Nordic Highlights No. 4 2021

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NEWS Photo: Kaapo Hakola

Photo: Maarit Kytöharju

Nordgren’s opera – a rare treat The new dates for the performances in Helsinki of Pehr Henrik Nordgren’s opera Den svarte munken (The Black Monk) are 18 and 20 February 2022. This is a rare treat, and a Helsinki premiere, as this opera, based on a short story by Anton Chekhov, has previously been heard only in Stockholm and Vaasa. The conductor is Teemu Hämäläinen, the stage director Ville Saukkonen and the soloists include Kristian Lindroos, Johanna Isokoski and Aki Alamikkotervo. The producer is Tero-Pekka Henell.

Increased equality in choral music Kimmo Hakola

Helsinki Variations premieres The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra’s epic commission series Helsinki Variations presents works by Kimmo Hakola and Seppo Pohjola. The latter’s Roots was performed on 24 November (See: Reviews) and will be followed on 8 December by the former’s Wake!, with Susanna Mälkki conducting. Both will be available online on HKO Screen. Wake! refers to Sibelius’s Finlandia: its early version was called Finland Awakes. “My work is a proclamation for our time that awakens humanity to live more responsibly and bury the selfishness that destroys lives – right now!” says Hakola, now back to composing full time after several years of administrative duties in Finnish musical life. Also in the Helsinki Variations premiere pipeline are works by Antti Auvinen and Matthew Whittall.

Iiro Rantala & the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie

The Last Temptations in Jyväskylä

The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen has been Iiro Rantala’s orchestra partner for many years. On 26 and 27 January 2022 they will premiere his new Double Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra Joy of Life in the opening concert of the spring season. The soloists are Minna Pensola (violin) and Iiro Rantala (piano), and the conductor is Antti Tikkanen. Another new work by Rantala, Seven O’Clock Overture, is also on the concert programme.

The big operatic event at the turn of the year is Jyväskylä Opera’s staging of Joonas Kokkonen’s The Last Temptations (Viimeiset kiusaukset) in no fewer than 10 performances between 31 December and 19 February 2022. One of the most popular Finnish operas, The Last Temptations tells in a moving and readily accessible way about the lay preacher and revivalist leader Paavo Ruotsalainen. Cast in the leading roles are Mika Kares, Petri Lindroos, Johanna Rusanen and Jaakko Ryhänen. The Jyväskylä Sinfonia will be conducted by Ville Matvejeff.





Editors: Henna Salmela and Kristina Fryklöf Translations: Susan Sinisalo and Robert Carroll Cover: Benjamin Staern (Mats Bäcker), Žibuoklė Martinaitytė (Sarune Zurba), Die Zaubermelodika at the Komische Oper Berlin (Iko Freese) Design: Tenhelp Oy and video symbols in the text. Click the sound Other material is available at ISSN 2000-2750 (Online)




Krista Audere

Two exciting publications Fennica Gehrman has published two exciting novelties, available in our web shop. The score for the Concert Overture by Jean Sibelius is a first publication. This 12-minute piece for small chamber orchestra was discovered by conductor Tuomas Hannikainen. Rental material is also available. Other Finnish works (Toisia suomalaisia viulusävelmiä) presents 12 pieces by Finnish women composers who wrote works for concert use as well as salon pieces between 1886 and 1936. The volume was edited by Mirka Malmi and Tiina Karakorpi (See: New publications).

Photo: Bo Söderström

Seppo Pohjola

Gehrmans Musikförlag and the Swedish Society of Composers call for unpublished choral works by female and non-binary composers active in Sweden. The project is carried out with support from the Swedish Music Publishers Association and the application deadline is 16 January 2022. During the coming year six works will be selected for publication and presented in the film series #swedishchoralmusic. Krista Audere, winner of the Eric Ericson Award 2021, is on the committee that will be choosing the works. “Swedish choral music is world famous”, says Audere. “Sweden has a leading role in gender equality, hence there are great opportunities to exert real influence on an international level. I look forward to extending my repertoire with many exciting works!”

Juhani Nuorvala at 60 Composer Juhani Nuorvala is celebrating his 60th birthday (on 5 December) with a concert of chamber and instrumental music. Titled 60 Minutes, the concert will be held in Helsinki on 9 December with a programme that includes the brand-new The Five Chords that Shook My for piano performed by Emil HolmWorld ström and the Concertino in a version for electric kantele played by Eija Kankaanranta. Nuorvala was also Composer in Residence at the Rusk Festival on 23–27 November postponed from 2020. There were also some premieres at this festival in Pietarsaari.

Karin Rehnqvist

Photo: Maarit Kytöharju

Karin Rehnqvist is Composer in Residence at the NJORD Festival in Copenhagen 20-22 January 2022. During the festival we can listen to her All Those Strings with Ritva Koistinen, kantele and the Nightingale String Quartet, as well as other works. The singer Lena Willemark will perform The Sun Song together with the Athelas Sinfonietta & the Esbjerg Ensemble under the direction of Jakob Hultberg. The complete programme will be presented on the festival’s homepage

Karin Rehnqvist

Photo: Agnes Thor

Hugo Alfvén 150th anniversary

From January till May 2022 we can look forward to a number of exciting new CD releases on BIS Records i.e. Anders Eliasson’s Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 and the Trombone Concerto. A CD with orchestral and chamber music by Albert Schnelzer including A Freak in Burbank, Burn My Letters – Remembering Clara, Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘Nocturnal Songs’, Dance with the Devil, Apollonian Dances and Frozen Landscape. Allan Pettersson’s Barefoot Songs and Six Songs with baritone Peter Mattei. And finally, in connection with the celebration of Hugo Alfvén’s 150th anniversary, an album with his songs performed by soprano Elin Rombo and Peter Friis Johansson, piano.

2022 will see the 150th anniversary of Hugo Alfvén, one of Sweden’s most beloved composers known for his colourful and virtuoso orchestral works, romantic art songs and folklike choral pieces. In connection with the jubilee, two new booklets will be published – ‘10 Songs for mixed choir’ and ‘8 Songs for male choir’ (See: New publications). In addition, a newly revised edition will be brought out, with scores and parts to The Mountain King (the complete ballet music) in collaboration with the Alfvén Foundation and with support from the Rosenborg Gehrmans Foundation. The work will be performed by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra and Patrik Ringborg in December 2022. The Alfvén anniversary will be observed by orchestras and choirs throughout the year 2022. Watch out for more concerts in our website calendar.

Martinsson writes horn concerto for Klieser Rolf Martinsson has composed a concerto for the incomparable German hornist Felix Klieser. “The music in Soundscape – Horn Concerto is like an exotic wandering in a continually shifting soundscape where timbre and sonority are central and blended in a finely-tuned and dramatic musical expression, in the exciting and inspiring encounter with the top-soloist, Felix Klieser”, says Martinsson. The concerto will be premiered by the Deutsche Radio-Philharmonie Saarbrücken-Kaiserslauten on 18 March under the direction of Petr Popelka, and thereafter recorded on CD. Felix Klieser

Photo: Maike Helbig

Juhani Nuorvala

New CD releases in spring

Valfridsson at the Royal Swedish Opera Jonas Valfridsson’s opera When Buds Burst (När knoppar brister), to a libretto by Martyna Kaiser, has been selected for the Royal Swedish Opera’s performance ”Short Stories III”. The opera is a free adaption for the stage of the Swedish poet Karin Boye’s poems, and depicts her journey to Berlin where she undergoes psychoanalysis in order to ”recover” from her homosexuality. The opera will have its premiere on 29 May. HIGHLIGHTS



Seven questions for Photo: Tomas Terekas

Žibuoklė Martinaitytė Next trending Baltic composer. Her music shimmers, sparkles, vibrates and pulses in a fascinating play of colour. Highly personal and tremendously powerful instrumental language. Luminous arrays of orchestral colour which yield to thrilling discoveries in harmony and sonority. These quotes are examples of how Martinaitytė’s music has been received. Here she tells about her works as well as other topics such as the concept of beauty and erasing the egocentric approach.

1. You started your creative career in Lithuania and Europe but are now rooted in the USA. What are the biggest differences between these cultures for you as a composer, and what prompted you to move to New York? Perhaps the biggest difference is the scale of the USA cultural context and its inherent diversity. The reason I moved here was personal. It was love at first sight – with my husband, who is an American, and then much later with New York City itself. 2. Your music aims at a narrative that is not a story in itself but rather a sequence of emotional states that create transitions in listeners’ minds. Could you say more about this and how it manifests in your works? Emotional states are often hard to verbalize. They need to be experienced. That’s precisely why I don’t explain an emotional story or narrative that is embedded in a piece. For each listener, the story will be different because it will resonate with their subjective emotional history. I am continuously surprised by the “stories” listeners hear in my music. It is almost worth writing them all down! Of course, for me that emotional narrative is very subjective and every time I hear a passage or a fragment in the piece, it triggers a particular memory. 3. Saudade is one of the four orchestral pieces on the recent Ondine CD. The next performances will be by the Bruckner Orchestra Linz in December 2021 and by the New York Philharmonic in February 2022. Saudade means “longing” in Portuguese. Why did you end up with this title?




Longing is the emotion that permeates most of my music. Perhaps it results from living far away from my native culture and language. It is an inexpressible feeling that usually resides deeply hidden in the subconscious mind and only surfaces in the music that I write. Saudade means not only a simple longing; it is almost an existential metaphysical notion that encompasses a wide variety of longings we have as human beings. I think the piece carries quite a bit of sadness – of nostalgia that is audible in the chosen harmonic modes. This almost “animalistic” or primal quality that longing has is expressed through special instrumental techniques such as singing and playing in brass instruments or bowing a cymbal placed on a kettle drum. Both effects have a howling, soul-wrenching sound quality. As though the feeling of longing becomes an animal that lives within us and from time to time needs to cry out… to let us know it is there. 4. Beauty is a key word in your music. You say it is a quality that has been neglected and almost forgotten in contemporary music. How do you wish to revive it in your works? My preoccupation with the concept of beauty probably has something to do with the name I was given – Žibuoklė, which in Lithuanian is the name of a flower. What do flowers give us? Beauty of a very fleeting and impermanent nature. That same temporality of beauty is what I am looking for in my music. Some moments I compose give pleasure to our senses. In this case, our hearing. They are extremely short-lived, just as the blossoms of flowers. The notion of aural pleasure is mainly based on the physiological as well as the psychological effects certain sound structures, pitches and rhythms have on us –

such as pure intervals or harmonies rooted in the natural harmonic series or repetitive rhythmic patterns. 5. Pianist Gabrielius Alekna calls the Chiafor piano and strings a masroscuro Trilogy terpiece which he absolutely loves. According to him, it is a blend of New York postminimalism and deep East-European dramatic expression. Horizons and Millefleur are two other orchestral pieces on the recent CD. Can you shed more light on these works? The Chiaroscuro Trilogy is not the usual piano concerto where the soloist has a chance to show off technical abilities. There is a very intimate relationship between the soloist and chamber orchestra with no distinctly dominating roles. They are both closely intertwined and often function as a part of one texture. Light and dark are taken as metaphors for the sonic expression where darkness is carried through low registers and indistinct harmonic and rhythmic characteristics, whereas light has an abundance of overtones and rich timbral colors. The piece contains various gradations of light and darkness, and the texture consists of repetitive cells or gestures – like particles of light. Horizons plays with distances – with sound near and far. As if the viewers looking at the horizon were constantly shifting their gaze between a distant line that is the horizon, which is far away, unreachable and not clearly visible, and something that is near. In a way it is a constant zooming in and out of focus in the aural sense. The constantly shifting perspective constitutes the backbone of this piece. As a result, there are several simultaneous musical narratives: one that is taking place in the distance where we can’t

6. Could you tell us something about you that we don’t yet know – your interests or other important pastimes? I love nature. Every summer since I was a child I have spent some time by the deepest lake in Lithuania. Now that I’m living in New York, going to nature has almost become a restorative ‘must’. To wander in the forest, to listen to the ambient sounds and most important to disconnect from technology. It is part of what I call “mental ecology” or “mental hygiene” that every urban dweller needs. Another important part of my life for the past 20 years has been a Buddhist practice that includes daily meditation as well as a certain view, behavior and philosophy that is applied to daily life. Buddhism gives a useful prism, a perspective through which to see the world – reminding of the interconnected nature of all phenomena and at the same time erasing the egocentric approach that we, as creators, can easily slip into. 7. What are your next projects or dreams? I’ve got lots of dreams, but not all will become reality! One project I’ll be working on next year is a piece for voice and orchestra. The human voice has such a unique sound, and more than that, it is also a gateway to the soul. It is not only a musical instrument; it also has a spiritual dimension. After many years of composing only for orchestra and being familiar with its vocabulary, I finally feel ready to add a new layer: the magical touch of the human voice.


November 2021 – March 2022



Denna dagen ett liv (This Day, a Life) Vocal Ensemble VOS, Laurentii Chamber Choir, Korinterna, Lund Cathedral Boys Choir and Orchestra/Robert Bennesh 14.11. Lund, Sweden

Wake! Helsinki PO/Susanna Mälkki 8.12. Helsinki, Finland


Unio Kaija Saarikettu, violin, Kimmo Hakola, piano 3.2. Kaustinen, Finland (Kaustinen Chamber Music Festival)

Delfiinimeditaatio (Dolphin Meditation) Dominante Chamber Choir/Seppo Murto 17.11. Espoo, Finland

Āina Sonja Vertainen, accordion, Otto Kentala, guitar 25.3. Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki Variations work Helsinki PO/Pekka Kuusisto 25.3. Helsinki, Finland

MATS LARSSON GOTHE Löftet/The Promise – opera Royal Swedish Opera, cond. Alan Gilbert, sol. Hanna Husáhr, Agnes Auer, Karl-Magnus Fredriksson etc. 27.1. Stockholm, Sweden

LOTTA WENNÄKOSKI Arteria Lucie Horsch, solo recorder 21.11. Budapest, Hungary (ECHO Rising Stars)

5 Pieces for Glass Östgöta Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Jan-Åke Hermansson, Mikael Wittvång, natural trumpets, Crusell Quintet, Östgöta Brass Quintet, Östgötabandet 4.2. Rejmyre, Sweden

SEPPO POHJOLA Juuret (Roots) Helsinki PO/Nils Schweckendiek 24.11. Helsinki, Finland

IIRO RANTALA Joy of Life (Double Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra) Seven O’Clock Overture Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen/Antti Tikkanen, sol. Minna Pensola, violin, Iiro Rantala, piano 26.1. Bremen, Germany

PAAVO HEININEN Symphony No. 7 Finnish RSO/Dima Slobodeniouk 26.11. Helsinki, Finland

Dima Slobodeniouk

Photo: Tuula Sarotie

clearly see or hear all the layers or configurations of texture, but we can perceive an overall larger structure. Then there are other things happening nearby. They are seen in minute detail as though through microscopic lenses. There is one ephemeral moment in the piece where all we hear is a very subtle play of overtones – a glissandi of natural harmonics in the cello section. It reminds me of looking very closely at a spider web and seeing all the intricacy of the thinnest, almost immaterial lines. The same microscopic approach to musical material is used in Millefleur, “a thousand flowers”, a title borrowed from 15-16th century European tapestry technique. When you look at the Unicorn tapestries at the Cloisters museum in New York, you can see a background of a thousand details, tiny flowers and plants surrounding the figure of a unicorn. In my Millefleur I take this multiplicity of microscopic details as my main focus because the orchestral texture provides a lot of potential for that. The main image emerges out of those myriad details. Both these pieces cover the extremes of the perceptional spectrum. You can know the world by looking through a microscope as well as a telescope.

DANIEL NELSON Razed for string orchestra Musica Vitae 29.1. Växjö, Sweden

KARIN REHNQVIST Silent Earth Netherlands Radio Choir/Netherlands Radio PO/Dima Slobodeniouk 29.1. Amsterdam, Netherlands

SVENDAVID SANDSTRÖM Trombone Concerto Swedish Radio SO/Daniel Harding, sol. Håkan Björkman, trombone 18.2. Stockholm, Sweden

BENJAMIN STAERN Pippi lyfter hästen (Pippi Lifts the Horse) Swedish Radio SO/Ariane Matiakh 23.2. Stockholm Sweden


MIKKO HEINIÖ Täällä, kaikkialla (Here, Everywhere) Polytech Choir/Saara Aittakumpu 26.11. Helsinki, Finland Koraaleja (Chorales, Concerto for Kantele, Violin, Baritone and String Orchestra) Ostrobothnian CO, sol. Eija Kankaanranta, kantele, Antti Tikkanen, violin&lead, Kristian Lindroos, baritone 11.2. Turku, Finland (Katedraali soi festival)

JUHANI NUORVALA Five Flashes from Flash Flash Tuuli Lindeberg, soprano, Atte Kilpeläinen, viola, Tomas Djupsjöbacka, cello, Emil Holmström keyboard, Johan Bridger, percussion Quedam variationes ex Bene quondam Ostrobothnian CO/Anna-Maria Helsing 24.-27.11. Pietarsaari, Finland (Rusk Festival)

And the Mother Sings… (Concerto for Trumpet, Trombone and Orchestra) Royal Stockholm PO/Nikolaj Znaider, sol. Joakim Agnas, trumpet, Karl Frisendahl, trombone 23.2. Stockholm, Sweden

KALEVI AHO Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra Helsinki PO/Osmo Vänskä, sol. Niamh McKenna, flute, Emmanuel Ceysson, harp 11.3. Helsinki, Finland Concerto for Alto Flute and String Orchestra Macedonian Symphony Orchestra/Gabriel Bebeselea, sol. Matei Iochimescu 17.3. Skopje, Macedonia Concerto for Viola, Percussion and Orchestra Lahti SO/Anja Bihlmaier, sol. Hiyoli Togawa, viola, Alexej Gerassimez, percussion 31.3. Lahti, Finland

ROLF MARTINSSON Soundscape (Horn Concerto) Deutsche Radiophilharmonie Saarbrücken-Kaiserslauten/Petr Popelka, sol. Felix Klieser, horn 18.3. Kaiserslauten, Germany

Henna Salmela




Benjamin Staern:

Through Purgatory to Paradise Benjamin Staern, like many composers, has experienced a period of almost nothing but postponed concerts. Now he is looking forward to an eventful 2021-22 season. He will be composer in focus at the Stockholm Composer Weekend Festival. His opera the Snow Queen is staged at the Royal Swedish Opera. In addition, a number of new works will be premiered.




The Snow Queen and Pippi The family opera The Snow Queen , to a libretto by Anelia Kadieva Jonsson based on H. C. Andersen’s story, will receive its Stockholm premiere at the Royal Swedish Opera, playing from 9 December until 28 January. This was his debut as an opera composer, and it presented some challenges to him. – Above all I realised that the world of opera is more complex. It’s a teamwork between librettist, composer and director, unlike when you are writing a symphony and make all the decisions yourself. It’s also about a text that should be illustrated without letting the music take over. It is about writing singable lines, but I’ve had experience of this earlier with song cycles such as Tranströmer Songs and Songs of Dazzlingly White Love. And I more or less grew up at the Benjamin Staern

Malmö Opera, (my father was a conductor and my mother a singer there), so I have retained an interest in opera ever since. The Snow Queen was a huge success and received rave reviews after its premiere at the Malmö Opera in 2016. There was talk of an ”impressive opera debut” and that the music was ”congenial with Andersen’s witty narrative art”. The music is indeed replete with ideas and musical allusions. – I didn’t want to experiment too much with the tone language but wanted to be a little more straightforward. The ‘nice and agreeable’ characters were given more tonal music, while the ‘bad and evil’ got dissonant passages. I also went back to what I myself listened to in my youth, symphonic rock such as Genesis, Gentle Giant and others. I even looked farther back to the operPhoto: Mats Bäcker


enjamin Staern was under a great deal of stress, working on several pieces, just before the onset of the pandemic put the damper on everything. At first he lost motivation to write, but at the same time it afforded him a much-needed break in composing. He suddenly had time for reflection, and out of this was born something of a reorientation in his creativity. When he, after his break, resumed composition of his Second Symphony, the music took another direction. – My music is often described as rather dense and eventful. Now I wanted to concentrate on melody and harmony. More horizontal lines. It is undoubtedly the most stripped-down orchestral work that I have written. The feeling of solitariness can no doubt be sensed in the music, especially in the first movement, ‘Isolation’. He also felt a need to look inward. – You might say that the symphony is about tunnel vision, you see the light in the tunnel and try to crawl up. I got inspired by ‘The Divine Comedy’ of Dante, going from Purgatory to Paradise. Although Staern partly recomposed the symphony he kept the original musical point of departure; Lili Boulanger’s D’un soir triste, a work that has fascinated him. – I have availed myself of two bars from a ‘feverish’ section of that work, and on the basis of these I have generated tone material that forms the foundation of essentially the whole work. The Second Symphony, with the subtitle Through Purgatory to Paradise, will be premiered by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Cathrine Winnes during the Composer Weekend Festival at the Stockholm Concert Hall (7-10 April 2022). Thirteen of Staern’s works, ranging over two decades, will be presented here, at three orchestral concerts and a concluding concert with chamber music. Starting with his debut work The Threat of War, from the year 2000, to the premieres of his Second Symphony and Three Hilma Episodes from his chamber opera Hilma. – It feels unbelievably great! There are surely some ‘youthful sins’ here, but I stand by what I have written and won’t change a thing, Benjamin says.

atic art of Monteverdi. Anyway, this will be the fourth staging of the opera, so I am really happy about the outcome. Another work based on a children’s story is Pippi Lifts the Horse, a commission from the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra to observe that 75 years have elapsed (in 2020) since the first book about Pippi Longstocking was published. The work is dedicated to the climate activist Greta Thunberg, and Benjamin has also let her enter into the work. – Indeed, Greta like Pippi is a strong girl who dares to go her own way. The whole work opens with Greta’s theme, and as the work unfolds Greta is transformed into Pippi and Pippi into Greta. Although it is a purely orchestral work, there is an intended story here in the background, and Staern has even inserted lines from the story in the score to function as directions for the musicians. –My musical point of departure has been Georg Riedel’s song Pirate Grandpa Fabian, which I demolish and incorporate into the work. I had three keywords in my head as I composed: playfulness, energy and joy of discovery, and the piece has become very choreographic, even equilibristic in places.

Looking ahead In the near future Benjamin Staern will compose a work for soprano saxophone and wind band for Anders Paulsson and the Royal Swedish Navy Band. The working title is Hymn to the Baltic and it is planned to be premiered during the Baltic Sea Festival in August 2022. Next in the pipeline is a piano concerto for David Huang, a commission from the Norrlandsoperan Symphony Orchestra and the festival Gränslandet, initiated by Huang and the conductor Christian Karlsen. – The idea is that we should also work with the spatial dimension, with instrumental groups and two self-playing Disklaviers placed to the left and the right of the audience, and with the main solo piano and the rest of the orchestra in the centre. It will be exciting to see what sort of sound effects this will create. – We’ll see how my music develops going forward. I don’t want to repeat myself. Art always moves on. But, of course, my music has certain recurrent characteristic features, my ‘trade marks’, so to speak. These includes the sound of bells and water, which I have been fond of ever since my childhood. And then the basis of all my composing is colours, as I am a synaesthete, and associate tones and timbres with different colours and tints. Kristina Fryklöf

R EP E R TOI RE T I P S KALEVI AHO Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra (2006) Dur: 24’ 1111-1000-01-str

A captivating, dramatic work that begins with a weighty viola passage and proceeds as a virtual tour de force for the soloist. At times the soloist builds up speed and engages in dialogue with the orchestra and percussion in turn. A rhythmically vibrant work, the concerto also has some lyrical moments and a sizeable cadenza in the delicate nocturne.

TOBIAS BROSTRÖM Cello Concerto (2011) Dur: 21’

Works for string soloists and orchestra JUKKA LINKOLA Double Bass Concerto (2005) Dur: 32’ 1111-1110-02-pf-str

The concerto opens with a jazzy feel and there are also references to Baroque and tango. This five-movement work is a fine demonstration of the double bass’s ability to soar and sing to spheres usually reserved only for the violin. The soloist’s technique is put to the test in passages that require great virtuosity. A reduction is also available.

AULIS SALLINEN Variations for Cello and Orchestra (1961-62) Dur: 18’



The concerto opens suggestively and slowly with repetitive chords in the orchestra, forming the harmonic basis that is expanded gradually. The solo cello’s pentatonic motif develops from out of the orchestra’s carpet of sound, a motif that recurs throughout the entire work. Brisk sections with more temperament and rhythmic accents alternate with parts that are linked to the harmonies and motif of the beginning. The end is a slow diminuendo that fades away far off in the distance.

This early work by Sallinen is now published for the first time. The cello’s warm, deep voice corresponds to the often dark undercurrent in Sallinen’s music. The basic motif consists of a set of descending intervals stated by the cello: D–D flat–F, C–B–G and B flat–A–F sharp, in a framework provided by variation of this material. A reduction for cello and piano is also available.

JÖRGEN DAFGÅRD Eclipse – Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra (2018) Dur: 25’


Eclipse was composed in connection with a month-long stay in Paris, which is reflected in the work’s tonal language with its French touch. Lightness but also intensity characterize the outer movements, while the focal point is on the fateful and dramatic intermediate movement. However, a turnaround in the final stage of this movement causes the light to flow in.

ANDERS ELIASSON Einsame Fahrt – Concerto for Violin (2010) Dur: 25’ 2222-4200-02-cel-str

The violin is present throughout in Eliasson’s continually progressing journey in one coherent movement. The solo part is incredibly virtuosic but idiomatically written as well. Melodic and lyrical lines spread out between the fast sections. The tone language is intense and profound and one recognises the Eliassonian restlessness and the harmony that is all his own.

FREDRIK HÖGBERG Absent Illusions – A Hunt for the Eluded Muses (2017) Dur: 25’ Concerto for Violin/Viola and Orchestra: 2333-4331-13-hp-pf-str (video optional)

In this concerto the soloist plays both violin and viola. The work is divided into 14 short movements, with episodes representing the various characters of the nine Muses. In the music the romantic and the fervently beautiful elements coexist with the explosive and the harsh. Opposites that suddenly harmonise without requiring consonance. Virtuosity ripples on top of rumbling layers of rhythms and timbres.

MATS LARSSON GOTHE Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra ‘Sisyphus Dreams’ (2010) Dur: 26’ 2222-2200-10-0-str

Larsson Gothe has always been fascinated by the fate of Sisyphus, who was condemned to roll a big stone up a hill. Each time it would fall back down and he had to roll it up again, throughout all eternity. In the double concerto Sisyphus is ”played” by the cello. Then the violin comes into the picture in an unexpected visit. It all develops into a heated relationship drama between a violin, that is just as cheeky and harsh as it is passionate, and a more diligent and unaffected cello.

MARIE SAMUELSSON Bastet the Sun Goddess – Violin Concerto (2004) Dur: 20’ A suggestive, exotic and sensual concerto inspired by the Egyptian goddess Bastet. The violin wanders about in different mood-creating soundscapes. The solo part often stays in the high registers of the violin. Radiant, bright flageolets contrast with oriental glissando motifs, rhythmical figurations and muffled double basses.

ALBERT SCHNELZER Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘Nocturnal Songs’ (2018) Dur: 25’ 2222-2200-10-0-str (extended orch: 2222-2211-11-0-str)

In this concerto Schnelzer was inspired by nocturnal states. The ethereal first movement describes the feeling of weightlessness that comes just before one nods off to sleep, between waking and sleeping. The second depicts a dancing, nightmarish masked ball, the third a dream in which animals go in a quiet, mysterious procession, and the fourth the feeling one has when running in a dream without getting anywhere. Then suddenly everything stops as if one wakes up with a jerk.

LOTTA WENNÄKOSKI Foliage for Cello and Orchestra (2017) Dur: 9’ 2222-2100-01-str

Foliage was commissioned by the Turku Cello Competition as the mandatory work for its 2018 event. The solo part is a homage to the cello and its versatility as an instrument. It features both fragile, ethereal colours, as well as more muscular tones, and both poetic and playful gestures. A reduction is also available.

MATTHEW WHITTALL The heaven that dwells so deep – Concerto for Viola and Orchestra (2010) Dur: 34’ 3223-4231-didgeridoo-14-hp-pf-str

In this lovely work the viola part is predominantly lyrical rather than overtly virtuosic. The soloist ventures forth at the outset with a querying, searching melody and is echoed by the orchestra, weaving an enchanting landscape. A didgeridoo emerges at several points, grounding the viola with its primal sound. Towards the end, the soloist steps back, dissolving itself in the shimmering sounds of the orchestra.




Photo: Amit Israeli

REVIEWS Mystic and meditative Mühlrad ”REMS” demonstrated that Mühlrad has found his own style also in the larger format of the orchestra… This can be discerned in the details that flicker under the surface in moments of shimmering tranquillity, but also in the sound itself… Moreover, there are elements of feverish moods and a proximity to the cinematic. The fact that Sven-David Sandström has been his mentor can be heard in the fluctuations between the contemplative calm and the brutal, booming outbursts that cause the rows of seats to vibrate all the way up to the first balcony… Mühlrad has found his hallmark above all in the sound world of the Jewish religion. A very effective device that allows the music to be absorbed in mysticism as well as meditative states without getting drowsy. Dagens Nyheter 17.9.

Lotta Wennäkoski’s Flounce Flounce is a sprightly cornucopia of timbres and rhythms in just five minutes. It was commissioned as the starter for the 2017 Last Night of the Proms. Back then, I admired the rendition of the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo, and Collon and the RSO gave the work an almost equally compelling performance. Helsingin Sanomat 9.9. Lotta Wennäkoski: Flounce Finnish RSO/Nicholas Collon, 8.9.2021 Helsinki, Finland

Jacob Mühlrad: REMS World premiere: Royal Stockholm PO/Pablo Heras Casado, 16.9.2021 Stockholm, Sweden Jacob Mühlrad

Fantastic Žibuoklė Martinaitytė disc glimmers in fine details

Aho’s Recorder Concerto Kalevi Aho had addressed himself to the task at hand with his typical fervour and super-skills… There are points where the player has to blow into two recorders at the same time. It also requires various noises obtained by, among other things, blowing into the recorder against the knee. The orchestra remains mostly in the background, and the beginning is mystical… A work by Aho is always a major event; technically, he is Finland’s most professional composer, with a command of every genre and the Spielfigurs of different instruments. 5.9.

Lotta Wennäkoski Photo: Markku Pihlaja

Kalevi Aho: Concerto for Recorder and Orchestra World premiere: Saimaa Sinfonietta/Erkki Lasonpalo, sol. Eero Saunamäki, 2.9.2021 Mikkeli, Finland

Eva Braun in the Brazilian jungle may seem an incredible topic. The libretto by Maritza Núñez is a swashbuckling show and was performed by Reetta Ristimäki as Eva with no trace of inhibition… Pasi Lyytikäinen’s music is a bawdy parody of 1930s hits, marches and folk songs. This uproarious one-woman cabaret is highly thought-provoking. Helsingin Sanomat 3.9.

Saudade, is certainly among the very finest orchestral albums released this year …highly personal and tremendously powerful instrumental language of dazzling textures. Martinaitytė’s works are manifested in luminous arrays of orchestral colour, yielding to thrilling discoveries in harmony and sonority. …A breathtaking performance from Šlekytė and the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, Saudade is given an outing of wondrous sonic hue and tremendous intensity. Beautifully layered and impeccably paced, the musical arch unravels with admirable clarity, with instrumental lines glimmering in fine detail. 3.10.

Pasi Lyytikäinen/Maritza Núñez: Der unveröffentlichte Film der Eva Braun (The Unpublished Tape of Eva Braun) World premiere: Finnish Chamber Opera, cond. James Kahane sol. Reetta Ristimäki, 2.9.2021 Helsinki, Finland

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




A bold and entertaining Eva Braun opera

Photo: Iko Freese/

A winner for lovers of new music Rehnqvist creates her own harmonic language such that, on its own terms, the music is quite consonant… exploring a wide range of sonorities – even including the bright, distinctive tone of a toy piano. Contrast and texture, as well as the unsettling of her audiences, are features Rehnqvist cultivates in the clarinet solo, Far and near…The performances in all six works are beautifully prepared and executed, and Lawo’s recording is splendid, clear, and natural. For lovers of new music, this is a winner. Guy Rickards 25.10. Her ear for colour and texture in this paradoxically sparse yet detailed music is extremely sophisticated, yet her deceptively simple patternings conceal sounds of exquisite subtlety… MusicWeb International November 2021 Karin Rehnqvist: In Orbit – A moving quartet, Far and Near CD: Alpaca Ensemble (Lawo Classics LWC 1224)

Die Zaubermelodika – fun for the whole family The orchestra maintains an unfailing momentum. Or rather swing… Iiro Rantala is a master at mixing genres: just as one is thinking of Mozart or Rossini, he switches to orientalism and adds elements of jazz, big band, Schlagers and (presumably) Finnish folk songs. Tagesspiegel 26.10.


Die Zaubermelodika is the second opera by internationally-renowned jazz pianist Iiro Rantala – and a free take on Mozart’s Magic Flute…Seasoned with Finnish humour, the three tests in Act II are simply uproarious. Accompanied by colourful orchestral textures, they naturally cause great hilarity in children and adults alike. 25.10.

Kalevala Suite

Die Zaubermelodika got a jubilant reception in Berlin… Rantala’s music was unfailingly fresh and sure to hit its target with its lively rhythms and entertaining stylistic allusions. Hufvudstadsbladet 27.10.

BIS-SACD 2371 (Scenes from Kalevala)

The Komische Opera Berlin echoed to heartfelt shrieks of amusement as the premiere drew to an end. At no point did the audience’s interest flag, regardless of age, thanks to the smoothly-unfolding plot and quirky humour…Rantala’s score is rich: there’s plenty going on, brimming with flashbacks to Mozart and Italian opera, and the quasi-recitatives sit seamlessly in the whole… Rantala’s enthusiasm is catching. Rondo 10/2021 Iiro Rantala/Minna Lindgren: Die Zaubermelodika (The Magic Melodica) World premiere: Komische Oper Berlin, cond. Koen Schoots, sol. Alma Sadé, Johannes Dunz, Philipp Meierhöfer, Christoph Späth etc., 24.10.2021 Berlin, Germany

LEEVI MADETOJA Kullervo (& works by Sibelius and Pylkkänen) Lahti SO/Dima Slobodeniouk

ROLF MARTINSSON Suite Fantastique CD: Andreas Hermanski, clarinet, Valere Burnon, piano Musicaphon 10723795 (Neoteric)

KARIN REHNQVIST In Orbit – A moving quartet, Far and Near Alpaca Ensemble Lawo Classics LWC 1224 (Rehnqvist and Lindquist)


Rautavaara’s House of the Sun The production is a mixture of sadness and gentle humour. The dreamily nostalgic music is when necessary mixed with sharper hues…The beautiful tones of the voices offset one another. It was for these sentimental duets that Rautavaara composed the work’s most touching music. Helsingin Sanomat 17.10. Einojuhani Rautavaara: The House of the Sun (Auringon talo) Metropolia Opera Orchestra/Mikko Franck, stage director Ville Saukkonen, sol. Maija Turunen, Essi Lind, Anna Ginström, Maija Rautasuo etc., 15.10.2021 Helsinki, Finland

Imaginative Roots by Seppo Pohjola The concert included the premiere of the imaginative, rhythmic Roots by Seppo Pohjola, the build-ups making full use of the resources of a big symphony orchestra in bombastically blaring and quasi-Late-Romantic style ...The climax had the demonic, destructive feel of Ravel’s La Valse. Helsingin Sanomat 26.11. Seppo Pohjola: Juuret (Roots) World premiere: Helsinki PO/Nils Schweckendiek, 24.11.2021 Helsinki, Finland

Rainbow Nordic Wind Ensemble/Christian Lindberg European Gramophone



Infinite Bach – Bach Recomposed Violin Concertos in E-major, A minor, D minor, G minor London PO/Christian Svarfvar, violin and lead Rubicon RCD 1053 (Infinite Bach)









Post-Tarrega Stress Funk for guitar solo

Ostinato for piano

FG 9790-55011-732-7

GE 14139

Ten Songs/Tio sånger for mixed choir


GE 14128 (English edition), GE 14196 (Swedish)

Nisus for string trio

Eight Songs/Åtta sånger for male choir

GE 14186 (score), GE 14187 (parts)

Sergei Viluman


Cecilia Damström


Nisus for string trio

Toner från Wien/Tones from Vienna Five classical works in arrangements for organ (Mahler, Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, von Paradis)


GE 14129 (English edition), GE 14197 (Swedish)

for piano

LARS KARLSSON Två andliga sånger (Dialog & Herren är min in herde) for soprano and organ



GE 14158

FG 9790-55011-731-0



Agua Nocturna for mixed choir and solo cello Text: Octavio Paz (Spanish) (SSAATTBB) and cello

Kissalan Aapelin soitteita (Aapeli of Kissala plays the Clarinet)) Suite for clarinet and piano


FG 9790-55011-733-4

FG 9790-55011-737-2

winner of allmänna sången & anders wall composition award 2021



When Breathing like a Bird

When Breathing Like a Bird for mixed choir Text: Marie Winald Karlström (Eng) Winner of Allmäna Sången & Anders Wall Composition Award 20211



Infirmus ffor string orchestra

J Joulusarja (Christmas Suite) Op. 56 ffor soprano, trumpet and organ

GE 14193 (score), GE 14195 (study score)

FG 9790-55011-730-3

Infirmus for string orchestra


for mixed choir


GE 14154

Jouluaamun hämärässä for mixed choir (SATB) Text: Mikko Heiniö (Fin)

T Toisia suomalaisia viulusävelmiä Suomalaisten naisten säveltämiä teoksia vviululle ja pianolle 1886-1936 (Other Finnish works for violin - works for violin and piano by Finnish women composers 1886-1936)

FG 9790-55011-736-5

FG 9790-55011-719-8


Cecilia Damström


T Phantom Carriage (Körkarlen) The Music for the silent movie for orchestra

Mats Larsson Gothe

GE 13060 (score), GE 13062 (study score) Körkarlen The Phantom Carriage ȱ ȱ ȱ ȱę



GE 13541 (score), GE 13543 (study score) Tommie Haglund



Why Do You Dance? for mixed choir and viola Text: Fredrik Högberg (Eng)

Piece to Anders from Marie ffor soprano saxophone GGE 14159 (Solitary Poem #11)

GE 14177 (score), 14178 (viola part)

SVENDAVID SANDSTRÖM Eleven Short Pieces for Brass Quintet

Marie Samuelsson

Symphony Sym for orchestra

GE 13358 (score), GE 13359 (parts) SCORE



Piece to Anders from Marie for soprano saxophone

Excerpts from the opera Norrmalmstorgsdramat (The Stockholm Syndrome) Four Arias for soprano/mezzo/alto/tenor and piano

Viisi laulua Helena Anhavan runoihin for mezzo-soprano and piano Text: Helena Anhava (Fin) FG 9790-55011-727-3

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep for soprano and piano Text: anon. (Eng)


Two Arias and One Duet for baritone and piano

Tre ensembler ur operan


GE 13594

Käytännön filosofiaa pienille punamuurahaisille for voice and piano Text: Kari Saviniemi (Fin)

Marie Samuelsson

GE 14075 (score), GE 14077 (study score)

GE 13593

FG 9790-55011-728-0

Läten för ny tid/Calls for New Times Jubilee Overture for orchestra

Läten ä e för ny tid

Ȯȱ Ĵȱ ãȱ ªȱ ȱ för sopran, alt, tenor & baryton

Calls for New Times Ca


Jubileumsouvertyr Jubilee Overture

Three Ensembles for soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and piano GE 13595


Concert Overture (1900) for chamber orchestra First publication


FG 9790-55011-734-1 (score)

FG 9790-55011-729-7

GÉZA SZILVAY PER GUNNAR PETERSSON Denna dagen ett liv (This Day, a Life) Texts from the Book of Psalms and Swedish Book of Psalms (Sw, Eng) for mixed choir, discant choir, soprano, organ and orchestra

Per Gunnar Petersson

DENNA DAGEN, ETT LIV blandad kör och orkester

Colourstrings Violin ABC: Book G3 – Fourth position FG 9790-55011-596-5

Book G4 – Fifth position FG 9790-55011-597-2

Piano accompaniments for the book G3 & G4

GE 13953 (score),

for mixed choir, discant choir, soprano and organ + timpani ad.lib.

FG 9790-55011-693-1

PDF EDITIONS A new selection of piano classics by Erkki Melartin, Selim Palmgren, Oskar Merikanto, Sulho Ranta and others available in Fennica Gehrman’s web shop. Also works for piano four hands and vocal music.

GE 13952 (score) GE 13960 (timpani)

Sing a New Song for discant choir and organ (from This Day, a Life) Text: from the Book of Psalms 117:1, 33:3 (Eng)

For further information contact us at:

GE 13954 Per Gunnar Petersson

SING A NEW SONG treble choir and organ

Gehrmans Musikförlag AB

Fennica Gehrman Oy Ab

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

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

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