Nordic Highlights No. 3 2021

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Focus on


Stockholm premiere for the Snow Queen Photo: Kungliga Operan/Markus Gårder

Photo: FrodeWendel

NEWS Benjamin Staern’s and Anelia Kadieva Jonsson’s family opera The Snow Queen will have its Stockholm premiere at the Royal Opera on 9 December. Based on H.C. Andersen’s fairy tale, it has been a great success earlier at the Malmö Opera and in the German version at Theater Vorpommern in Stralsund. There is now also an English translation of the libretto by David Pountney. The Stockholm production is directed by Elisabeth Linton, the conductor is Cathrine Winnes and the leading parts include Susanna Stern as the Snow Queen, Frida Johansson as Gerda, and Wiktor Sundqvist as Kai. The opera can be seen at the Royal Opera in Stockholm until 28 December.

Matthew Peterson Rehearsals at the Royal Opera House.





Editors: Henna Salmela and Kristina Fryklöf Translations: Susan Sinisalo and Robert Carroll Cover: Eva Braun opera by Pasi Lyytikäinen (Markku Pihlaja), Pictures of Life by Olli Kortekangas (Johan Hagström), Löftet by Mats Larsson Gothe (Kungliga Operan/Henrik Halvarson) , Stilla min eld by Fredrik Högberg & Nicolai Dunger (Anders Alm) Design: Tenhelp Oy and video symbols in the text. Click the sound Other material is available at ISSN 2000-2750 (Online)




Paavo Heininen

Paavo Heininen The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Dima Slobodeniouk is to premiere the Symphony No. 7 by Paavo Heininen on 26 November. Lasting 32 minutes, the symphony was written last year, and despite suffering from very poor health, Heininen has managed to complete a further eighth symphony. Many of his numerous piano pieces composed this century still have not been performed. To fill this gap, the Sibelius Academy held a concert on 15 September that included pieces from his large set of Etudes, Op. 104a–d. There are also some Heininen Etudes on the programme for the Tampere Piano Competition in September.

New concertos by Kalevi Aho Kalevi Aho continues to write new concertos; these already number no fewer than 37. His Recorder Concerto was premiered on 2 September 2021 at a concert by the Saimaa Sinfonietta in Mikkeli, when the soloist was Eero Saunamäki. Also in the premiere pipeline are a Double Concerto for Viola and Percussion to be heard for the first time at a concert by the Lah­ ti Symphony Orchestra in March 2022. The soloists will be Hiyoli Togawa (vla) and Alexej Gerassimez (perc), who has also been the soloist in Aho’s popular Sieidi . Aho has also written a 23-minute Concerto for Alto Flute and String Orchestra. The premiere is scheduled for February 2022 in Skopje, North Macedonia with Matei Ioachimescu as the soloist. A Double Concerto for Flute and Harp has been composed on the initiative of Anneleen Lenaerts (hp) and Marina Piccinini (fl) and awaits its first performance. Aho also has plans for a Piccolo Clarinet Concerto for Kuopio in 2022. Fennica Gehrman is coordinating joint commissions; please contact us for further information.

Photo: Romain Etienne

Matthew Peterson is the first recipient of the recently established Sven-David Sandström Choral Composition Award. The prize includes a commission of a large a cappella work to be premiered by the Swedish Radio Choir under the direction of Kaspar Putnins in connection with Sandström’s memorial day on 29 October 2022. One of the world’s most prestigious choral conductor competitions, The Eric Ericson Award, will take place for the fourth time on 21–24 October in Stockholm. The finals programme will include Anna-Karin Klockar’s Speeches, Nana Forte’s En ego campana, Folke Rabe’s To love, L-J Werle’s Canzone 126 di Francesco Petrarca, Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Die erste Elegie and Sven-David Sandström’s Drei Gedichte von Egon Schiele. The winner will get to conduct concerts with 11 prominent radio choirs within the EBU and will receive a prize in the amount of SEK 100 000. The competition is arranged by the Swedish Radio in collaboration with the Rosenborg-Gehrmans Foundation, the Royal Swedish Academy of Music and the EBU.

Photo: Fimic/Saara Vuorjoki

Choral Awards

Photo: Mikko Kauppinen

Wennäkoski FRSO spotlight composer

Haglund and Gessle in collaboration Per Gessle (song writer and member of the former Swedish rock pop duo Roxette) has written the lyrics to Tommie Haglund’s new vocal work Making Something Out of Nothing for soprano and orchestra. The piece was recorded on 1 September by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, conductor Joachim Gustafsson and soprano Emmi Christensson. The recording will be released on digital platforms this autumn and on vinyl in connection with the Tommie Haglund Festival in Halmstad on 21-24 April 2022, where the song also will receive its Swedish premiere. The world premiere will be in March with the Bogota Symphony Orchestra in Colombia.

Ann-Sofi Söderqvist has composed a Concerto for Trumpet, Trombone and Orchestra on commission from the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. ”The concerto, And the mother sings… , finds inspiration and strength from the rich source that is the very foundation for all of us – Our Mother, Our Planet, Our Earth. If we listen, we can hear how she sings for us with her unbelievable force and beauty”, says Söderqvist. The premiere will take place in the Stockholm Concert Hall on 23 February 2022, with soloists Joakim Agnas, trumpet and Karl Frisendahl, trombone, under the direction of Nikolaj Znaider. Photo: Pelle Piano

Photo: Gunnar Helgesson

Lotta Wennäkoski is the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s spotlight composer for the 2021/2022 season, when it will be performing numerous works and Sedecim during by her: Flounce the autumn season, followed in January by her popular Flute Concerto, Soie with Kaisa Kortelainen as the soloist. The Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle) has commissioned a new work from her: a Harp Concerto to be premiered at the FRSO concert on 18 May. The soloist will be Sivan Magen and the conductor the FRSO’s new Chief Conductor Nicholas Collon.

Ann-Sofi Söderqvist’s Double Concerto

Historical treasures Fennica Gehrman is taking part in three historical treasures projects highlighting women composers in particular. The HUOM (History’s Unheard Orchestral Music) project of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra is picking out items in the archives and giving them a play-through. The first to be published was Siri Brander’s Elegie (1894) , which the HPO performed in March 2021. The sheet music can be purchased online from Fennica. The Savo Music Society has been seeking out old sheet music, broadening the focus from Nordic names to European women composers. Materials are being prepared for performance starting with works by Helvi Leiviskä, Ida Moberg, Laura Netzel and Elfrida Andrée. Moberg’s Stillhet for string orchestra, is already on sale. The Finnish Musical Heritage Society is publishing quality sheet music of works previously preserved only in manuscript or problematic first editions. The composers include Ernest Pingoud, Oskar Merikanto and Karl Müller-Berghaus. The works in all three projects will be distributed via Fennica Gehrman.

Ann-Sofi Söderqvist

US premiere by Martinaitytè The New York Philharmonic 2021–22 season includes the US Premiere of Saudade by Lithuanian composer Žibuoklė Martinaitytė on 17–19 February 2022 led by Santtu-Matias Rouvali. Fennica Gehrman has recently signed a publishing agreement with Martinaitytė who is said to be the next trending Baltic composer (see: Reviews). Saudade is one of the four orchestral works released recently on CD by Ondine Records.

Posthumous Sandström premiere

Mogens Dahl, Sven-David Sandström & Jacob Holtze

Sven-David Sandström’s Sonnets of Darkness and Love was premiered posthumously on 19 September in Copenhagen by the Mogens Dahl Chamber Choir and the soloist Nils Landgren (trombone and vocals). The lyrics are compiled by Jacob Holtze and include texts taken from ‘the Song of Songs’, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Lorca’s ‘Sonnets of Dark Love’ and Nietzsche’s ‘Ariadne’s Complaint’. Sandström and the Mogens Dahl Chamber Choir had a long and prosperous collaboration including among others the commissions of Nordic Mass (2013) and The Passion of John (2014).

Rautavaara opera on stage New performance dates for Einojuhani Rautavaara’s opera The House of the Sun (Auringon talo) by the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences are 15., 16. and 17. October. This opera buffa is about emigrant twin sisters whose family becomes isolated with tragic consequences. The old sisters escape from their sad life into the memories of their glorious youth. HIGHLIGHTS



Die Zaubermelodika premieres at the Komische Oper Berlin Iiro Rantala is in great demand for opera at the moment. Die Zaubermelodika, a family opera commissioned by the Komische Oper Berlin, will be premiered on 24 October, and an English version of Sanatorio Express (Pikaparantola) is planned for Australia. A pianist and composer with a keen sense of humour, Rantala seems right now to be riding the crest of the comic-opera wave. What inspired him to write Die Zaubermelodika, and what connections does it have with Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)?


Photo: Lotta Kuusisto

t all began with an idea put to the Finnish National Opera by Iiro Rantala and librettist-writer-journalist Minna Lindgren for a hilarious opera, Sanatorio Express, addressing topics very much in the news: dieting, social media, and mindfulness. The Komische Oper Berlin (KOB) sent a team over to Finland to hear the opera in 2018 and were very taken with its humour, its plot, and the fact that it was melodious. They had been thinking of commissioning a family opera anyway, and according to Rantala, made a spot decision there and then. “We took the KOB guys out for a reindeer burger and I think that clinched it,” he jokes.

From football to melodica “While we were talking, we also lobbied for an opera on a football theme Minna and I had been working on. In this opera, the members of a Finnish women’s football team challenge an Italian male team to a match. The KOB was, however, more taken with the idea of Die Zaubermelodika we’d been hatching with stage director Ville Saukkonen.” The KOB has strong ties with Mozart’s Magic Flute. The production of stage director Barrie Kosky making brilliant use of animation has toured the world and been a great hit, but a sequel to The Magic Flute? Whatever next! But it’s one of the few operas in which no one dies, Minna Lindgren chips in – so it’s possible and fun to invent what happens to the characters later. The Magic Flute is also one of the few operas suitable for a young audience.




Iiro Rantala and Minna Lindgren

Minna Lindgren’s libretto for Die Zaubermelodika cleverly juggles with the familiar cast while neatly exploiting the Magic Flute plot. Papageno and Papagena have been blessed with a horde of offspring that make up the Papa Kids choir. The venerable Sarastro needed replacing. He is suffering from memory loss and sings: “Help, help, I’ve forgotten who I am.” Monostatos becomes a hero in the leading role. Three gnomes represent the three little boys. The Queen of the Night is past her soprano prime and can’t quite fire off her staccatos in the way she used to. She is now the Queen of the Drag Night and sung by a baritone able to soar to countertenor heights. The three ordeals have been given a Finnish spice at the commissioning Opera’s request,

so they are now a sauna contest, swimming through a hole in a frozen lake, and sitting on an anthill.

A real musical romp Rantala’s opera is a real musical romp. The magic melodica theme is present throughout, and the march theme of the gnomes’ first entry is varied all along the line. Mozart, Bernstein, musicals and night-club jazz all flit through the score, and the music is as an eclectic mixture that at no point seems contrived. It proceeds in long sweeps and broad arias in a fresh take on the modern opera concept. The opera is scored for a sinfonietta-sized orchestra, and Rantala plays the piano and melodica. “A corny melodica was my first instrument! Before I got a piano, someone

bought me a Hohner melodica that almost put me off music altogether,” he chuckles. Originally written in English, the opera is to be performed in German, in a translation by the KOB’s head dramaturge Ulrich Lenz. The stage director is Nicole Weber and the conductor Koen Schoots. The soloists include Alma Sadé, Johannes Dunz, Philipp Meierhöfer, Christoph Späth, Stefan Sevenich and Nikita Voronkova. After the premiere in Berlin on 24 October 2021, the opera will be on the KOB programme until February 2022. Plans are also being made for an English version of Sanatorio Express. People at the Australian Contemporary Opera Company saw it on Opera Vision, decided they liked it and asked for an English translation. This was duly provided by Minna Lindgren with Rantala’s collaboration to adjust the music to the new text. So Australia will be premiering an almost new version. A man of many talents who never seems to tire, Iiro Rantala is always ready to try his hand at something new, exciting and unpredictable. He began his career over 30 years ago as a jazz pianist but is nowadays increasingly oriented towards classical music. But one thing he refuses to ditch is humour. “Whatever I’m doing, my aim is to entertain, whether it’s a jazz piano gig, an opera, whatever. Anyone can be serious; it’s much more difficult to be amusing and make people laugh.” Henna Salmela

Mats Larsson Gothe:

Photo: Maria Gothe

”I have no inhibitions”


he war is over, but certainly not the suffering. The story of the opera The Promise takes place right after the end of the World War II. In the concentration camp Ava and her husband Teo have been separated, and when the camps are opened, she begins a desparate search for him. In the opera’s propitious prologue set in Hungary in 1943, the young couple gets married – only to be deported shortly thereafter. The opera plunges down into the darkness that follows, to the remaining ruins of our world. Ava makes her way through a severely damaged and traumatised Europe, at times in dreamy and nightmarish scenes. The librettist Susanne Marko has characterised this as “a time outside of time”, when the victims of the war try to recapture their humanity. Ava does not give up her hope to be reunited with Teo, even if her wandering is seemingly hopeless. Larsson Gothe relates that Susanne Marko, born 1947 in Budapest, and for many years active as a dramaturge at the Stockholm City Theatre, gave him a call sometime around 2015. She had an idea for an opera. – At the time I was quite stressed with other commissions and probably did not sound really interested. But Susanne Marko sent me a rough draft of the text. Getting emotionally involved is a good way to begin work on a project; and I was moved. So what was it in the text that convinced Mats Larsson Gothe that he should compose yet another full-length opera? – For the first time I did not need to cut down or trim a text. Of course, we made a number of changes before I started to compose, but everything went off very smoothly. With a concentrated libretto like this I could allow the singing a great deal of scope. – No long-drawn-out recitatives. Here I have been able to build up big lines in the singing parts. This is something I have wanted to do for many years: instead of using Sprechgesang, to let the orchestra merge more with the singing.

Mats Larsson Gothe is now an experienced opera composer and speaks about the importance of going as far as possible when it comes to dramatic clarity. In his fifth opera Löftet (The Promise), to be be premiered at the Royal Swedish Opera on 27 January 2022, he has also written the aria of his life. When you started composing, what music influenced you in just this case? – The opera has an explicit Jewish theme, and I studied Jewish music. Just a few years earlier, in 2010, I had written The Return of Lillith for ensemble and choir to a text by the Lebanese poet Joumana Haddad. At that time I studied Arabian music and Arabic maqam (a kind of scale system or mode). What I now discovered in Jewish music was sometimes identical to it. For example, there is a choral movement at the beginning of the opera with the Chorus of the Survivors that is based on a scale I had previously found in Arabian music. – In Jewish music there is also an element of lament that corresponds quite well to the content of the opera. After a while I got the chanting of the synagogues in my bloodstream. But there are no quotations, except for Mazel tov, which is played at the wedding in the beginning of the opera. Does this mean that Mats Larsson Gothe has disguised himself? – I spoke now only of the background. To be able to paint you have to mix the colours. I blended the colours for The Promise. Then what is ”Mats” or not, I can’t form an opinion about that. But does it lead you in new directions when you do this kind of research? – It gives me a framework within which I can work, and this also has an effect on the homogeneity. In this case, with the Jewish element and the augmented intervals that occur so often in the opera. In The Promise the chorus is also important. Or rather the choruses. – This is really a choral opera.There are two ”chorus roles”: the Chorus of the Dead, and the Chorus of the Survivors. – I have actually viewed this work as a dramatic oratorio, music that will be able to stand on its own two feet and even be performed in a concert version, as are sometimes the classic operas. It would be nice if I managed to create a new kind of opera that is not merely illustra-

tive music. This requires that the music forms a strong structure as an independent composition. In the main section of the narrative Ava is in focus; we follow her searching for Teo. He will return to the plot later on, but he also appears in Ava’s dreams and apparitions in the meantime. How have the dream sequences been solved? – In a musical sense, the transition occurs with a clear breach of style, as in a scene rather early in the opera when Teo disengages from the chorus. In the dreamy state my music is transformed into something like Puccini. This makes it clear that we find ourselves in another world. Larsson Gothe stresses the importance of clarity, excesses and contrasts when he composes an opera. – It’s about pulling out all the stops. All means must be used to the fullest. I have no inhibitions. The big challenge is to do it within the same composition, so that it doesn’t become a collage. Right at the end of The Promise there is a moving and uncluttered aria. – This is when Ava finds Teo and tries to make contact with him, to win him back. He seems to have given up… and she starts to sing. ”Come into my life, my friend.” It was the librettist, Susanne Marko, who convinced me that this aria should be simple, not what I had first imagined. This is the most intimate, beautiful and tender music I have ever written. Do you yourself sing while composing? – I do, but perhaps not always so beautifully. While we worked together, Susanne and I, I sang through the opera many times. After a while her cat started to attack me. A musical cat. Finally we had to lock it up in another room until I was finished. The music is at times so dramatic that it made the cat snap. I hope my audiences will be just as deeply moved. Tony Lundman The Promise will have its world premiere at the Royal Opera in Stockholm on 27 January 2022, the international memorial day for the victims of the Holocaust. Alan Gilbert will conduct and the director will be Stefan Larsson. The leading part will be sung by soprano Hanna Husáhr.




DANIEL BÖRTZ Medea (2012-14) Dur: 130’

Libretto: Daniel Börtz after Euripides (Sw/Ger) 7 sol, speaking part, women’s choir and orch: 3333-4331-05-1-str

The opera is based on the myth of Medea from Colchis, who carries out a bloody revenge after being abandoned by her husband Jason, and finally even takes the life of her two children. The music ranges from intensive suggestion and restless strings, over vibrating emotions, marked rhythmical percussion accents and violent outbursts, to endless tranquillity in chaos. It delves deep into the human psyche, especially Medea’s, a demanding role for a dramatic soprano who is on stage the whole time. The choir of women follows Medea’s fate, they comment and react.

KIMMO HAKOLA Akseli (2012) Dur: 70’

Libretto: Pekka Hako (Fin) baritone and chamber ensemble (8 players)

A monologue opera originally composed for Jorma Hynninen, Akseli tells of the great Finnish painter Akseli Gallén-Kallela (1865–1931) in a metaphorical portrait of his mindscapes and creative passion. The libretto traces the young artist to Paris, and from there to Berlin and light-filled Africa. Hakola’s music is at times bursting with National-Romantic melody, waltz rhythms and elements of folk and electronic music, with an intensity that never flags.

MIKKO HEINIÖ Johanna (2016-18) Dur: 105’

Libretto: Pirkko Saisio (Fin) 7 sol, chorus and orch: 2222-2210-10-str

Due to cancelled performance plans the opera Johanna is now available for a premiere – an opportunity worth grabbing! The powerful libretto weaves together the stories of 15th-century Joan of Arc and Johanna, a 21st-century drama-queen entertainer. On the surface, it is about two provocative, charismatic women – but also their abuse and exploitation. Joan/Johanna is a dual role, one for each historical context, and the same applies for other singers. Heiniö’s music has his strong signature rhythmic and sensual charge and there are some mighty choral scenes.

FREDRIK HÖGBERG/NICOLAI DUNGER Stilla min eld (Appease My Fire) (2016) Dur: 120’ Libretto: Kerstin Gezelius/Alexander Onofri (Sw/Eng) 5 sol, fl-cl-pf- perc-string trio

The plot is set in a luxurious flat in central London. Hans K. Rausing, heir to the TetraPak conglomerate, locks himself in with his dead wife Eva for two months. The two had vowed eternal love to one another, not even death could separate them. A poignant and deeply tragic story about love and drug abuse, based on true events. The music is kept close to the feelings described in the text. It is very direct and melodious with a dark, melancholy tone.

FREDRIK HÖGBERG The Woman of Cain (2009-13) Dur: 135’

Libretto: Tove Alsterdal (Eng) 8 sol, speaking part, choir, dancers and orch: 3333-4231-13-1-str

This is the story about the woman of Cain, whose origin and identity until now have remained unknown. It is a story about the people who believed they were the first people on earth; a drama about truth and lies, forbidden love, the everlasting dream of a paradise and human struggle to control life itself. With irresistible post-modern music and optional spectacular multimedia scenographics noted in the score.

OLLI KORTEKANGAS Elämänkuvat (Pictures of Life) (2018) Dur: 55’ Libretto: Pia Perkiö (Fin) 2 sol (soprano, baritone), chorus and orch: 2121-2110-11-cemb-str

This church opera is a recent gem: music of both bubbling joy and resignation tinged with melancholy, along with mystical allusions to the other world. The vocal parts are skilfully written, Kortekangas being thoroughly familiar with the human voice. Included is an impressive orchestral intermezzo, which according to the critics is possibly the finest music by Kortekangas





Topical operas ever heard. The libretto lets the different time perspectives meet in an emotionally touching way with two main characters in dialogue: Maalari (a Painter) and Mariia.

JYRKI LINJAMA Kolme kirjettä Laestadiukselle (Three Letters to Laestadius) (2015-17)

Photo: Tomas Terekas


Dur: 110’ Libretto: Michael Baran (Fin) 2 sol (baritone, mezzo-soprano), hn-perc-cembvl-vla-vc

This significant polemic church opera has aroused a wealth of emotions and speaks to listeners regardless of religious background. Laestadius encounters an angel, sees flashbacks from his own life and receives letters from women contemporaries abused by the religious community. It is to these women that he speaks; his questions are addressed to God. The result is an impressive drama acted out in intense and subtle music.

PASI LYYTIKÄINEN Der unveröffentlichte Film der Eva Braun (The unpublished tape of Eva Braun) (2019-20) Dur: 35’ Libretto: Maritza Núñez (Ger) soprano and chamber ensemble (9 players)

This brand-new monologue opera is an absurd, surreal description of the aging Eva Braun tracing her life, choices, emotions, regrets and forgotten dreams. It is a highly entertaining show which also has its dramatic, more serious turns. The music does not have any dull moments: it moves forward with a drive and includes catchy stylistic allusions: folk songs, marches and jazzy schlagers in cabaret style. This is a dream role for any soprano!

Žibuoklė Martinaitytė

Martinaityté – next trending Baltic composer

Libretto: Juha Siltanen (Eng) 5 sol, tap dancer, 2 keyboards-perc-elgtr-vla-vcl (amplified)

Having been based in the USA for some years, on the strength of this expansive first album of orchestral works it’s high time she received wider international recognition… Martinaitytė has written of her desire for beauty, and in Millefleur she seeks ‘acoustic pleasures, as though walking through a beautiful sonic garden.’ But this does not mean that her work lacks tension or challenge. BBC Music Magazine 18.3.

A pop-inflected, seductively melodious, absurd and thrilling opera which has enjoyed almost a cult status in Finland. Included is a stunning tap dance scene and many more surprises. The libretto draws a portrait of Andy Warhol as a lonely man surrounded by the masses. Nuorvala utilises an unusual microtonal tuning system to imbue the music with a fascinating sense of the unreal.

The music flows along in broad sweeps, melancholy and menacing, yet I have found it very consoling and stimulating. I therefore reckon that Martinaitytė will be the Baltic’s next great international name in contemporary music. 4.3.

SVEN-DAVID SANDSTRÖM Föreställningen (The Performance) (2013) Dur: 60’

Finely recorded and annotated, this is an ideal way to explore Martinaitytė‘s singular musical vision. Gramophone April 2021

Three women find themselves at the mental hospital La Salpêtriére in Paris in the late 19th century, waiting for their turn to expose their states of mind before the world-renowned Dr. Charcot and an audience of celebrities. One can sense the women´s apprehension and anxiety in the music´s rapid fluctuations between the deeply painful and the joyful lovely melodies. An ingenious feature are the deep Balinese gongs that accentuate the darkness in the story.

Like Saariaho, Martinaitytė has great experience of instrumentation and her orchestral work shimmers, sparkles, vibrates and pulses in a fascinating play of colour... The music has a strong visual, at times cinematic streak – and a pronounced feel for drama, so that the listener’s interest seldom or never flags. Hufvudstadsbladet 26.5.

ALBERT SCHNELZER Norrmalmstorgsdramat (The Stockholm Syndrome) (2017)

Žibuoklė Martinaitytė: Saudade, Millefleur, Horizons, Chiaroscuro Trilogy CD: Lithuanian National SO, Lithuanian CO/ Giedrė Šlekytė, sol. Gabrielius Alekna, pf (Ondine ODE-1386-2)

JUHANI NUORVALA Flash Flash - The Two Deaths of Andy Warhol (2005) Dur: 120’

Libretto: Katarina Frostenson (Sw) 3 sol, cl-perc-pf-string quartet

Dur: 110’ Libretto: Patrik Sörling (Sw) 5 sol, dancer, orch: 1111-1110-01-pf/cel-str (11111)

A psychologically gripping chamber opera about the hostage drama in central Stockholm in 1973, when an armed man walked into a bank and took four bank employees hostage. The drama gave rise to the concept ”The Stockholm Syndrome”, meaning that the victim starts to sympathise with the perpetrator. Schnelzer’s music is fateful and full of tension, with urgent rhythms of ticking woodwinds and pulsating strings. Above this, the soloist parts are strikingly attractive with their melancholy melodies. Equally so are the ensemble parts, as in the concluding chorale where the entire hostage group and the robber, resigned to their fate, sing the words ”to die at one’s post – how sweet it will be”.

Wennäkoski’s piano trio the real jewel in the crown

Lotta Wennäkoski’s Päärme (Hem) for piano trio was the evening’s most powerful experience. We have here a work that does justice to its ‘extra-musical’ idea, sewing. The central element, rhythm, blends perfectly with the piano and string parts. Hufvudstadsbladet 3.7. Lotta Wennäkoski: Päärme for piano trio Trio Teos (Kreeta-Julia Heikkilä, vl, Jaan Ots, pf, Jaani Helander, vlc), 1.7. 2021 Helsinki, Finland

Photo: Annika Mustonen

Unsere Liebe by Rautavaara

Unsere Liebe is a setting for mixed choir of German translations of poems in Finnish by Lassi Nummi. Rautavaara’s gift for melody and harmonic invention gives the four songs a romantic warmth. The performance was tenderly beautiful. Helsingin Sanomat 28.5. Einojuhani Rautavaara: Unsere Liebe Helsinki Chamber Choir/Nils Schweckendiek, 25.5.2021 Helsinki, Finland

Cecilia Damström evokes oceans

Damström’s colourful and rhythmically powerful ”Fretus” prompted the Styrsö Chamber Soloists to evoke the mighty swell and the unknown depths of the oceans. Dagens Nyheter 8.8.

A sensational Sibelius discovery

Timeless Mühlrad

The cover makes you look again and the music makes you think twice, for Mühlrad’s perspective is 21st century and yet seems to have one foot rooted in the past. Time is in fact, timeless, not to mention haunting and beautiful. BBC Music Magazine 7/2021

Jean Sibelius: Concert Overture World premiere: Avanti!/Tuomas Hannikainen, 23.5.2021 Helsinki, Finland

Ear-tickling audience hit by Turriago

Ear-tickling, entertaining and frenetically expressive … Turriago’s music is on the whole musicianly but never banal. Himself a first-rate pianist, he has designed a fittingly intricate piano text which Hilpo executes with a swing and feeling. The music nevertheless calls out to be orchestrated, and in that format the piece could become a hit with audiences. Hufvudstadsbladet 28.4.

Jacob Mühlrad: Time, Anim Zemirot, Nigun, Kaddish CD: Swedish Radio Choir, cond. Fredrik Malmberg and Ragnar Bohlin (DG 00028948556182 ‘Time’ )

Engaging music

The Scherzo seems to be the quartet’s centre of gravity, with its boisterous drive and catchy rhythms… The final movement is striking, engaging music, “fragmented colours” as the composer puts it. Hufvudstadsbladet 16.7. Jyrki Linjama: String Quartet No. 1 World premiere: Zagros Quartet, 14.7.2021 Karuna, Finland (Kimito Music Festival)

The “new” Sibelius Concert Overture is a celebration of nature and love. It is a sensational discovery… In the hands of Avanti! and Hannikainen, the cheerful, easy-going concert overture is a significant addition to Sibelius’s orchestral catalogue. One does not tire of listening to it. Helsingin Sanomat 26.5.

Cecilia Damström

Horn Quintet by Kalevi Aho

The Horn Quintet is imaginative, quality work… The strings create a sizzling, shimmering and lyrical tonescape for the fine singing lines, magnificent, majestic, open-air fanfares, rhythmic assault and ominous low growls of Puputti’s noble French horn… The Quintet is hallmark Aho quality, rich in motifs and textures and skilfully developed. Helsingin Sanomat 22.5. Kalevi Aho: Horn Quintet World premiere: Lapland CO, Ilkka Puputti, hn, 19.5.2021 Rovaniemi, Finland

Odd but wonderful Aho disc

On this odd but wonderful SACD, composer Kalevi Aho, known primary for his fascinating orchestral works, presents seven pieces for individual soloists. I think what surprised me most of all was how lyrical most of these pieces are. …here Aho seems to be focusing on the ability of most of these instruments to “sing” a lyric line. This is yet another feather in the cap of Kalevi Aho as a composer as well as BIS Records for recording and promoting his music. Art Music Lounge 20.6. Kalevi Aho: Solo III for Flute, Solo IV for Cello, Solo V for Bassoon, Solo X for Horn, Solo IX for Oboe, Solo XII – In Memoriam EJR for viola, Solo XIV for Clarinet CD: Sharon Bezaly, fl Samuli Peltonen, vlc, Bram van Sambeek, bsn, Hiyoli Togawa, vla, Piet van Bockstal, ob, Simon Reitmaier, cl, Marie-Luise Neunecker, hn (BIS SACD-2446)

Tuomas Turriago: Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano ’Gravity Groove’ CD: Joonatan Rautiola, asax, Marko Hilpo, pf (Ars Productions 38569)

Sandström’s final masterpiece

Sven-David Sandström’s final work is music for eternity… The tone language, the timbre, the sonority in the choir – everything here is Sandström at his unmistakable best. Beautifully plastic and billowy. Dreamy with sudden harsh awakenings. And humorous, as in the soloist couple’s witty bird scherzo. Opus June-July 2021 Sven-David Sandström: Uppbrott (Decampment) CD: Adolf Fredrik Church Chamber Choir/Christoffer Holgersson, sol. Hanna Husahr, sopr., Olle Persson, bar. (Daphne 1070)

Fresh, modern and audacious

Modern, but easily accessible and with audacious orchestration. The flutes carry the music forward throughout. First as sparkling reflections of the sun in millions of ice crystals, perhaps on Kvarken’s ice. Atonal trombones rumble, the ice cracks, arches its back and the trumpets chatter alongside. Pizzicato strings sweep in like a spring rain, but the flutes do not give in, they become swallows that swing themselves acrobatically high up in the air. There are thick string swells, before the end comes with an unexpected piccolo trill. Västerbottens Folkblad 3.9.

Photo: Mats Backer

Photo: Maria Svidryk

Cecilia Damström: Fretus World premiere: Styrsö Chamber Soloists/Magnus Fryklund, 7.8.2021 Gothenburg, Sweden (Styrsö Chamber Music Festival)

Marie Samuelsson

Fresh music so forcefully irresistible for the listener, surprising us with variegated orchestral tone paintings reminiscent of natural sounds. Västerbottenskuriren 3.9. Marie Samuelsson: Läten för ny tid (Calls for New Times) World premiere: Norrlandsoperan SO/Patrik Ringborg, 2.9.2021 Umeå, Sweden








Piano Trio

Advent, advent for choir SSA/SATB and piano/organ Text: Christina Lövestam (Sw)

FG 9790-55011-704-4 (piano score & string parts)

Suite from the ballet ‘Sinuhe’ for piano

GE 13972

Advent, advent

FG 9790-55011-717-4


SSA, SATB och piano/orgel Christina Lövestam Anna Cederberg-Orreteg

Four Sacred Pieces for double mixed choir a cappella I. Iam non dicam, II. Sancta trinitatis, III. Tanto tempore, IV. O sacrum convivium Texts in Latin


Piano Trio in F Sharp Minor Edited by pianist Esa Ylönen and composer Eero Kesti. FG 9790-55011-703-7 (piano score & string parts)

Nana Forte

Four Sacred Pieces for double mixed choir a cappella

GE 14135 Mats Larsson Gothe



Inauguro Fanfare for two double basses tuned in fifths.

Inauguro Fanfare for two double basses tuned in fifths

GE 14144

GE 14137



Le Tombeau de Darius Milhaud Le Tombeau d’Albert Roussel for guitar

Viisi laulua Helena Anhavan runoihin (Five songs to poems by Helena Anhava) for mezzo-soprano and piano Texts in Finnish

FG 9790-55011-716-7 & 55011-718-1

FG 9790-55011-727-3


String Quartet No. 5


FG 9790-55011-689-4 (score & parts)

Lukaspassion (German version) for two soloists, mixed choir and small ensemble Text: from the gospel of Luke and Göran Greider German translation: Justus-A. Grohman


Icons for accordion Transcription by Matti Rantanen.

Juninatten SATB a cappella

GE 14150 (piano reduction)

FG 9790-55011-707-5

Matthew Peterson


Juninatten (The Night of June) for mixed choir SSAATTBB a cappella Text: Harry Martinson (Sw)


Duettini for two double basses New Colourstrings repertoire: 15 miniature duos.

Mörkret sjunger (The Darkness Sings) for mixed choir SATB and piano Text: Bo Setterlind (Sw)

Ann-Sofi Söderqvist

In the Beginning Bengt-Olov Palmqvist SATB and organ

GE 13970

FG 9790-55011-683-2




Solo for Soprano Saxophone

In the Beginning for choir SATB and organ Sven-David Sandström in memoriam Text: the Bible, John 1:1-5 (Eng)

Solitude for soprano saxophone solo #9 from the series Solitary Poems for Anders Paulsson.

Karin Rehnqvist

GE 13985

GE 14151



As Long as the Moon Shall Rise for treble choir SSAA and soloists Texts from Navajo and Cheyenne prayers (Eng)

Three Caprices for Konstantin Weitz for violin solo FG 9790-55011-724-2

GE 13894



As long as the moon shall rise

for treble choir and soloists

Patrik Ringborg Der Weihnachtsstern SATB a cappella

Der Weihnachhtsstern (Julstjärnan) for choir SATB Text: Johannes Brassel (Ger/Sw)


GE 14143 (Ger), GE 14136 (Sw)

Concerto for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra

FG 9790-55011-709-9 (study score), 55011-710-5 (solo part)


Clarinet Concerto

FG 9790-55011-708-2 (piano reduction & solo part), 55011-107-3 (study score)

For further information contact us at:


Clarinet Concerto

Benjamin Staern

FG 9790-55011-705-1 (piano reduction & solo part) Rainbow


Rainbow Ritornello in six variations for small wind band

GE 14046 (score), GE 14048 (study score)

Ritornello in six variations for small wind band


Gehrmans Musikförlag AB

Box 42026, SE-126 12 Stockholm, Sweden Tel. +46 8 610 06 00 Web shop: Hire: Sales:

Fennica Gehrman Oy Ab

PO Box 158, FI-00121 Helsinki, Finland Tel. +358 10 3871 220 Web shop: Hire: Sales:

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