N E W S L E T T E R F RO M G E H R M A N S M U S I K F Ö R L A G & F E NNIC A G E H R M A N
Veljo Tormis – in the fields of epic
Albert Schnelzer – festival composer
NEWS Valfridsson – works on the way
Harri Vuori at 60
Photo: Music Finland/Maarit Kytöharju
Composer Harri Vuori is the leading character in the documentary Jälkeläiset (Descendants), a film about the Tuusulanjärvi lakeside community where Finland’s leading artists gathered and made their home at the beginning of the 20th century. Vuori has also composed music for the film, to be premiered at the Värinää Festival in Järvenpää in April at which Vuori is the focus composer. A work by him was premiered on 7 March (See: Premieres) and a concert of music by him and Lotta Wennäkoski was scheduled for 12 March. Harri Vuori turned 60 in January. One of his most recent works is the Guitar Concerto Cthulhu’s Dreams, given its first performance by the Lappeenranta City Orchestra with Jyrki Myllärinen as the soloist last November.
Allan Pettersson Project updates BIS Records and the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra will include Violin Concerto No. 2 in the Allan Pettersson Project with Ulf Wallin as the soloist. The concert will take place in September and the recording in January 2018. Moreover, BIS has decided to extend the project to comprise Pettersson’s chamber music, with new recordings of Concerto for Violin and String Quartet, 24 Barefoot Songs, Six Songs etc. The recording of the Symphony No. 12 – The Dead of the Square, for choir and orchestra, has been postponed until the spring of 2019. nordic
NEWSLE T TER FROM GEHRMANS MUSIKFÖRLAG & FENNICA GEHRMAN
Sound samples , video clips and other material are available at www.gehrmans.se/highlights www.fennicagehrman.fi/highlights Cover photos: From Eduard Tubin’s ballet Kratt, Denis Klimuk as The Master (Harri Rospu), Veljo Tormis (Scanpix/Postimees, Peter Langovits), Albert Schnelzer (Hans Lindén) Editors: Henna Salmela and Kristina Fryklöf Translations: Susan Sinisalo and Robert Carroll Design: Göran Lind ISSN 2000-2742 (Print), ISSN 2000-2750 (Online) Printed in Sweden by TMG Sthlm, Bromma 2017
H i ghl i ghts
September 2017 will be a busy month with several orchestral premieres. The Guards’ Band and percussionist Antti Ohenoja have commissioned a Marimba Concerto from Timo-Juhani Kyllönen to be premiered on the 5th in Helsinki. Juhani Nuorvala’s new work commissioned by the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra will see the light of day on the 16th in Kokkola, conducted by Sakari Oramo. Kalevi Aho’s Chamber Concerto for Harp and Strings, a commission by the Gent Festival of Flanders, will be premiered in Belgium on the 18th by the Ensemble Resonanz and Anneleen Lenaerts, harp. Kimmo Hakola’s new Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Chamber Orchestra is on the programme of the Tapiola Sinfonietta in Espoo on the 22nd. The soloists will be Antti Tikkanen and Minna Pensola.
Martinsson performances Rolf Martinsson will conclude his three-year-residency with the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra on 18 May, with the world premiere of the new concert-opener piece Shimmering Islands, jointly commissioned by the Helsingborg, the Malmö and the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestras. Martinsson´s Double Bass Concerto will be heard in Australia with the Queensland SO/Alondra de la Parra in April, and with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta/Alexander Liebreich in November, with Edicson Ruiz as soloist. November will also see Lisa Larsson as soloist in the Australian premiere of Ich denke Dein… together with the Melbourne SO/Stanislav Kochanovsky. Conducted by Rumon Gamba the Banatul Symphony will perform the concert-opener piece Open Mind during the George Enescu Festival in Timisoara and Bucharest in September.
Tubin’s The Goblin Eduard Tubin´s ballet Kratt (The Goblin) has been staged recurrently at the Estonian National Opera since 2015, and there will be more performances during the seasons 2016/17 and 2017/18, including guest performances at the Helicon Opera in Moscow, the Marinsky Theatre in St Petersburg and the Alexander Theatre in Helsinki. Kratt was the very first Estonian ballet and it was premiered during the WWII at the Vanemuine Theatre in Tartu. Kratt is a mythical character from Estonian folklore, whose sole purpose is to serve his greedy master, the Farmer, in obtaining riches. Eduard Tubin has in the ballet successfully combined folk music elements with contemporary sound and symphonic language.
Eneko Amoros as Kratt
Photo: Harri Rospu
Photo: Viktor Gårdsäter
Jonas Valfridsson is writing a Bassoon Concertino for soloist Sebastian Stevenson and Musica Vitae for spring 2018. It will be followed by a multi-movement orch estral work with choir, inspired by the paintings of the Swedish fairy-tale artist John Bauer who perished tragically with his whole family in an autumn storm on Lake Vättern in 1918. The work is a joint commission and will have its premiere in Bauer´s hometown of Jönköping in conjunction with the centenary memorial of the accident.
Matthew Whittall has been commissioned to compose a work for the National Viola Competition in Tampere in September. Lasting ten minutes, it will be scored for flute, viola and harp. The Piano Concerto commissioned from him by PianoEspoo is to be premiered in November this year. The soloist will be Risto-Matti Marin, an active ambassador of Whittall’s music. On 6 March he gave the US premiere of Whittall’s piano suite Leaves of Grass in New York. Alba Records is releasing a disc of works by Whittall that will include Northlands, The Return of Light and ad puram annihilationem meam – large-scale pieces for orchestra and chorus.
Photo: Music Finland/Saara Vuorjoki
A new opera by Kortekangas
P r e m ie r es
Olli Kortekangas’s opera Veljeni vartija (My Brother’s Keeper) is to be premiered at the Tampere Hall on 16 February, 2018. The librettist is Tuomas Parkkinen. This large-scale commission by the Tampere Opera commemorates the battles of the Finnish Civil War in Tampere in 1918. It describes the events from the perspectives of two siblings that drift to opposite sides. The opera is an epic, symphonic drama about crushed dreams, difficult choices and great emotions, and the focus is on personal histories. The Tampere Philharmonic will be conducted by Santtu-Matias Rouvali, and the soloists will include Tuuli Takala, Ville Rusanen and Tuomas Katajala.
Spring 2017 TOBIAS BROSTRÖM
Suite for Strings
Musica Vitae/Meta4 3.3. Växjö, Sweden
Distant Horizons for brass ensemble
GSO Brass. 26.3. Gothenburg, Sweden
Muina päivinä elit
Satu Kaarisola-Kulo, soprano, Jukka Kasper, horn, Paavo Maijala piano 7.3. Järvenpää, Finland (Värinää Festival)
Pohjannoro wins prize in Dutilleux Competition
Photo: Music Finland/Maarit Kytöharju
Hannu Pohjannoro’s images, hommages for ensemble scored success at the 8th International Henri Dutilleux Composition Competition in Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, France. Pohjannoro shared the second prize with Matteo Franceschini; no first or third prize was awarded. The other three finalists were Augusta Read Thomas, Mark Simpson and Pierre Jalbert. This time 438 works were entered by 353 composers in 50 countries. All five works chosen for the finals were heard at a concert on January 22.
Anni Haapaniemi, oboe, Emil Holmström piano 18.3. Helsinki, Finland Clarinet Concerto
Lappeenranta CO/Eero Lehtimäki, sol. Olli Leppäniemi 23.3. Lappeenranta, Finland
Five Pieces for Piano and Orchestra
Gothenburg SO/Mario Venzago, sol. Peter Friis Johansson. 22.3. Gothenburg, Sweden
Luther & Aino on stage
New home page Fennica Gehrman’s new home page has been launched at www.fennicagehrman.fi. It provides more information about composers with links to work lists and publications. Under the details for each composer there is now also a link to the web shop and a list of hire works linked to the Zinfonia database, a portal including the world’s largest hire catalogues.
Dalby Chamber Choir/Anita Andersson 25.3. Dalby, Sweden Shimmering Islands
Helsingborg SO/Stefan Solyom 18.5. Helsingborg, Sweden
Bulletproof Photo: Josef Doukkali
Kari Tikka’s Luther is a timely opera this year, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The next performance of the opera is scheduled on June 1, at the Organ and Aria Festival in Espoo. There will be three performances in all. Singing the leading roles will be Elja Puukko, Emriikka Salonen and Aki Alamikkotervo, and conducting the Helsinki Sinfonietta will be Erkki Lasonpalo. The Finnish National Opera is to host Erkki Melartin’s opera Aino on 26 May in a concert performance in Helsinki starring Helena Juntunen in the leading role. Completed in 1912, Aino is a landmark work in early Finnish opera. Based on the national epic, The Kalevala, it is in flowing Late-Romantic style and uses Wagnerian Leitmotif technique.
Samuelsson news In November Marie Samuelsson was awarded the Ingvar Lidholm Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. According to the jury “her works exhibit a continually captivating imagination of sound, considerable thematic breadth and a deep empathy with the human condition”. At present Samuelsson is working on her new piece, Five Seasons, for the string orchestra Musica Vitae. It is written with the earth’s climate changes in mind, and will be integrated with three of Vivaldi´s Four Seasons. The premiere will be at the Båstad Chamber Music Festival in late June, and it will also be performed during the Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm in August.
Royal Stockholm PO/Evan Rogister 6.4. Stockholm, Sweden (Stockholm Composer Weekend Festival)
Candomino Choir/Esko Kallio 9.4. Helsinki, Finland
Lund Vocal Ensemble. 6.5. Lund, Sweden Tsurah
Hannah Holgersson, soprano & clarinet quintet 13.5. Stockholm, Sweden
Hannah Holgersson, soprano & clarinet quintet 13.5. Stockholm, Sweden
Festmusik – Cantata to texts by Martin Luther
Boo Chamber Choir/Helena Engart 21.5. Stockholm, Sweden
Mühlrad’s grants and commissions
Photo: Henrik Montgomery
On Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January), Jacob Mühlrad received the Michael Bindelfeld Foundation´s grant for a choral work, which has the working title Elegy, about his maternal grandfather’s experiences in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. “Jacob interweaves, with the power of music, a survivor´s tale and the following generations´ inherited wounds in a piece that conveys the memory of the Holocaust into our time.” The work will be premiered by the Swedish Radio Choir on 14 October. Jacob Mühlrad has also been awarded a grant from the Anders Wall Foundation to compose a solo piece for cellist Johannes Rostamo. Future commissions include a large-scale choral work, jointly commissioned by the Swedish Radio Choir, the WDR Rundfunk Chor Köln and the Capella San Francisco, and a Violin Concerto for soloist Christian Svarfvar, due to be premiered by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic in 2020. Jacob Mühlrad receives the Michael Bindefeld grant from H. M. Queen Silvia
H i ghl i ghts
Veljo Tormis Veljo Tormis, Estonia’s best-known choral composer, died in Tallinn on 21 January at the age of 86. His extensive, highly-varied choral output drawing on folk songs is a tribute to forgotten peoples, vanishing traditions and cultural minorities. Tormis was born at Kuusalu in Estonia on 7 August, 1930. His father was a church organist and choir leader, and his mother a keen singer in a choir. While still a child, Veljo developed an interest in the organ. This he studied along with choral conducting in Tallinn, and later composition at the Moscow Conservatory. In addition to composing, he was a professor at both the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and the University of Tartu. A study trip to Hungary in the 1960s, and especially the choral music of Kodály, were great sources of inspiration for Tormis and guided him in the direction of folklore. Other Estonian composers before him had already collected folk songs – Eduard Tubin and Cyrillus Kreek, for example – but Tormis took his interest further, both temporally and geographically. His style of composition was finally moulded by the realisation that for him, folk songs were not just melodic motifs to be developed. Rather, he felt their spirit should integrate with the music and modern concert form. Tormis maintained that he was a composer not of folk music but of classical choral music that sought to preserve the authenticity of its source material. The Estonian Calendar Songs (Eesti kalendrilaulud) completed in 1967 pointed to this new style. The most popular of the 29 songs is possibly the St. John’s Day Songs ( Jaanilaulud), likened to the jubilant cry of revellers in the nightless Midsummer night; the theme is such that, once heard, it can never be forgotten. Despite the seeming simplicity, the choral writing is extremely resourceful and inventive. The ear is often caught first by the expressive melody, but Tormis’s skill at creating harmonies with the accompanying voices and at using subtle alterations to the rhythms is the thing for which he is best known and the reason why choirs have fallen in love with his music again and again.
Forgotten peoples his mission Choral conductor and musicologist Mimi S. Daitz divides the works for choir by Tormis into three categories: ones based on texts by 20th century poets such as Viivi Luik and Jaan Kaplinski, ones with traditional words and melodies set within a larger compositional framework, and ones which are more or less folk song arrangements, i.e. those composed for school children. Tormis is best known specifically for H i ghl i ghts
his archaic songs from the Baltic region. His choral output is a tribute to the forgotten peoples, vanishing traditions and cultural minorities whose living conditions have, over the ages, virtually been destroyed. Tormis composed numerous songs describing everyday life and customs in ancient times: harvest and the daily round, games, weddings, lullabies and incantations. The individual songs are fairly short, but together they often constitute broader cycles, such as the Nature Pictures (Looduspildid). His music does not just preserve memories, melodies and traditions that would otherwise be in danger of falling into oblivion; it brings them back to life. Who today would be familiar with the primeval runic songs (Estonian alliterative folk songs) had Tormis not helped to revive them? Forgotten Peoples (Unustatud rahvad), composed between 1970 and 1989 for unaccompanied mixed choir, is the biggest of the choral cycles. The six sizeable movements encompass folklore of the Baltic-Finnic peoples. Tormis just happened to meet some of the few remaining Livonians, and their songs and language inspired him to write this cycle. He carefully adapted the original texts with the help of linguists. Among the movements most often performed is Ingrian Evenings, based on folk tunes collected south of St. Petersburg. Tormis also wanted to show that despite their differences, traditions may resemble one another in their relationship to nature, their customs and beliefs.
The singing revolution In the 1980s, particularly, folk music was a means for Estonians to express their growing nationalist feelings. Tormis was a conspicuous figure in the “singing revolution” that preceded Estonia’s independence, when the programmes for the massive singing events held in his country included popularised folk songs. Many of his works were political statements aiming expressly to raise national awareness. Vision of Esto(Nägemus Eestist, 1989/91) for male choir, nia to words by Juhan Liiv, was a symbolic statement on Estonia’s gaining of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Before that, Tormis had done a vast job familiarising Estonians with their common vocal heritage by giving talks and directing singing events all over the country. In composing a vocal work, Tormis began with the words. The texts gave birth to melodies, and with them often the evocative, repetitive rhythms he used to create effective tensions. Now and then he might be spotted playing the drums. Curse Upon (Raua needmine, 1972) based on The KaIron levala represents the more primitive side of his music; the hair-raising narrative, swelling to compelling proportions, is seasoned with whispers, whistles, drumming and ostinatos. An Aboriginal Song (Pärismaalase lauluke, 1981) is a short, popular, ritualistic piece for male choir and shaman’s drum. (Laevas lauldakse, 1983) is Singing aboard Ship
Photo: Peter Langovits
– in the fields of epic
a women’s lament as they stand on the shore, yearning for their husbands sent off to war.
Tidings of Tormis’s creations Tormis also composed an opera, Swan Flight (Luigelend, 1966), chamber music, solo works, and film and orchestral music, such as the popular for orchestra often conducted Overture No. 2 by Eri Klas and others outside Estonia. In 2009, Tormis arranged some of his choral works in a suite for string orchestra, Reminiscentia, lasting nearly an hour. He had already stopped composing by then but was still working, among other things transcribing works for different types of choir. The published choral songs by Tormis have found a place in the repertoire of choirs both professional and amateur and have spread far and wide. Many of his songs exist in performing translations into English approved by him. The Estonian Philharmonic Choir, the RAM male choir and choral conductor Tõnu Kaljuste have been particularly active ambassadors for his music with their performances and recordings. “I have always had some specific reason for composing: to say something, to stress some idea, even a political one,” Tormis once said. He never called attention to himself, letting the music speak for itself. As a person he was reserved, wise and warmhearted. Tiia Järg wrote in a review of his choral disc Epic Fields: “The unity with nature, feeling the link between generations, mental balance and inner dignity – this is the tidings of Veljo Tormis’s creations given through the prism of his music. Tormis binds his listener to contemplate on the profound essence of life, responsibility towards the past and the future. Through his creation the voice of our ancestors addresses us. Only if the ethical norms of life are held sacred can human beings survive as species. And therefore Tormis is walking in the fields of epic.” H enna S al m ela
“Reflections with Tormis’ Music” was a concert organized on 26 January at the Estonia Concert Hall in Tallinn to pay tribute to the composer. There was also a memorial concert on 12 March coordinated by the Estonian Composers’ Union.
On 6 April the Composer Weekend Festival of the Stockholm Concert Hall will get started and this year´s composer profile is Albert Schnelzer. In all, fifteen of his works – orchestral as well as chamber music – are to be performed. Photo: Hans Lindén
to festival composer Schnelzer 1 How does it feel to get a whole festival de-
voted to your music? What expectations do you have? Of course, it feels fantastic to show off what I have been working on over so many years, and it’s especially gratifying that this festival will take place in my own hometown. It is my fond hope to be able to put on display another side of contemporary music and to surprise the new listeners in a positive way. The CEO of the Stockholm Concert Hall, Stefan Forsberg, said in an interview recently that he once got the following comment after a concert: “You always surprise us, we came for the Beethoven and left with the Albert Schnelzer”. Then you naturally feel enormously proud!
The orchestral works presented at the festival were composed during a period spanning over 10 years. If you look back on that period, can you find any distinct features in your music, and how has it developed? I think I can see a great deal in the earlier works that has later become distinguishing marks. I have a predilection for cantabile and sometimes even lyrical melodies. For me, the melody is often the bearer of the dramaturgy in a work. Together with other basic components such as pulse and harmony, melodies create direction and the flow which in its turn gives the music its dramatic form. What I have continued to work with has no doubt been the multi-level and polyphonic features. I have developed the harmony where different chords and tonalities can sometimes lie simultaneously on different levels and strata. A feeling of movement and flow has also become ever more important during these years.
Let’s take a peek at the festival’s programme. The Royal Philharmonic under Evan Rogister will premiere your new orchestral work, Bulletproof. Can you say a few words about this piece? Who would not want to be safe from bullets? The older I get, the more I realise that it is not only my-
self who is mortal and vulnerable, but also my family and those closest to me. The urge to protect the ones we love, fearing that something might happen to them, is perhaps one of the strongest feelings we all share. Composing this work turned out to be a kind of therapy for me: to conjure up the darkness that is out there, but to not let it get the upper hand. To describe in tones the conflicting emotions encompassed by our time: beauty, fear, anger, aggression, and also a weak ray of hope.
The Gävle Symphony Orchestra will appear in a guest performance at the second concert, playing your popular opening-piece, A Freak in Burbank, and the Oboe Concerto – The Enchanter with Francois Leleux as soloist. Can you tell us something about your collaboration with Francois? We met for the first time in the USA in the summer of 2006 at a festival where my Bassoon Concerto had its premiere. Francois took a fancy to this piece and asked me immediately to compose an oboe concerto for him. He has performed The Enchanter on a number of occasions, the latest in January 2017 with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and conductor Jaime Martin. This coming summer these two, together with the Gävle Symphony Orchestra, will record the concerto on CD. Salman Rushdie’s novel ‘The Enchantress of Florence’ served as inspiration for the work. The so-called magic realism that Rushdie uses in his novels is very well suited as a point of departure for musical form.
On the third festival day the Royal Philharmonic will play Concerto for Orchestra – Brain followed by the Cello Concerto – Damage Crazy Diamond with Jakob Koranyi as soloist. Both titles allude to songs by the group Pink Floyd. Do you consider them sister works? Yes, absolutely. They have many common denominators. Both works involved a recollection of my own early teens, a time when Pink Floyd’s music
meant a great deal to me. Both were also commissioned and premiered by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, who will record them and a few of my other works in May of this year for a coming portrait CD on the BIS label.
You have indeed had some big successes with your chamber music as well, and the festival will be rounded off with ”Chamber Music and Hard Rock”. What can we anticipate here? I am really looking forward to the chamber music concert! Starting off with my piano work Dance with the Devil felt absolutely self-evident. I have described the work as a cross between Franz Liszt and Iron Maiden and the phenomenal Henrik will be performing. After this piece Måwe comes a motley assortment of works that have followed me throughout the years. I wrote the earliest work, Solitude for solo violin, while still a student at the College of Music. Also on the programme are my Requiem for soprano and piano with the Swedish star soprano Susanna Andersson, the trio Wolfgang Is Dancing! where Mozart meets klezmer(!), my piano trio Predatory Dances, as well as the piano quintet Aqua Songs, which was written for the celebration of H. M. King Carl XVI Gustaf´s 70th birthday in 2016.
And what about hard rock? The festival will be concluded with my piano work Dance with the Devil being performed by a rock group; this is something that I have dreamed about for a long time. When the opportunity presented itself I did not hesitate for a moment, but contacted some of Sweden´s best musicians, who have what it takes to really get this work together! These guys, quite simply, know their hard rock! Hopefully we will all experience how it might have sounded if Franz Liszt had got the opportunity to share the stage with Iron Maiden. K r istina F r y kl ö f
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3/2017 1 3
Reper toire tips Chamber operas
Tranfjädrarna/The Twilight Crane/ Die Kranichfedern (1957) Dur: 55’
Libretto: Bertil Malmberg after a play by Junji Kinoshita (Sw/Eng/Ger) 4 sol, 1001-1000-11-0-cel-str (00321)- mixed choir Opera in five tableaux based on a Japanese tale about the consequences of greed. The farmer Yohio saves the life of a crane, who in gratitude returns to him in the form of a woman, Tsu. From crane feathers she weaves the most beautiful textiles, but her husband must never see her weaving. The suggestive plot is told by very simple means: the song melody lies very close to the spoken word, and the transparent orchestral texture has a Japanese touch.
Svall /Surge (2003) Dur: 100’
Libretto: Claes Fellbom (Sw) 8 sol, 2221-2210-11-pf-str-mixed chorus á 8 Surge is a two-act tragedy based on real events, two widely publicized honor killings that took place in Sweden in the beginning of the 2000s. The vocal parts ranges from the most beautiful lyrical song to purely spoken words. The music is rich in nuances and underlines and deepens, in abrupt changes, moods and emotions. A small chorus comments on the course of events, and the baritone saxophone plays an important role as the mouthpiece of brutality.
Marsin mestarilaulajat/Die Meister singer vom Mars (2000) Dur: 70’
Libretto: Matti Hagelberg, Karla Loppi (Fin/Ger) 4 sol, fl-cl-vl-vc or chamber orchestra & CD This is a “comics opera”. Hakola has translated Hagelberg’s cartoons into a humoristic work which is absurd, surrealistic and one of the most delightful contemporary operas. The music wildly blends ingredients in a post-modern spirit and presents some astonishing combinations, such as minimalism and Baroque. Piia and Anu Komsi in the leading roles made the premiere in 2000 an absolute riot.
FREDRIK HÖGBERG/ NICOLAI DUNGER
Stilla min eld/Appease My Fire (2016) Dur: 120’
Libretto: Kerstin Gezelius/Alexander Onofri (Sw/ English translation is under way) 5 sol, fl-cl-pf- perc-string trio The plot is set in a luxurios 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.
Yhden yön juttu/One Night Stand (2011) Dur: 120’
Libretto: Michael Baran (Fin) 18 sol, 1121-2110-02-hp-pf(+synth)-el.guit-str-
mixed choir This modern opera is a detective and love story hybrid. The main role is sung by either a soprano or, in the alternate cast, a tenor – hence the love is between either two women or a man and a woman. There was a new approach to processing the opera in real-time interactiveness in workshops at the Sibelius Academy.
H i ghl i ghts
Tango solo (2010) Dur: 54’
Libretto: Maritza Núñez (Spa) 1 sol, fl/acc/pf/string quartet Tango Solo is a monologue opera, a song to love and dreams. The events are set in night-time Buenos Aires. Nicole (soprano) awaits the arrival of a comet and hovers on the borders of madness, death and life. The opera is simultaneously dreamy, sensual, passionate and realistic. Kyllönen’s music carries tango and milonga references, and the accordion gives the opera a feeling of Argentina.
Klami’s mighty vision Psalmus is one of the great works in Finnish music, and unfolded in all its might at the Helsinki Music Centre. The listener could not but be convinced by the composer’s originality and his vision of primitivism. The passionate grasp of Hannu Lintu made the experience exciting, even slightly deranged. Klami truly did not skimp on powerful tones in his handling of the orchestra. Helsingin Sanomat 15.1. Uuno Klami: Psalmus
Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu, Helsinki Music Centre Choir, sol. Tommi Hakala, Helena Juntunen, 13.1.2017 Helsinki, Finland
Die Geburt des Täufers (2010) Dur: 85’
Libretto: Jyrki Linjama, Matti Kontio, Jussi Tapola (Ger) 4 sol, 0000-1000-01-str This church opera is about the birth of John the Baptist and places texts from the Bible, the Gospel according to Luke and The Song of Songs in touch with the present day. Linjama works with musicalhistorical layers and uses them to construct an impressive, moving drama. The well-crafted music truly speaks to the listener, rises in places to lofty heights and culminates in The Magnificat.
Photo: Barbara Frommann
Libretto: Maritza Núñez (Spa) 9 sol, 1121-1111-02-hp.theremin-str-mixed choir The opera picks out dramatic twists in the lives of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and of Lev Trotsky, exiled in Mexico. Frida’s alter ego is also present. Aho’s music shines and glows in sumptuous Latino colours. The 29-piece orchestra includes such instruments as a Mexican folk harp and a theremin. The mood varies from dreamy to wildly carnivalistic, and there is also some sharp political parody.
In the skilful music classical is mixed with contemporary sound phenomena such as popular music and jazz.
Anna Liisa (2006) Dur: 145’
20 sol, 2121-2220-02-pf-str Libretto: Puumala, Tiina Käkelä-Puumala (Fin) A powerful, timeless work with a message and hailed by the critics as a great new Finnish opera. The libretto is based on the classic play of the same name by Minna Canth and addresses the themes of the status of a young woman with a secret, and liberation in a rural community. Folkloristic music plays an important part in it and there are often some beautiful balladlike episodes.
Föreställningen/The Performance (2013) Dur: 60’
Libretto: Katarina Frostenson (Sw) 3 sol, cl-perc-pf-string quartet 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.
Äidit ja tyttäret/Mothers and Daughters (1999) Dur: 100’
Libretto: Paavo Haavikko (Fin) 10 sol, 2221-2111-20-pf-str The focus in this opera inspired by The Kalevala is on strong, archetypical women and the Don Juan-like character of Lemminkäinen. The writing for the orchestra is colourful, and the vocally-rewarding music allows room for both bel canto and more speech-like techniques. The women’s singing tradition rooted in folk music also has a place in the work, in the form of a trio of women who comment on the events.
CARL UNANDER SCHARIN
Hummelhonung/Sweetness (2001) Dur: 135´
Libretto: Magnus Carlbring after a novel by Torgny Lindgren (Sw) 7 sol, 1111-1110-01-0-synth-str (11111) A burlesque thriller in two acts about brotherhood, madness, hate and death. Two elderly terminally ill brothers in a remote country district hate each other with a passion. The only thing keeping them alive is the will to survive the other. The music is very well balanced, suggestive and minimalist.
An absolute success for Kalevi Aho Aho is a clever orchestrator who knows how to seduce his audience, and nothing is lost of the electric atmosphere when, after the opening solo, the huge orchestra comes rolling in with mighty harmony. The primitivism and musicianly joy go down so well with the audience. Hufvudstadsbladet 19.11. Kalevi Aho: Sieidi – Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra
Finnish RSO/Gustavo Gimeno, sol. Martin Grubinger, 16.11.2016 Helsinki, Finland
One of the most imaginative composers Aho has created a vivid 15-minute orchestral piece with constantly evolving colors and intricate, surprising rhythms – both being Aho trademarks… Aho remains, at 67, one of the most imaginative and accomplished composers of our time. Star Tribune 15.1. Kalevi Aho: Gejia
Minnesota Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä, 13.1.2017 Minneapolis, USA
Dramatic intensity Above all the listener is impressed by the sheer expressiveness of the solo part… There are great, expansive melodies … The music is emotionally charged and sombre throughout. Hufvudstadsbladet 3.12. Kalevi Aho: Violin Concerto No. 2
World premiere: Kymi Sinfonietta/Eugene Tzigane, sol. Elina Vähälä, 1.12.2016 Kotka, Finland Elina Vähälä
Photo: Laura Riihelä
Frida y Diego - Fresco operistico (2013) Dur: 148’
No one ever sounded like this before
Photo: Taneli Haapaniemi
A performance that throbs with life and cheer… The story sucks the audience along. Kuusisto fuses together stylistic influences to produce not a glorious mishmash but a functional, living organism. If the Moomins could further sing in their own language, the opera might well have an appreciative audience in Sweden. Hufvudstadsbladet 1.2. Ilkka Kuusisto: Moomin Opera (Muumiooppera)
Concordia Orchestra/Tuomas Rousi, dir. Ville Saikkonen, sol. Outi Rättö, Ronnie Karlsson etc., 28.1.2017 Helsinki, Finland
Brilliant Börtz Börtz´s way leads from moderate modernism to a world of tightly woven harmonies where consonances are not forbidden… Lyricism and expressionism get on well together… Börtz and Sonnevi do not compromise. The phrase “in moderation” is not in their vocabulary. The thematic repertoire of the poetical message touches upon the antipodes of the soul. That is why “Voices in the Darkness” is convincing – so complex in respect to its worldview, so personally charged. So brilliantly wrought. Opus 6.2. Daniel Börtz: Voices in the Darkness
Rautavaara rarity on stage
Marvellous saxophone concerto
The Gift of the Magi, both its music and its libretto, is a little operatic gem. Rautavaara’s expansive idiom has a melodic flow but also a suitable degree of bleak melancholy. Rondo 1-2017 Einojuhani Rautavaara: The Gift of the Magi (Tietäjien lahja)
What a marvellous experience! The first movement starts out forcefully and playfully billowing with a melodious theme that lends more emotional character. Anders Paulsson gets the soprano sax to sound like a lovely, soft whispering in the lower register, and it is astonishing how beautiful a soprano sax can sound. Jönköpings Nyheter 30.1. Jörgen Dafgård: Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Orchestra
World stage premiere: Sibelius Academy Orchestra/Markus Lehtinen, dir. Vilppu Kiljunen, sol. Silja Aalto, Tiitus Ylipää etc., 26.11.2016 Helsinki, Finland
World premiere: Jönköping Sinfonietta/Johannes Gustavsson, soloist Anders Paulsson, 29.1.2017 Jönköping, Sweden
To “The Phantom Carriage” Larsson Gothe has written 106 minutes of orchestral music. This is an amazing feat considering that the music flows so naturally from the first picture frame to the last, at the same time as it pulls out all the stops in the most jolting effects. That the audience in the Gothenburg Concert Hall, noticeably moved, gave the composer a standing ovation, seemed more justified than usual. Dagens Nyheter 4.2. Mats Larsson Gothe: Körkarlen/The Phantom Carriage
World premiere: Gothenburg SO/Karen Kamensek, 2.2.2017 Gothenburg, Sweden (Gothenburg Film Festival)
Fresh energy This work for organ had the snappy beat and fresh energy of a folk song from beginning to end… [The listener] eagerly awaited the eventual theme, and it was indeed devastatingly fine. Turun Sanomat 31.1. Mikko Heiniö: Kun pojat… (When the Boys)
World premiere: Ville Urponen, organ, 29.1.2017 Turku, Finland
Thrilling shivers Crossing the Five Rivers is a beautiful tribute from Kortekangas to Messiaen… The organ and gamba share a delicacy of sound and poignantly communicate in this work… Nuorvala’s Solo per viola da gamba triggers an exciting excursion in which the chords, intervals and different-sized tones produced by the pure tuning caused thrilling shivers… The magnificent recording astounds even hifi freaks. Rondo 1-2017, Helsingin Sanomat 1.2. Olli Kortekangas: Crossing the Five Rivers for viol and organ, Offertorium for viol Juhani Nuorvala: Solo per viola da gamba
CD: Varpu Haavisto, viol, Kari Vuola, organ (Alba ABCD 401 “Crossings”)
Photo: Markus Gårder
The Phantom Carriage
Makes visible the invisible It might seem a difficult project to combine “A God Disguised” with the life narratives of Romani beggars. But Folkoperan succeeds in this as a mat-
Photo: Adam Stefan de Bassac
CD: Eric Ericson Chamber Choir/Fredrik Malmberg, Fredrik Zetterström, baritone, Thomas Schuback, piano (Footprint Records, FRCD 090)
ter of course... Jonas Forssell has done a brilliant job in his arrangement, so that Lars-Erik Larsson´s Swedish suite is seamlessly woven together with Lelo Nika´s Romani super-swing. Marie Rosenmir dance-conducted the Folkoperan´s orchestra. My God, this is great! The whole production is done with such flair that it almost brings one to tears. Expressen 17.2. A performance full of dignity and respect. I was deeply moved. All persons become individuals, with their own very human stories. Svenska Dagbladet 17.2. Lars-Erik Larsson: Förklädd gud/A God Disguised
Folkoperan/Marie Rosenmir, sol. Shadi Ali, Sanna Gibbs, Astrid Assefa, Lelo Nikas, accordion etc, 15.2.2017 Stockholm, Sweden
Congenial Snow Queen Staern´s music is congenial… Tones and rhythms run up against one another in playful initiatives, held together in a level-headed temperament by conductor Stefan Solyom. Here there are features of Nordic nature poetry, baroque and renaissance opera, musical and electronic dream music. The varying timbres meet the distinct dramaturgy of the libretto and Elisabeth Linton´s beautiful staging. This is a musical fairy play with high dramatic intensity and judicious aesthetic choices. Svenska Dagbladet 21.12. Staern´s music is powerful but light, rich in sonorities and suggestive without being overburdened, and his orchestra has its own strong drive at the same time as it serves the singers. Staern is a skilful musical dramatist already here in his first opera. Sydsvenskan 18.12. The Snow Queen is absolutely brilliant… Expressen 19.12. Benjamin Staern: The Snow Queen
World premiere: Malmö Opera/Stefan Solyom, sol. Susanna Stern, Frida Johansson, Wiktor Sundqvist, Maria Streijfert, Bengt Krantz etc, 17.12.2016 Malmö, Sweden
H i ghl i ghts
Photo: Malin Arnesson
World premiere: Sibelius Academy SO/ Atso Almila, 18.11.2016 Lahti, Finland
Cheerful Moomin Opera
Photo: Maarit Kytöharju
Most impressive was, however, the mastery of Lotta Wennäkoski’s Sedecim… Never before have I heard such sensual, tonally nuanced and unconstrainedly sentimental music by her. She orchestrates like an accomplished master, and despite sporadic glimpses of such figures as Saariaho, Dutilleux and Messiaen, no Finnish composer has ever sounded like this before. Hufvudstadsbladet 21.11. Lotta Wennäkoski: Sedecim
new p u b li c ati o ns s c o r es MATS LARSSON GOTHE
The Autumn Diary
for chamber orchestra GE 12866 (score) GE 12868 (study score)
Ur en anteckningsbok. Magnificat (From a Note Book. Magnificat)
for alto solo and orchestra Text: Håkan Sandell (Sw) GE 12869 (score) GE 12871 (study score) GE 12872 (vocal score)
tuto r s
Scene for soprano, choir and orchestra New edition in French Text: Eyvind Johnson (Sw)/ Translation: Malou Höijer (Fr)
EEVA SARMANTO-NEUVONEN/ RITVA LEHTELÄ/ANJA SAARI
Nausikaa ensam/ Nausicaa Seule
GE 12837 (score with French text) GE 12840 (study score with French text)
Suomalainen pianokoulu – Finnish Piano School
New editions of the popular piano tutor in 4 volumes.
JEAN SIBELIUS (orch. PINGOUD)
Prelude – Alkusoitto, 979-0-55011-309-1 Book 1, 979-0-55011-310-7 Book 2, 979-0-55011-311-4 Finale, 979-0-55011-312-1
Ernest Pingoud’s orchestral arrange- ment of Sibelius’s popular piano suite Cinq Morceaux pour piano, also known also as “The Trees”.
The Trees Op. 75
new C D s
C H OR A L LINDA ALEXANDERSSON
for choir SSA Text: Dante Allighieri/ Allen Mandelbaum (Eng)
Andreas Skouras, piano NEOS 10915
I mörkret av röster, Klangernas sånger
Eric Ericson Chamber Choir/ Fredrik Malmberg, Fredrik Zetterström, baritone, Thomas Schuback, piano
Footprint FRCD 090 “Voices in the Darkness”
Notturno, Senza risposte, Fogliame, Trio
Dixit Dominus, Or che´l ciel et la terra
C H A M B E R & IN S T R U M E N TA L TOIVO KUULA
Works for Viola
This collection contains four original works for viola and piano by Kuula as well as those violin pieces and arrangements that can be performed with a viola without a key change. The album includes a separate viola part. 979-0-55011-301-5
… de Tartuffe, je crois
979-0-55011-306-0 (new set of parts)
for speech choir and percussion Text: Hugo Ball (nonsense text) GE 13089
for SAB choir and organ GE 13107
Vokalharmonin, Musica Vitae/Fredrik Malmberg, Mats Bergström, guitar
A delightful guide for clarinet beginners based on the Colourstrings method. 979-0-55011-286-5
for speech choir, percussion and balloons Text: Emily Dickinson (Eng)
ANTON LEANDERSSON ANDRÉAS
for piano and string quartet
for percussion and two double basses GE 13055
An echo of memories
for piano solo GE 13054
for choir SATB a cappella Text: Christina Rosetti (Eng)
for clarinet and ensemble: fl/ten.sax/perc/vl/vla/vc/db arr. Gregory Barrett
Score and parts 979-0-55011-305-3
Allmäna Sången/Maria Goundorina
I denna ljuva sommartid/ Into the Summer We Go
Naxos 8572536 (Swedish Choral Society, vol. 10)
Remember Fly Away Echo
BENGT OLLÉN (arr)
BIS-2224 ”Femina Moderna”
for choir SATB a cappella Text: Trad (Sw/Eng)
Swedish folk song for choir SATB a cappella Text:Trad (Sw)
Urtext for piano A revised publication based on the complete critical edition. 979-0-55011-304-6
Minnesota Orchestra, YL Male Voice Choir/Osmo Vänskä, sol. Lilli Paasikivi
EDUARD TUBIN COMPLETE WORKS Barbara von Tisenhusen (1967-68) Opera in three acts and nine scenes Libretto by Jaan Kross after a short story by Aino Kallas (Estonian/Swedish) Volume XXIX (score) GE 12924 Volume XXX (vocal score) GE 12925 To sign up for a subscription of the ETCW please visit: www.gehrmans.se/en/subscription
Rakastava (The Lover)
Urtext for mixed choir (Fin) A revised publication based on the complete critical edition.
Four Songs of Love
Jubilate Deo etc
Stockholm Musikgymnasium Chamber Choir/ Helene Stureborg Footprint FRCD 088 “Awake O North Wind”
Symphony No. 14
Norrköping SO/Christian Lindberg
BIS-2230 (including DVD “The Song of Life”, TV-documentary with English subtitles) H i ghl i ghts
Five esquisses – Fünf Skizzen
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Promotional magazine from Gehrmans Musikförlag and Fennica Gehrman focusing on Swedish and Finnish classical music.