old hand at opera, once again came to light… The delicate orchestration never drowned the soloists and he knows the human voice like the back of his hand. Kortekangas is also a master at coaxing out every nuance in the text. Hufvudstadsbladet 4.12.

Olli Kortekangas: Songs of Meena for soprano and orchestra World premiere: Helsinki PO/Osmo Vänskä, sol. Tuuli Takala, 29.11.2022 Helsinki, Finland

Helvi Leiviskä concerts

Her style and way of executing a symphony are utterly original… What is familiar is her linear counterpoint, an extremely tight polyphonic texture that rises to impressive climaxes in the brass but sometimes acquires hints of humour. Amfion.fi 7.12.

Helvi Leiviskä: Symphony No. 2 (1954)

Lahti SO/Anna-Maria Helsing, 6.12.2022 Lahti, Finland

We heard the Piano Trio and Piano Quartet…both with French influences brought to Finland by Erkki Melartin… The piano part is demanding, even tough in the Trio, whereas the Quartet is expansively symphonic music for chamber ensemble. Long impressionistic timbral sweeps from which supporting themes develop. The work ends with a jubilant, triumphant finale. Amfion.fi 7.12.

Helvi Leiviskä: Piano Trio (1925), Piano Quartet (1926/1935)

Linda Suolahti, vl, Elina Heikkinen, vla, Kati Raitinen, vlc, Tiina Karakorpi, pf, Fanny Söderström, pf, 3.12.2022 Helsinki, Finland (Kokonainen Festival)

Inventive and arresting Sandström

Sandström’s Five Pieces for piano and orchestra is more reminiscent of five cohesive character pieces, where the music seems both rowdy and beautiful. Gentler sounds strive towards higher registers, like an “ascension”, to use the composer’s own words.

Opus No. 1 2023

The suite is a very fine piece of music, full of invention, with many arresting orchestral gestures. It amounts to a most satisfying whole. MusicWeb International 16.2.

Sven-David Sandström: Five Pieces for Piano and Orchestra

CD: Gothenburg SO/Ryan Bancroft, sol. Peter Friis Johansson (BIS-2576)

HIGHLIGHTS 1/2023 8 REVIEWS
Photo: Henna Salmela Photo: Kuvasiskot studio/Museovirasto www.finna.fi Musica Vitae. Photo: Lina Alriksson Olli Kortekangas Helvi Leiviskä

The Mountain King

Conductor Patrik Ringborg makes of the Malmö Symphony Orchestra an enthusiastic instrument, conjuring up the myth of nature’s destruction with Alfvén’s grandiose orchestral palette and sly leitmotifs: chromatically winding as in Richard Strauss, glittering and dancing as in Bizet and blackened as in Weill and Sibelius… When the score after 100 years (!) has been transformed from a handwritten manuscript to a printed edition, there are no excuses for not playing the work in its entirety. For “The Mountain King” is something of a Swedish “Fire Bird” or “Don Juan” – and it has an important message to tell. Dagens Nyheter 2.12.

Hugo Alfvén: The Mountain King (Bergakungen – complete ballet music)

Malmö SO/Patrik Ringborg, 1.12.2022 Malmö, Sweden

Impressive Puumala Violin Concerto

Tree of Memories was just taking shape when Puumala’s father fell ill, deteriorated and passed away… Puumala says that the work is about memory and the vanishing of memories… It is easy for the listener to get caught up in the richly-nuanced idiom reaching out in many directions, with its refined orchestration and at times surprisingly alluring intonation, its spectral-like orchestral textures and its ghosts from even as far back as Romanticism. Carolin Widmann’s solo varied fascinatingly between rough and smooth, being pungently theatrical at its most impressive. Rondo 12/2022

Veli-Matti Puumala: Violin Concerto “Tree of Memories”

World premiere: Finnish RSO/Jukka-Pekka Saraste, sol. Carolin Widmann, 6.12. 2022 Helsinki, Finland

Extraordinary imagination

In my view Kalevi Aho is the greatest composer now living. (…) because he has not only an extraordinary imagination and a good grasp of structure, but because, unlike so many composers out there (even the good ones), he uses far more than just one style of composing. One can go from piece to piece and sometimes be quite surprised that what you are hearing is the work of the same composer…. One of the reasons I love Aho’s music so much is that it is not at all cold. On the contrary, it is generally bristling with both emotion and energy. He always has a “long view” of where his music is going and what it will do once it arrives there. He also has a great instinct for avoiding anything resembling a cliché, particularly in the endings of movements. ArtMusic Lounge 10.2.

Kalevi Aho: Violin Concerto No. 2, Cello Concerto No. 2

CD: Kymi Sinfonietta/Olari Elts, sol. Elina Vähälä, vln, Jonathan Roozeman, vlc (BIS-2466)

A Wennäkoski CD bursting with energy

Composing a curtain raiser for the last night of the Proms is no easy job, but Lotta Wennäkoski really did it in 2017: Flounce was an international hit. Also on the disc are two other brilliant works, and the result is bursting with orchestral energy… Wennäkoski propels the listener along with strength and determination, but the rhythm is as rich as the timbres and orchestral effects. The solo harpist in Sigla is spot on with the dancing rhythms and in the process shatters all the superfluous preconceived ideas about the instrument… Sedecim relies on almost intoxicating orchestral effects, but here again the music swirls swiftly along. The FRSO and Collon really have to get their swing act together in the closing movement. Yle.fi 18.2.

Lotta Wennäkoski: Harp Concerto “Sigla”, Flounce, Sedecim

CD: Finnish RSO/Nicholas Collon, sol. Sivan Magen (Ondine ODE-1420-2)

VELI-MATTI PUUMALA

String Quartet No. 2

Kamus Quartet • 2.3. Helsinki, Finland (Musica Nova festival)

KALEVI AHO

Fragen (Duo for two violins)

Rémy & Iris Ballot • 7.3. Vienna, Austria

Concerto for Baritone Horn and Orchestra

Kymi Sinfonietta/Okko Kamu, sol. Mizuho Kojima-Haarala

7.6. Kotka, Finland (Kymijoen Lohisoitto festival)

PASI LYYTIKÄINEN

Sweet Septet

New European Ensemble/Ivan Buffa • 12.3. Hague, The Netherlands

MATTHEW WHITTALL

January – Wind Quintet

Arktinen hysteria • 15.3. Oulu, Finland (Oulunsalo soi festival)

KAI NIEMINEN

Two Pieces for Wind Quintet

Jyväskylä Sinfonia Quintet • 18.3. Jyväskylä, Finland

Quartetto V per archi – Dietro delle Maschere

Q Quartets • 19.4. Liverpool, UK

CECILIA DAMSTRÖM

Science Frictions (Conferment jubilee cantata)

Academic Choral Society, Helsinki University SO/Aku Sorensen, sol. David Hackston, Ctenor • 20.3. Helsinki, Finland

Renewables for solo accordion

MSH 50th Accordion Competition • 21.4. Helsinki, Finland

DANIEL BÖRTZ

Double Concerto for One

Norrköping SO/Simon Crawford-Phillips, sol. Malin Broman, vln & vla 23.3. Norrköping, Sweden

PER GUNNAR PETERSSON

Spring Has Now Unwrapped the Flowers

King’s Singers, Mogens Dahl Chamber Choir/Mogens Dahl 29.3. Copenhagen, Denmark

TOBIAS BROSTRÖM

Rubedo: The Red Chapter

Royal Stockholm PO/Johannes Gustavsson

30.3. Stockholm, Sweden (Stockholm Composer Weekend Festival)

Piano Quintet

Stenhammar Quartet, David Huang, pf

2.4. Stockholm, Sweden (Stockholm Composer Weekend Festival)

ALBERT SCHNELZER

SALT

Gothenburg SO/Gothenburg Symphonic Choir/Joana Carneiro, sol. Mari Eriksmoen, sop, Anders Larsson, bar • 20.4. Gothenburg, Sweden

KIMMO HAKOLA

Piano Quintet

Kimmo Hakola, pf, Kaija Saarikettu, vl, Lea Tuuri, vl, Eri Sugita, vla, Sami Mäkelä, vlc 26.4. Helsinki, Finland

Sinfonische Elegien for soprano and ensemble

Lux camerata/Kimmo Hakola, sol. Piia Komsi • 26.4. Helsinki, Finland

MATS LARSSON GOTHE

The Pigeons

Swedish Radio Choir/Kaspar Putnins • 29.4. Stockholm, Sweden

SVEN-DAVID SANDSTRÖM

Te Deum for mixed choir and orchestra

Philharmonischer Chor Berlin, Academy Chamber Choir of Uppsala, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt/Stefan Parkman

7.5. Berlin, Germany

MIKKO HEINIÖ

New work for guitar and piano

Patrik Kleemola, gtr, Pasi Helin, pf • 18.5. Turku, Finland

MATTHEW PETERSON

Högalidsmässan for mixed choir, brass quartet, percussion, organ and string orchestra

Högalidskyrkan Choir & CO/Benedikt Melichar, Nils Larsson, org 10.6. Stockholm, Sweden

BENJAMIN STAERN

En strimma hav

Gothenburg SO & Vocal Ensemble, Side by Side Youth Music Camp/Ron Davis Alvarez • 29.6. Gothenburg, Sweden

HIGHLIGHTS 1/2023
MARCH–JUNE
PREMIERES
9
Veli-Matti Puumala & Carolin Widmann Photo: Tuula Sarotie Photo: Dan Hansson Patrik Ringborg

NEW PUBLICATIONS

CHORAL/VOCAL

TIMO ALAKOTILA

Valo for female choir

Text: wordless

FG 9790550118232

THOMAS JENNEFELT

Sieben Liebeslieder for mezzo-soprano and piano

Text: Else Lasker-Schüler (Ger)

GE 14448

LARS KARLSSON

Tre naturscener for descant choir

Text: Gustav Fröding (Swe)

FG 9790550118386

Julinatt på ön for mixed choir

Text: Arvid Mörne (Swe)

FG 9790550118379

Mare crisium for mixed choir

Text: Paula Hiekkala (Fin)

FG 9790550118355

ROBERT S. KELLY/EDWARD EKLÖF, ARR

Cry for mixed choir and baritone solo

Text: Robert S. Kelly (Eng)

GE 14340

MATS LARSSON GOTHE

Four arias from the opera The Promise for soprano and piano

Text: Susanne Marko (Swe)

GE 14446

The Pigeons for mixed choir

Text: Håkan Sandell, English transl. Bill Coyle

GE 14456

OLLE LINDBERG

Lacrimosa from A Requiem for the Living for mixed choir

Text: from Requiem Mass (Lat)

GE 14425

PER-GUNNAR PETERSSON

Spring Has Now Unwrapped the Flowers for double choir

Text: Piae Cantiones (Lat & Eng)

GE 14470

KARIN REHNQVIST

Blodhov (Bloodhof)

Monodrama for mezzo-soprano and eight instruments

Text: Gerður Kristný, Swedish transl. Johan Swedenmark

GE 14094 (score)

ALBERT SCHNELZER

Two pieces from the oratorio SALT

Det är en strimma hav for mixed choir

Text: Edith Södergran (Swe)

GE 14343

Jag är vigd åt vida vatten for mixed choir

Text: Karin Boye (Swe)

GE 14344

BENJAMIN STAERN

In paradisum

Song to the people of Ukraine for mixed choir

Text: Antiphon from Requiem Mass (Lat)

GE 14408

MARTIN ÅSANDER

Come, My Beloved for mixed choir

Text: Song of Solomon, 7:10-12 (Eng)

GE 14383

JEAN SIBELIUS

Drömmarna (JS 64) for mixed choir

Text: Jonatan Reuter (Swe)

FG 9790550118362

Den 25 Oktober 1902 (settings 1 [JS60] & 2 [JS 61]) for mixed choir

Text: Nils Wasastjerna (Swe)

FG 9790550118348

En etsi valtaa, loistoa / Giv mig ej guld, ej glans, ej prakt (We ask for Nothing Rich or Rare) for male choir

Text: Z. Topelius (Swe/Fin)

FG 9790550118331

These three new Sibelius editions are based on the complete critical edition “Jean Sibelius Works “(JSW). Den 25 Oktober 1902 includes two different settings to the same text.

#SWEDISHCHORALMUSIC 2022

SUSANNA LINDMARK

Tschitta saltunza (The Butterfly’s Dance) for mixed choir

Text: Arnold Spescha (Romansh)

GE 14355

KRISTIN WARFVINGE

Une charogne (A Carcass) for mixed choir and mezzo-soprano solo

Text: Charles Baudelaire (Fr)

GE 14359

CHAMBER & INSTRUMENTAL

KALEVI AHO

Quartet for flute, alto saxophone, guitar & percussion

FG 9790550118157 (score & parts)

TIMO ALAKOTILA

La cantina – String Quartet No. 3

FG 9790550118256 (score & parts)

CECILIA DAMSTRÖM

Letters - from Leos to Kamila

String Quartet No. 2

GE 13612 (score),

GE 13613 (parts)

MAIJA HYNNINEN

Nine-channelled Pearl for piano quintet

FG 9790550118317 (score & parts)

LARS KARLSSON

Recitativo ed aria for flute and organ

FG 9790550118447

Serenade for a Friend for violin (flute) & piano (organ)

FG 9790550118409

OLLI KORTEKANGAS

Vida vingar

Partita for piano and organ

FG 9790550118263

OLLI KOSKELIN

7 Haiku (Seitsemän haikua) for flute and guitar

FG 9790550115521

For further information contact us at:

Gehrmans Musikförlag AB

Box 42026, SE-126 12 Stockholm, Sweden

Tel. +46 8 610 06 00

info@gehrmans.se

Web shop: www.gehrmans.se

Hire: hire@gehrmans.se

Sales: order@gehrmans.se

MATS LARSSON GOTHE

Caccio for solo violion

GE 14099

KAI NIEMINEN Hymnos IV (Waterscapes…) for clarinet

FG 979055011843-0

JUHANI NUORVALA

Prélude non retouché for organ

FG 9790550118300

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH/ ESTHER BOBROVA LANGE, ARR.

Waltz No. 2 from Suite for Variety Orchestra for piano 4 hands

FG 9790550118393

ORCHESTRA/ENSEMBLE & REDUCTIONS

TOBIAS BROSTRÖM

Tragic Ouverture for brass band

GE 14291 (score), GE 14292 (parts), GE 14293 (study score)

CLAUDE DEBUSSY/ TOBIAS BROSTRÖM, ORCH.

Ariettes oubliées for soprano and string orchestra

Text: Paul Verlaine (Fr)

GE 14418 (score)

MIKKO HEINIÖ

Alla madre – Concerto per violino ed pianoforte Reduction for violin and piano

FG 9790550118249 (solo part & piano reduction)

LARS KARLSSON Clarinet Concerto Reduction for clarinet and piano

FG 9790550118324 (solo part & piano reduction)

LARA POE Contradanse for eight wind instruments

9790550166967 (score & parts)

AULIS SALLINEN

Serenade for two wind quartets

FG 9790550118270 (score & parts)

TUTORS

GÉZA SZILVAY

Colourstrings Violin ABC –Opettajien ja vanhempien opas (Handbook for Teachers and Parents, in Finnish)

FG 9790550118461 (revised edition)

MERI LOUHOS – CARLOS JURIS –HUI-YING LIU-TAWASTSTJERNA

Pianon avain (Piano Key)original repertoire for beginners

FG 9790550118089 (revised edition)

Fennica Gehrman Oy Ab

PO Box 158, FI-00121 Helsinki, Finland

Tel. +358 10 3871 220

info@fennicagehrman.fi

Web shop: www.fennicagehrman.fi

Hire: hire@fennicagehrman.fi

Sales: customerservice@kirjavalitys.fi

Most new FG publications are also available as pdf files in Fennica Gehrman’s web shop. Several new Ebooks (eg. Colourstrings materials) are now also available.

Caccio for solo violin
Gothe
Mats Larsson
Tschitta saltunza The Butterfly’s Dance Thomas Jennefelt Sieben Liebeslieder von Else Lasker-Schüler Mezzosopran und Klavier
from A Requiem for the Living A Journey Towards Eternal Light
OLLE LINDBERG Lacrimosa Albert Schnelzer Det är en strimma hav SATB div cappella
In paradisum Come My Beloved
SATB a
Benjamin Staern
Martin Åsander
cappella
Letters String Quartet No. 2 Letters from Leos to Kamila
Cecilia Damström Tobias Broström Tragic Overture
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