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NEWSLETTER FROM GEHRMANS MUSIKFรRLAG & FENNICA GEHRMAN
Focus on Matthew Whittall
Seven questions for Tobias Brostrรถm
New composers Fennica Gehrman has signed a publishing agreement with Kirmo Lintinen (b. 1967) for 12 works. A versatile musician and composer, Lintinen can look back over a long career in jazz, as a composer, arranger, pianist and conductor. He nevertheless regards himself primarily as a composer in genres ranging from jazz to classical – sometimes cheerfully intermixed. In recent years he has been concentrating particularly on concert music, which nowadays constitutes the bulk of his considerable output. Among the works covered by the new publishing agreement are concertos for piano, clarinet, guitar, accordion and tuba, Mobile festivo for orchestra and six pieces of chamber music. Gehrmans has begun collaboration with Mats Larsson Gothe (b. 1965) and will publish his two latest orchestral works Autumn Diary for chamber orchestra and From a Notebook. Magnificat, for contralto and orchestra in addition to his forthcoming Symphony No. 3. Larsson Gothe is composing it for the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and the Composer Weekend Festival in Stockholm devoted to his music in April 2016. Over the last few years Mats Larsson Gothe has come to be one of Sweden´s most acclaimed composers, not least through his successes with the operas Poet and Prophetess and the prizewinning Blanche and Marie at Norrlandsoperan, and this summer the opera about Jussi Björling, Silverfågeln (The Silver Bird) at Vattnäs Konsertlada. In addition to operas, Mats Larsson Gothe has written a large amount of orchestral works, solo concertos and chamber music.
Major prize for Aho concerto disc The recording of Kalevi Aho’s theremin and horn concertos has won the prestigious ECHO Classic Award for the best concerto disc of the year. The award ceremony will be at the Konzerthaus Berlin on October 18 where the theremin soloist, Carolina Eyck, will be accepting the award on behalf of BIS Records. She will be joined by Kalevi Aho, Annu Salminen, the horn soloist on the disc, and John Storgårds who conducted the Lapland Chamber Orchestra. Aho has received five new concerto commissions: a double concerto for harp and Cor Anglais and concertos for soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, accordion and timpani.
Kortekangas at Organo novo Olli Kortekangas concert is one of the items on the programme for the 2015 Organo novo organ festival in Helsinki. This will be given by Petri Komulainen (French horn), Markus Kuikka (viol) and Jan Lehtola (organ) at Olaus Petrus Church on November 15. One of the six works will be a premiere for horn and organ. The Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle) will be recording the concert. nor d ic
Tormis celebrates his 85th birthday
NEWSLE T TER FROM GEHRMANS MUSIKFÖRLAG & FENNICA GEHRMAN
www.gehrmans.se/highlights www.fennicagehrman.fi/highlights Cover photo: Tobias Broström (Nicklas Raab) Matthew Whittall (Saara Vuorjoki/Music Finland) 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 2015
Photo: Scanpix/Postimees, Peter Langovits
Sound samples , video clips and other material are available at
Photo: Maarit Kytöharju/Music Finland
Mats Larsson Gothe
Music by Hannu Pohjannoro can be heard at two concerts of his works in October: at the Helsinki Music Centre on the 15th of the month and the Tampere Music Academy on the 22nd. In addition to two new song cycles (See: Premieres) there will be works for chamber ensemble and a largescale percussion quartet called time exposures. Performing them will be Tuuli Lindeberg (soprano), Petri Antikainen (bass-baritone), the Osuma Ensemble and Tampere Raw.
Estonia’s choral shaman and Grand Old Man Veljo Tormis is 85 this year and his birthday is being celebrated with many concerts and events both in Estonia and elsewhere in the world. In August there was a Tormis concert in each of the Estonian counties, given by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, RAM and the Collegium Musicale. Tormis is one of the best-known Estonian composers, with over a hundred works to his name. He has created new choral music in the spirit of the old regilaul roundelays and the Finno-Ugric heritage and says: “I don’t use folk melody – folk melody uses me.” He has also composed orchestral music.
Photo: Jussi Mura/Studio Pellava
Photo: Marco Feklistoff
Photo: Maarit Kytöharju/Music Finland
Focus on Pohjannoro
P r emie r es
Staern and Haglund profiled in 2016
Autumn 2015 TOBIAS BROSTRÖM
Sputnik for trumpet and orchestra
Into Eternity for soprano and orchestra
Malmö SO/Marc Soustrot, sol. Håkan Hardenberger, trumpet, Lisa Larsson, soprano • 28.8. Malmö, Sweden
KALEVI AHO, Symphony No. 16
Photo: Elisabet Löfberg Haglund
Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu, sol. Virpi Räisänen, mezzo-soprano • 2.9. Helsinki, Finland
photo: Adam Haglund
Benjamin Staern will be composer in focus at the Båstad Chamber Music Festival in late June next year. The programme will feature among others a new piece for piano and electronics for David Huang as well as a new work for guitar, small ensemble and electronics for Jakob Kellerman. In the first week of July a number of Tommie Haglund’s works will be heard, when he will be the composer profile at the Lyckå Chamber Music Festival in Karlskrona.
Rosenberg’s Revelation of St. John in German
Photo: Saara Vuorjoki
Hilding Rosenberg´s magnificent Symphony No. 4 – The Revelation of St. John will be performed for the first time in German on 18 November in Kassel. A seminal work in Swedish 20th century music, it was composed in 1940 to texts from the Bible and by Hjalmar Gullberg, and can be seen as a fiery protest against war and violence. The German translation was done by Nelly Sachs. Patrick Ringborg will conduct Staatsorchester Kassel, Helene Stureborg´s Chamber Choir, Staatstheater Kassel´s Opera Choir and baritone soloist Karl-Magnus Fredriksson.
Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra
Lapland ChO/John Storgårds, sol. Anders Paulsson 11.11. Rovaniemi, Finland
Stjärnmusik I (Star Music I)
Margareta Bengtson, soprano, Bengt Forsberg, piano 5.9. Stockholm, Sweden
Ilta (Evening), 11 dance songs for choir, clarinet and cello
Eri Dance Theatre, Key Ensemble/Teemu Honkanen 10.9. Turku, Finland April Evenings for Black Twins
Sonata for two pianos Pasi Helin, Tuukka Vähätalo 1.11. Turku, Finland (Pianoaura Festival)
Omaggio a Bruno Munari Marta Dolzadelli, guitar
18.9. Milan, Italy (VI Festival Corde d’autunno)
PAAVO HEININEN, Symphony No. 6
Helsinki PO/John Storgårds • 8.10. Helsinki, Finland
kuin kaiverrettu maailman merkki
– Seven songs to texts by Jyrki Pellinen, for baritone, bass clarinet, cello and piano maailma on kartta for soprano and string quartet Tuuli Lindeberg, soprano, Petri Antikainen, bass-baritone, Tampere Raw • 15.10. Helsinki, Finland
LOTTA WENNÄKOSKI, Verdigris
Puumala opera Editor’s Choice The recent recording of Veli-Matti Puumala’s is one of the Editor’s opera Anna Liisa Choices in the September issue of Gramophone magazine. “Superbly performed performance of Finnish composer Veli-Matti Puumala’s powerful opera,” writes Gramophone and continues: “Anna Liisa is something special and deserves wide circulation outside its native land.”
Sandström’s Halleluja in Vienna and Seoul 22 November will see the premiere of Sven-David Sandström´s Halleluja for mixed choir and chamber orchestra, composed on commission from Soli Deo Gloria Musikverein in Vienna. The Korean conductor Yunsung Chang will lead the Joyful Mission Choir and Vienna Volksoper Orchestra in the work, which is scheduled to be performed again in Seoul this December by the Seoul Motet Choir and the Prime Philharmonic Orchestra.
Scottish ChO/Tuomas Hannikainen • 28.10. St Andrews, UK
MATTHEW WHITTALL, The Return of Light
Helsinki Chamber Choir, Tapiola Sinfonietta/ Nils Schweckendiek • 30.10. Espoo, Finland
Magical Allusions for oboe and orchestra
Malmö SO/Marc Soustrot, sol. Cristina Monticoli 7.11. Malmö, Sweden
But Your Angel’s on Holiday – Clarinet Concerto
Norrköping SO/Anna-Maria Helsing, sol. Staffan Mårtensson 12.11. Norrköping, Sweden
AGNETA SKÖLD, Requiem
Västerås Cathedral Motet Choir/Johan Hammarström 8.11. Västerås, Sweden
JONAS VALFRIDSSON, Bikernieke Forest
New Requiem by Agneta Sköld “I wanted to give a reflection of my idea of life after death”, says Agneta Sköld concerning her newly written Requiem for mixed choir, soprano solo and organ, scheduled to be premiered on 8 November in Västerås. The reflection is bright, full of confidence and love, inspired by earlier Requiem composers such as Brahms and Fauré. The tone language is classical and harmonious, the seven movements are full of variety but highly unified. After leaving her post as organist in Västerås Cathedral, Sköld has now been able to devote more time to composing. She has over the years received a number of distinctions, including Choir Leader of the Year, the Norrby Medal and H M King´s Medal for her achievements as choral conductor, church musician and composer.
Sinfonietta Riga/Normunds Sne • 14.11. Riga, Latvia
New work for horn and organ
Petri Komulainen, horn, Jan Lehtola, organ 15.11. Helsinki, Finland
DANIEL BÖRTZ, I mörkret av röster (In the Darkness of Voices) for choir and tubular bells
Eric Ericson Chamber Choir/Fredrik Malmberg 18.11. Stockholm, Sweden
Halleluja for mixed choir and orchestra
Joyful Mission Choir, Vienna Volksoper Orchestra/ Yunsung Chang • 22.11. Vienna, Austria
Ett nytt barn av oändlighet (A New Child of Eternity) for clarinet and orchestra
Malmö SO/Marc Soustrot, sol. Johnny Teyssier 28.11. Malmö, Sweden H ighlights
Seven questions for Tobias Broström
Photo: Nicklas Raab
Tobias Broström is currently in the limelight with his Theatron, a double concerto for two percussionists and orchestra, which was premiered by the duo Malleus Incus and Dresdner Philharmonie in May. This autumn will see another three performances in Umeå, Gävle and Helsingborg.
1 You started out as a percussionist yourself. What’s it like to write a concerto for your own instrumental group and can you give a brief description of the work? Well, it has been a while since I wrote my last percussion concerto, but I still have the knowhow, and that makes it easier for the soloists, they won´t have to bend over backwards. I like to engage in dialogue with the musicians I work with, and in the case of Theatron , Patrick Raab, Johan Bridger and I had an exchange of ideas that resulted in a number of improvements and simplifications in the parts. Theatron (= watching place/auditorium in ancient Greece) is a freestanding follow-up to my first percussion concerto Arena, and the title alludes to the fact that people often experience my music as narrative. In Theatron the focus is on the marimba and the vibraphone. The centre of gravity lies in the slow, hymn-like middle movement, which emphasises the lyrical timbres and opens with the soloists playing in the low, mellow registers of the marimba. Both soloists work with dynamic and timbral exactitude, with mallets of varying hardness to really get all the nuances out of the music. In the last movement, which opens with an improvisatory call-and-response section, the tempo escalates and the intensity gradually increases all the way to the very end. H ighlights
2 Another important collaborator for you is Håkan Hardenberger, who during the last few years has performed your trumpet concerto Lucernaris together with the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester, Komische Oper Orchester in Berlin, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and others. What do you think is the secret behind the success of this concerto? I believe and hope that all the exertion and time I have put into the work can actually be one reason. Also, perhaps the live electronics and the stage lighting (which is also indicated in the score) make the work stand out a bit among the otherwise somewhat rigid concerto forms prevalent at orchestral institutions the world over. 3 You have composed an “encore piece” for trumpet and orchestra expressly for Håkan. It was premiered during the inauguration of the new concert hall Malmö Live in August. Can you tell us something about the piece? Besides having worked with and written a great deal for Håkan, he is also a very good friend. He asked me to write a short little piece with a lot of energy for the opening concert, and it came to be called Sputnik (Russian for ”travel companion” or “partner”)! In addition, I liked the image and the musical ideas I got from the first Sputnik satellite speeding along in its orbit around the earth before it re-enters the atmosphere and burns up. 4 Last year saw the premiere of On Urban Ground , a companion piece to Beethoven´s Pastoral Symphony. You wrote the piece on commission from NorrlandsOperan. How did you go about this task? As a matter of fact, it was not exactly an easy project. I knew that I wanted to keep quite close to the Beethoven symphony, so I started to analyse and dismantle material, motifs and textures. At the same time it was vital for me to keep a distance to the symphony and not to experiment with Beethoven´s own material. The “Storm” movement (No. IV, Storm and Tempest) was my point of departure. Here Beethoven goes from storm to calm pastoral settings and my way is similar to his. The piece is intended to be played before Beethoven’s symphony (preferably attacca) and starts out with an urban atmosphere, but later
comes increasingly closer to the beginning of the Pastoral Symphony. 5 Your very first String Quartet was premiered in 2014 by the New York –based quartet Brooklyn Rider. Yes, it was the result of a commission from the concert producer Musik i Syd. The guys in Brooklyn Rider were fantastic musicians. This is really an ensemble that depicts our time in a substantial way. Something, incidentally, that I myself certainly try to do in my music. We are working on getting the quartet recorded early next year. 6 You have had the privilege of being composerin-residence with the Gävle Symphony Orchestra, as well as with the Västerås Sinfonietta and the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, and during the last few years two portrait CDs have been issued with your orchestral music. What has it meant to you? This has of course meant a great deal, especially in the case of the Gävle residency: right after I had finished my musical education I had 3-4 years of collaboration with an orchestra that gave me its full support in what I did. I am incredibly thankful for getting that opportunity. These years laid the foundation for what I have accomplished today. When it comes to recordings of my music, it is my goal to get all my orchestral works issued on CD. We are already working on the next record, which will include Theatron among other works, but it involves more than one orchestra, so we´ll see when it will come out. 7 What do you have under way going forward, and do you have any dream projects? Just now I am working on another piece for the Malmö Symphony Orchestra, for solo flute, written for the orchestra’s solo flutist Malin Nordlöf. For some time I have also wanted to compose more chamber works, and in the near future there will be a piece for the Copenhagen Opera´s chamber music series, for the Chinese percussion soloist Li Biao and his ensemble. A choral work with French horn and harp is also in the pipeline, but my real dream project would be an opera. A full-scale opera with everything that it involves! K r istina F r y kl ö f
The return of joy Photo: Saara Vuorjoki/Music Finland
Anyone listening to the music of Matthew Whittall may sense his love of nature, Zen Buddhism and minimalism. He wants his music to make space for the listener and pure, authentic feelings.
When Canadian-born Matthew Whittall (b. 1975), now resident in Finland, was seeking to establish his own identity as a composer, he found himself unable to get to grips with the traditional parameters – counterpoint and harmony – that still dominate music. These processes did not work for him, and nor did the saturated, dense element of modernism. Instead, he wanted to create space for just passively being. His interest in choral music and the slow-flowing surfaces of Renaissance music made him aware that his music had to do with time. The slow use of time unleashed his musical fantasy: his works entered a musical time that is not goal-oriented but that constitutes a cathedrallike space in which the pillars soar to infinity. Running parallel to his concept of time are his love of stark scenery and his fascination with Zen Buddhism. He does not, however, think about these things as his style; rather, they are a compositional philosophy incorporating silence, stasis, sounding things out and relegating the self to the background. “Being in the here and now is what matters to me, not musically striving towards a goal by means of abstract processes. Music does not necessarily need to add up to something in order to be meaningful,” he says.
Stylistic diversity The music of Matthew Whittall breathes in time to this philosophy, but his works all have a strong, unique identity, their sources of inspiration ranging from Japanese art and Monet’s impressionism to Mahler, minimalism and progressive rock. Leaves of Grass (2005–2009), a collection of preludes based on poems by Walt Whitman and composed for pianist Risto-Matti Marin, is a sort of style
catalogue reflecting the variety of his sources of inspiration. It is also a declaration of love to art rock. “I like the heroic joy that classical music has renounced. I wanted it back – that feeling of pure joy. There was nothing ironic about that!” Minimalism is something close to Whittall’s heart, because here the border between pop and classical is almost non-existent. The endless pulses of minimalism, and its lack of inhibition are full of rugged beauty. And it is precisely the expression of this sparse, pure beauty that lies at the heart of Whittall’s work.
“I believe that true happiness can only exist in art. I want to create such moments with my music.” This is also what The Architecture of Happiness, premiered by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra at the opening concert of its autumn 2014 season, was all about. It was an ode to the Helsinki Music Centre and to the joy the Centre has brought to music in Finland. “I wanted to get away from nature motifs and to create some “indoor” music that would connect with the built environment. At the same time I wanted to compose a big, bright and
pop-influenced, piece, to show that this is also allowed – not everything needs to be serious and difficult.”
Nordic landscape inspires Matthew Whittall is not part of the Finnish contemporary musical mainstream, and this has been noted. This summer the Korsholm Music Festival invited him to be its composer in residence. As the subject of Devil’s Gate for oboe, bassoon and piano he took the scenery in Lapland so dear to him. “The combination of instruments is so joyful and bubbly that I wanted to tell about something lovely, so I chose my hike to the Devil’s Gate gorge. The music describes the simple pleasure of hiking and the structures trace the topography of the landscape.” His newest piece The Return of Light, to be premiered at the end of October, was likewise inspired by the Nordic landscape. In this work commissioned for an anniversary concert by the Helsinki Chamber Choir the voices merge with the sounds of the Tapiola Sinfonietta as a single wordless instrument. According to Whittall, it is possibly his most programmatic work, sparked off by an account by Arctic explorer Julius von Payer of the first time he saw the sun rise after the long winter darkness. He wanted to capture the chink in the darkness, the first streak of light and its disappearance in real time, using noise and timbre as his tools. A return to joy again – a Whittall joy that is sacred, silent and pure. A u li S ä r ki ö
Repe r t o i r e tips
REVIEWS Whittall premiere
Kalevi Aho *Kiinalaisia lauluja (Chinese Songs) (1997, Fin) Dur: 20’
These Aho’s songs for soprano and piano have both sensitivity and passion and they follow closely the delicate moods of the Chinese love poems. The initial radiance dims as the work proceeds, before returning and ending in the last, sixth song in a mood of heavenly bliss.
Anders Annerholm Stjärnmusik I (Star Music I) (2015, Swe) Dur: 11’
Three songs on poems by Nelly Sachs about how to live on after experiencing the acts of cruelty of the Holocaust. Composed with the classical Lied in mind, but with a tonal language and expression of the 21st century, the music is characterised by a kind of expressive minimalism. The timbres and the phrasing of the words are central at the same time that the piano and the voice parts play equally important roles.
Daniel Börtz Klangernas sånger (Songs of Sonorities) (1999, Swe) Dur: 25’
Seven settings for baritone or mezzo-soprano and piano of poems from Göran Sonnevi’s Book of Sonorities, which form a unity stylistically as well as motivically. It centres on the feeling of the loss of a near relation. Here there are sharp contrasts, violent tremolos and painful, expressive climaxes. A wealth of sonorous variation, that ends in a bright sphere.
Anders Eliasson Vier Lieder (1993, Ger) Dur: 12’
The sea is strongly present in these four songs for baritone or mezzo-soprano to texts by KarlErik Bergman, a writer and fisherman from the island province of Åland. An early work by Karlsson, it is a musical cycle in which natural phenomena act as symbols of the human lifecycle.
Olli Kortekangas Syvä ilo (Profound Joy) (1996, Fin) Dur: 12’
This song cycle pays respect to the Lied tradition and is admirable proof of the great flashes of insight that may ensue from the seamless encounter of word and sound. The four songs are settings of words by Aaro Hellaakoski, Lassi Nummi and Kai Nieminen. Available in versions for high, medium and low voice.
Jyrki Linjama Das fliessende Licht der Gottheit (2012, Ger) Dur: 15’
A song cycle based on texts by Mechthild von Magdeburg, a female mystic and a Beguine whose poems connect with the tradition of The Song of Songs. The music continues the thematic line of Linjama’s acclaimed church opera Die Geburt des Täufers and is a homage to genuine Christian mysticism. For mezzosoprano and piano or mezzo-soprano, viola and harpsichord.
Albert Schnelzer Requiem (2004, Swe) Dur: 13’
Kimmo Hakola *Kivi-laulut (Seven Songs to Texts by Aleksis Kivi) (2007, Fin) Dur: 27’
Benjamin Staern * Tranströmer Songs (2009, Swe) Dur: 12’
This cycle is a collection of beautiful, lithely sensual settings of delicate texts by Lassi Nummi. The seven songs hang together like strokes from a paintbrush to form an impressive, dramatic arch. Composed originally for bass but later transposed for baritone; also available for mezzosoprano.
Four settings of poems from Tomas Tran strömer’s The Sorrow Gondola, in which Staern brings out both the lyrical and the dramatic moods of the texts, and clearly has a story to tell. The work presents exciting contrasts with a modernistic tone language, a distinctly melodious alto voice part and intricate passages in the piano.
Johan Ullén *Lady Macbeth (2009, Eng) Dur: 10’
Three monologues, for mezzo-soprano and piano, about malice and power with texts taken from Shakespeare´s Macbeth (act I, scene V). The three songs (I. They met me II. Glamis thou art III. The raven himself), form a dramatic arch in which both the expressive vocal part and the piano well depict the inner tensions of the text.
*available also as an orchestral/ensemble version
Nature-scented mystique A scintillating encounter in this repertoire where a painful yearning is often mixed with a nature-scented mystique. As in Stenhammar´s luminous setting of Erik Axel Karlfeldt´s erotically charged “Nattyxne” (Butterfly Orchid), where “passion´s stroke of the bow rises on bat´s wings up to the orb of the moon”. Dagens Nyheter 26.8. Alfvén, Sibelius, Stenhammar: Nordic Songs
CD: Camilla Tilling, soprano, Paul Rivnius, piano (BIS CD 2154/I skogen: Nordic Songs)
Peace and tranquillity dominate the mood of these Landscapes for voice (any register) and piano. The piano part uses the pedal to create transparent, cluster-like harmonies. The Locrian mode and the enigmatic texts by Emily Dickinson give this popular work a delicate, dream-like atmosphere.
“What is more beautiful than a lullaby? And what lullaby is more beautiful than Goethe’s Wanderers Nachtlied?” With these thoughts in mind Eliasson set this and another three poems by Goethe for mezzo-soprano and piano, on commission for the Grieg jubilee in 1993. The songs are airy and transparent, rooted in the classical-romantic Lied tradition, and integrated into Eliasson’s own sound world.
Mikko Heiniö *Syyskesän laulu (Late Summer Song) (2008, Fin) Dur: 17’
World premiere: Risto-Matti Marin, piano, Christian Wetzel, oboe, Etienne Boudreault, bassoon, 3.8. 2015 Vaasa, Finland (Korsholm Music Festival)
Kai Nieminen Landscapes (1997, Eng) Dur: 10’
Edith Södergran’s poem Smärtan (The Pain) is the connecting link in Schnelzer’s gripping Requiem for soprano and piano. The poem has been divided into three songs, which are characterised by dark timbres and sorrow. The other two poems, Love and The Rose, are contrasting bright middle movements, where the lyrical and beautiful hold sway. Composed in memory of Fadime Sahindal who was the victim of an honor-related killing.
Best-loved poems by Kivi showcased in Hakola’s magical musical vitrine. Catchy melodies, mournful yearning, impressionistic mood paintings and humorous defiance. According to the critics, “the work is as warm, moist and traditional as rye bread straight from the oven”. For baritone and piano.
The piece alternates between rhythmically crafty and melodically deliciously contrived passages, between action and dreamier states, and now and then presents a quality extremely rare in Whittall’s aesthetic: humour... A valuable addition to both the Finnish and the international chamber repertoire. Hufvudstadsbladet 4.8. Matthew Whittall: Devil’s Gate
Photo: Ghadi Boustani
Lars Karlsson Med havet (By the Sea) (1976, Swe) Dur: 12’
Kalevi Aho’s 16th symphony A descendant of the classical tradition in the clarity of its form… The huge, orientally-tuned battery of percussions gives the music colourful fantasy and rhythmic impulses… Aho charges the waves of the third movement with his most heated and gloomiest feelings, to which the mysteriously glittering and glimmering, airy fourth movement brings a welcome change. Helsingin Sanomat 4.9. Aho’s ability to create a strongly atmospheric, ever shifting soundscape here celebrates a veritable triumph. Hufvudstadsbladet 4.9. Kalevi Aho: Symphony No. 16 for mezzo-soprano, percussion and string orchestra
World premiere: Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu, sol. Virpi Räisänen, 2.9.2015 Helsinki, Finland
Marvelous Theremin Concerto The music of Finnish composer Kalevi Aho is deservedly becoming more popular…The big news is the theremin concerto. It’s a marvelous work…the only thing holding it back from general popularity is the shortage of thereminists. The Concerto for horn & chamber orchestra is scarcely less original and likewise features expert orchestral writing. www.allmusic.com 2015 Kalevi Aho: Eight Seasons (Concerto for Theremin and Chamber Orchestra), Concerto for Horn and Chamber Orchestra
CD: Lapland ChO/John Storgårds, sol. Carolina Eyck, theremin, Annu Salminen, horn (BIS CD 2036)
Vibrant and colourful Tonal and accessible this vibrant, colourful piece lasting around sixteen minutes was notable for the contrast between light percussive effects, especially celeste and piano, over eerie strings and the weighty, highly percussive climaxes… Seen and Heard International 18.5. Albert Schnelzer: Tales from Suburbia Photo: Nicklas Raab
German premiere: Swedish Radio SO/Daniel Harding, 15.5.2015 Dresden, Germany
Major addition to flute repertoire Finnish composer Lotta Wennäkoski has made a major addition to the flute concerto repertoire with Soie… Roughness and weight are less given to being evoked by this instrument, but in Lin Gros (rough linen), Wennäkoski manages it, with flautist Kersten McCall pushing her instrument to the edge; the title movement is a darkly atmospheric finale… Dima Slobodeniouk and the Finnish RSO are persuasive advocates for a composer with ideas and a distinctive way of voicing them. The Guardian 11.6. The listener, but not the soloist, is almost left breathless in the firework display of timbral effects… The concerto has a strong personality. The sound has air and wind, the music rustles and shines. Helsingin Sanomat 2.9. Lotta Wennäkoski: Soie for flute and orchestra, Hava, Amor Omnia Suite
CD: Finnish RSO/Dima Slobodeniouk, sol. Kersten McCall, flute (Ondine ODE 1259-2)
Imposing orchestral sonorities
Puumala is fairly unfamiliar name to the pages of Gramophone at least – but perhaps that will change following this superbly performed performance of his powerful opera…A 12-tone work with extensive and formally adventurous ensemble-writing, it has testing contributions from both chorus and orchestra, as well as a large solo part especially conceived for a non-classically trained folk singer…Anna Liisa is something special and deserves wide circulation outside its native land. Gramophone September 2015 Even the quietest passages are teeming with energy. The whole thing exudes a fantastic attention to detail… The tragic story of Puumala’s Anna Liisa is impressive in all its gloominess. Helsingin Sanomat 19.8. Veli-Matti Puumala: Anna Liisa, opera in three acts
World premiere: Dresdner Philharmonie/Michael Sanderling, sol. Malleus Incus, 16.5.2015 Dresden, Germany
Helena Juntunen and Ville Rusanen in Anna Liisa
Photo: Tero Vihavainen
Valfridsson’s exotic Temples of Kamakura
World premiere: Malmö SO/Marc Soustrot, sol. Lisa Larsson soprano, Håkan Hardenberger, trumpet, 28.8 2015 Malmö, Sweden
Incessantly flowing symphony
Photo: Benjamin Ealovega
Making a real impact ‘Theatron’ engages from the first note to the last… it contains authentic and substantial musical content together with serious sonic investigation…I was especially impressed with the stormy quality of the concerto’s writing that recurrently swells in considerable orchestral weight before transforming into a dreamy, almost ethereal character. With technical brilliance and artistic flair Patrick Raab and Johan Bridger, who together form the Malleus Incus percussion duo, communicated playing of such intensity it almost felt telepathic. Seen and Heard International 24.5. Tobias Broström: Theatron
CD: Tapiola Sinfonietta, Helsinki Chamber Choir/Jan Söderblom, sol. Helena Juntunen, Ville Rusanen, Jorma Hynninen etc. (Ondine ODE 1254-2D)
It would not surprise me if “Into Eternity” soon figures among those works of Swedish art music that attain lasting popularity. It has all the prerequisites: a tone language that is easily accessible, imposing orchestral sonorities and a lyrical touch of Nordic melancholy. Tobias Broström´s “Sputnik” is also a work with roots in jazz, although influenced more by Latin American music. It is well written, nicely orchestrated and on a high artistic level. Skånskan 29.8. Rolf Martinsson: Into Eternity/Tobias Broström: Sputnik
… It is a delicate, shimmering palette of colours he paints with his skilful orchestration. The orchestra´s interpretation is distinct, committed and coherent… there is nice variation in the music and he utilises the dynamics of the orchestra´s means of expression to good effect. Corren 24.5. The four movements featured exoticism and a filmmusic sound reminiscent of the samurai culture. The third movement´s fragile flutes breathed love and the fourth movement´s hurrying tempo called us to the hunt. Norrköpings Tidningar 22.5.
Jonas Valfridsson: Temples of Kamakura World premiere: Norrköping SO/Michael Francis, 21.5. 2015 Norrköping, Sweden
[Sakari Oramo] allows Eliasson’s 4th Symphony to flow incessantly and densely.…The Swedish composer swings in wistful ‘Schönklang’ producing expressive tutti-energies… In this music, everything is related with each other, merging into one another, looking backwards, looking forward. Amazingly, in the middle section Eliasson’s symphony turns into a concerto for flugelhorn and orchestra. Raphael Mentzen dominates the action with a perfectly polished, and endlessly flowing, plaintive tone. Berliner Morgenpost 10.5. Anders Eliasson: Symphony No. 4
German premiere: Deutsches SymphonieOrchester Berlin/Sakari Oramo, 8.5.2015 Berlin, Germany
Photo: Viktor Gårdsäter
Photo: Maarit Kytöharju
Powerful Puumala opera
Eliasson’s absorbing sound worlds
Eliasson’s last composition impresses the listener because of its denseness. In spite of the fact that the three parts are interwoven in a very complex contrapuntal way there is never an impression of the music merely being constructed. Its subtle play with colours leaves a lasting impression. Kronen Zeitung 11.6. Anders Eliasson: Ahnungen
Austrian premiere: Trio Akademie St. Blasius, 9.6.2015 Innsbruck, Austria H ighlights
new p u b li c ati o ns ORCHESTRAL/ S TA G E W O R K S
CHORAL CHRISTAN ENGQUIST
The Distant Star
for male choir TTBB. Text: Christian Engquist (Eng)
BERNHARD HENRIK CRUSELL
Concertino for Bassoon and Orchestra
ANDERS GÖRANSSON (ARR)
FG 55011-250-6 (score)
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
for mixed choir, tenor solo and piano Text: Trad (Eng)
Ich denke Dein…
for soprano and orchestra
GE 12594 (score)
PER GUNNAR PETERSSON
for mixed choir and organ Text in Latin
FG 55011-251-3 (score and set of parts 33221)
The Temptations / Kiusaukset
for string orchestra
for mixed choir and organ or brass quintet Text: Trad (Swe/Eng). Arr: Henrik Torolphi
Allegorical ballet in one act Piano reduction (first publication)
GE 12728 (choral/organ) GE 12729 (score) GE 12739 (brass parts)
Tales from Suburbia
Tystnar ofta nog vår sång
for mixed choir, congregational song and symphonic wind orchestra Texts from the Swedish Mission Covenant Hymn Book (Swe)
GE 12164 (score)
for mixed choir, soprano solo and organ Text in Latin GE 12696
Lo, How a Rose Upspringing/ Det är en ros utsprungen
for mixed choir SATB Text: Trad/Tekla Knös (Swe/Eng) GE 12679
for descant choir SSAA Text in Latin GE 12714
TORMOD TVETE VIK
Mässa till ljus från mörker (Mass to Light from Darkness)
for mixed choir and organ or string ensemble Texts from the Bible (Swe) GE 12770 (score) GE 12771 (choir/organ) GE 12791-95 (string parts)
Den stora gästen
for male choir TTBB Text: Eva-Stina Byggmästar (Swe) GE 12759
new c Ds
CHAMBER KALEVI AHO
Quintet for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and piano (2013)
FG 55011-256-8 (score), 55011-257-5 (parts)
Sonatas for violin and piano
I skogen, Vandraren, Nattyxne etc
Camilla Tilling, soprano, Paul Rivinius, piano BIS-SACD 2154 (”I skogen – Nordic Songs”)
The two Kuula violin sonatas in a new collection. This is the first time the Sonata in F major, composed in 1906 and subsequently lost, has ever been published. FG 55011-248-3
Adagio from Vaknatten
Sonata da Chiesa II
Ostrobothnian ChO/Juha Kangas
Alba ABCD 380 (“Silent Moods”)
Aleksanteri Könni & The Devil and The Drunkard (Piru ja juomari) for piano
Xara Choral Theatre/Christina Murray
CD 825105148026 (“Here on These Branches”)
Two works inspired by polskas in an old collection of folk tunes. A sister work to the Fiddlers suite.
Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen/Ola Rudner
for oboe, bassoon and piano
VOCAL ANDERS ANNERHOLM
Three Songs on Poems by Nelly Sachs (Swe) for voice and piano GE 12811
Sex sånger / Six Songs Op. 88
for voice and piano Text: F. M. Franzén, J. L. Runeberg (Swe) Sibelius’s beloved flower songs in a beautiful collection. 1. Blåsippan (The Anemone), 2. De bägge rosorna (The Two Roses), 3. Vitsippan (The Wood Anemone), 4. Sippan (The Primrose), 5. Törnet (The Thorn), 6. Blommans öde (The Flower’s Destiny) FG 55001-247-6
Collected works for voice and piano / Kootut yksinlaulut FG 55011-260-5
Alba NCD 52 (”Kuvia pohjoisesta”)
Cantus arcticus for piano and tape
Vivid Productions CD EGPF-008
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Newsletter from Gehrmans Musikförlag/Fennica Gehrman focusing on classical and contemporary music from Finland and Sweden.