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History of Finnish Music [MOLA HELSINKI]
Transcript of History of Finnish Music [MOLA HELSINKI]
Styles and Composers after Sibelius
for the MOLA Helsinki Conference 2016
Redesigned for web-viewing
FINNISH MUSIC INSIDE THE BOX
Composers who have for decades expressed themselves through tonality of some kind and who seek direct communication with their audiences.
Atso Almila (1953)
Leonid Bashmakov (1927)
Fridrich Bruk (1937)
Gottfrid Gräsbeck (1927-2010)
Kaj-Erik Gustafsson (1938)
Pekka Kostiainen (1944)
Jouko Linjama (1934)
Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928)
Aulis Sallinen (1935)
Kari Tikka (1946)
Composers who, often as a reaction against modernism, persist in writing in an accessible, romantically or neo-classically oriented style.
Harri Ahmas (1957)
Christian Holmqvist (1974)
Lasse Jalava (1951)
Tuomas Kantelinen (1969)*
Lars Karlsson (1953)
Juhani Komulainen (1953)
Timo-Juhani Kyllönen (1955)
Jukka-Pekka Lehto (1958)
Ulf Långbacka (1957)
Jaakko Mäntyjärvi (1963)
Kai Nieminen (1953)
Erkki Salmenhaara (1941-2002)
Lauri Toivio (1972)
Harri Wessman (1949)
Patrik Vidjeskog (1964)
Aki Yli-Salomäki (1972)
Composers in this group also called post-serialists, these names are first- and second-generation modernists who have often held on to the expressional means of modernism.
Erik Bergman (1911-2006)
Paavo Heininen (1938)
Erkki Jokinen (1941)
Magnus Lindberg (1958)*
Jyrki Linjama (1962)
Tapani Länsiö (1953)
Usko Meriläinen (1930-2004)
Kaija Saariaho (1952)
Harri Suilamo (1954)
Third- and fourth-generation modernists who have consciously taken on the vocabulary of traditional modernism, often with a non-traditional implementation.
Sampo Haapamäki (1979)*
Perttu Haapanen (1972)
Asta Hyvärinen (1963)
Lauri Kilpiö (1974)
Hannu Pohjannoro (1963)
Kristian Rusila (1974)
Tomi Räisänen (1976)
Johan Tallgren (1971)
Composers who move across various styles and genres, absorbing influences from different directions, even from so called light music.
Raoul Björkenheim (1956)
Kaj Chydenius (1939)
Henrik Otto Donner (1939-2013)
Markus Fagerudd (1961)
Timo Hietala (1960)
Carita Holmström (1954)
Eero Hämeenniemi (1951)*
Pertti Jalava (1960)
Pekka Jalkanen (1945)
Ilkka Kuusisto (1933)
Jukka Linkola (1955)
Kirmo Lintinen (1967)
Juhani Nuorvala (1961)
Seppo Paakkunainen (1943)
Kari Rydman (1936)
Heikki Sarmanto (1939)
Arttu Takalo (1971)
Composers who have developed an expressional style of such individuality that they do not fit into any of the categories visited thusfar.
Oliver Kohlenberg (1957)
Patrick Kosk (1951)
Jukka Koskinen (1965)
Tauno Marttinen (1912-2008)
P H Nordgren (1944-2008)
Jukka Ruohomäki (1947)
Leif Segerstam (1944)*
Jukka Tiensuu (1948)*
Jovanka Trbojevic (1963)
PAVING THE WAY
Uuno Klami (1900-1961)
Nils-Eric Fougstedt (1910-1961)
Ahti Sonninen (1914-1984)
Joonas Kokkonen (1921-1996)
Missale Aboense 1488
Piæ Cantiones 1522
Lennig, Torenberg, Ferling
Erik Tulindberg 1761-1814
Thomas Byström 1772-1839
Lithander brothers 1770's-1820's
B H Crusell 1775-1837
Fredrik Pacius 1809-1891
Ingelius, Engelberg, Ehrström, Collan Greve, Faltin, von Schantz 1820's-1870's
Martin Wegelius 1846-1906 (founder of the Helsinki Music Institute 1882)
Robert Kajanus 1856-1933 (founder of the Helsinki Philharmonic 1882)
JEAN SIBELIUS 1865-1957
Oskar Merikanto (1867-1924)
Ernst Mielck 1877-1899
Armas Järnefelt (1896-1958)
THE NEXT GENERATION:
Toivo Kuula (1883-1918)
Selim Palmgren (1873-1951)
Erkki Melartin (1875-1937)
FIRST WAVE OF MODERNISM:
Ernst Pingoud (1887-1942)
Väinö Raitio (1891-1945)
Around that same time the idea of Finland as separate nation was gaining momentum. There was no Finland as a state, it was part of Russia, so basically Sibelius was a Swedish-speaking Russian. Finnish artists were inspired by our national epic "The Kalevala" and national-romantic ideas in general. Sibelius socialized with the hottest artists of the time, so he, too, was swept into the movement. Kullervo Symphony was the first of his works to use Kalevala.
LEIF SEGERSTAM: Symphony No. 253 (2011)
Jukka Tiensuu: Soma (1998)
Sebastian Fagerlund: Isola (2007)
Magnus Lindberg: Kraft (1985)
Kimmo Hakola: Clarinet Concerto (2001)
Concerto for viola and orchestra (2006)
Juhani Nuorvala: Boost (2009)
for cello and synthesizer
Symphony No. 3 (1926)
Aarre Merikanto: Juha (opera) (1922)
Einar Englund: Symphony No. 1 "War Symphony" (1945)
Sampo Haapamäki: Velinikka (2008)
Concerto for quarter-tone accordion and strings
Veli-Matti Puumala: Rope (2012)
Tuomas Kantelinen: The Snow Queen (2012)
Eero Hämeenniemi: Yaadum Uuree (2013)
Olli Virtaperko: Ambrosian Delights (2013)
for synthesizer and baroque orchestra
Cantus Arcticus (1972)
Concerto for birds and orchestra
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The first original "art music" compositions are from mid-18th century by amateur composers, usually officers of the army, or such. These include
Erik Tulindberg, Thomas Byström
. While the last one sounds like a name of a boy band, they were a set of brothers and had a keen quill for composing. Tulindberg wrote a violin concerto and six string quartets.
was a career military man, but also a skillful pianist and organist. After retiring from the military, he taught the keyboards at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm. Works by him that have survived include three violin sonatas, a handful of solo piano works and some songs. Breitkopf & Härtel printed the piano sonatas in 1801. The sonatas are quite solid music, all things considered - he was not a trained composer - and some foreshadowing of the emergincing romantic style can be heard.
Bernhard Henrik Crusell
was military musician, the most famous clarinettist
of his time. He was born in Uusikaupunki, became a military musician at the of
12 in the Suomenlinna fortress, just in the harbour of Helsinki. At the age of 18
Crusell was engaged as the solo clarinettist at the Royal Opera in Stockholm.
He travelled continental Europe and met Cherubini, von Weber and young
Mendelssohn, whom he heard play the violin. C. F. Peters published most of
Crusell's works, including the three clarinet concertos, and several clarinet
quartets. The concertos are still played today (Henle will publish new
Urtext editions), they are in late viennese classical style, little bit of Louis Spohr
and Carl Maria von Weber in the mix. There is a sinfonia concertante for clarinet,
horn, bassoon and orchestra, a bravura variations for clarinet and orchestra, and
concertino for bassoon, which was found in the 1960's.
are men who formed structures that still exist today. Wegelius founded the Helsinki Music Institute, where Sibelius was a student, and which later became the Sibelius Academy. Robert Kajanus was a composer-conductor who founded the Helsinki Orchestra Society, which later became the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the oldest professional orchestra in the Nordic countries. The Music Institute and the Orchestra were founded in 1882. Both Wegelius and Kajanus had studied in Leipzig, Wegelius also in Vienna and Munich. They both were trained composers, but their careers took them elsewhere: Wegelius a Wagnerian who bacame a theory and history teacher, Kajanus a national-romantic who just about stopped composing and dedicated his time to conducting home and abroad.
died young, but did write the first "professional" Finnish symphony. He was a pupil of Max Bruch in Berlin and there were high hopes of him. The Berlin Philharmonic even devoted one whole concert for his music back when he studied there.
Bernhard Henrik Crusell:
Clarinet Concerto No. 2
in F minor (ca. 1817)
Symphony in F minor
op. 4 (1897)
a selection of works on Youtube:
And then along comes Johan Julius Christian Sibelius.
Sibelius came from the provinces close to Helsinki, came to the capital to study the law, but ended up choosing the violin over university studies. He enrolled at the music institute in 1885 as a violinist. In 1886 he finds old calling cards by his sea-faring uncle: the uncle was Jean Sibelius. Johan Julius Christian starts to use the cards and becomes
. At the music institute his skills are noted and he gets to study abroad. First in Berlin 1889-90, where he mostly drinks and goes to bordellos. Ends up in a hospital three times for having drank too heavily. Continues studies in Vienna 1890-91.
Kullervo op. 4 (1892)
Trailer of the National Ballet
KULLERVO SYMPHONY premiered on 28 April 1892. It is Sibelius's engagement present to his wife-to-be, Aino.
1892 = YEAR ZERO in Finnish music
Triumph for Sibelius, who hence is considered as national hero and inventor of "true Finnish style".
Sibelius got a state grant for 10 years 1898, half a salary of a university professor, so that he could concentrate in composing.
In 1900 Helsinki Philharmonic toured Europe on their way to the Paris World Exhibition. Sibelius was part of the entourage, assistant kapellmeister. His works are included in the concert programs and word about him starts to spread (Symphony No. 1, King Christian II Suite).
Sibelius was active as a composer between 1890's-1920's. Finland as a nation was forming just as Sibelius emerged. Sibelius was needed as a proof of original Finnish culture, an ambassador, or a trademark.
His international fame exploded in the 1930's. Year
2015 marked the 150th anniversary of his birth: 1,500 concerts with his music around the world were organized. Sibelius has been such a great trademark for the young and poor nation (Finland) that he was lifted on a pedestal so high that it sometimes did not allow other composers to flourish. Sibelius himself had never anything against his colleagues, he knew they were no match for him, so there was no real competition there.
He did have some students when he taught at the Helsinki Music Institute, but this was sporadic and there is no "school of Sibelius apostles" or anything like that. Sibelius encouraged the younger composers and on occasions when the state asked him to pick someone for a grant to study abroad, he took this seriously. For instance Einojuhani Rautavaara was sent to Juilliard on a such stipendium.
Symphony No. 5 op. 82
Violin Concerto op. 47
Chicago Symphony, Vengerov, Barenboim
Piano Sonata F major op. 12
Classification based on Mats Liljeroos's article on FMQ Magazine
The two generations that followed Sibelius's initial success at the turn of the century perhaps were affected by his fame, more the first wave of modernists in the 20's, rather than the traditionalists/post-romantics before them.
Music, classical music, has been held in high esteem in Finland, but there has been times when a proper tonal symphony was the thing to do, not an atonal un-symphony or a modernistic opera.
Luckily this is not the case anymore, and hasn't been since the 1950's. It is at that time that we can forget about "the shadow of Sibelius" and can start to talk about the GLARING SUN that is Sibelius. His international fame convinced politicians of the supremacy of classical music AND they in turn created the network of professional municipal orchestras (30 today for the 5 million people), almost-tuition free municipal music institutes (in just about every community around the country), public libraries with music library section for each community, and finally, the Sibelius Academy that stands on top of the food chain, enrolling the most skilled youngsters from the provinces.
And new music has been performed, plenty and with pride. There were 102 first performances aka premieres, of works by contemporary active composers last year given by the 30 professional orchestras in Finland.
(1883-1918) wrote mostly vocal music - solo songs, choral music - and less instrumental music. Two violin sonatas, piano trio, vocal works with orchestra etc. Kuula's music is a curious mix of folksy tunes and themes with an impressionistic twist. He died in a duel during the civil war at only 35 years old.
(1875-1937), was an eclectic late romantic composer of six symphonies, written almost simultaneously with the Sibelius symphonies. Melartin was a Mahlerian and often used unusual conventions in his works, ie. vocal parts in symphonies, or a sudden quadruple-fugue in one of the symphony finales. Towards the end of his career, Melartin steered towards impressionism and other more modern ideas.
(1887-1947) was also a symphonist, in late romantic style. Madetoja studied with Sibelius, but had other teachers, too. There is a quality of elegy and sentimentality, on the other hand of certain French elegance and well polished surfaces. Madetoja wrote a lot of music, three symphonies, incidental music, music for a film (yes, one), two operas - both still in the core repertoire here. Plenty of choral music - for money, solo songs and chamber music. His music gets a lot of performances still, they are regional classics, but especially the symphonies are truly universal in the language.
FIRST WAVE OF MODERNISM:
The first wave of modernism washed the shores of Finland in the 20's.
(1887-1942) came from Russia during the revolution. Soon after he arrived, he organized a concert of his music in Helsinki, which became a sensation. It was the most modern music people had heard here so far, and he was called a "futurist", "cubist", ultramodernist" and "music-bolshevik", though it was the Bolsheviks he had escaped from Russia. Pingoud never really settled in in Finnish music life as a composer. He was too expressive and cosmopolitan. But as an administrator he was top-notch: he was at the same the managing director of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and country's largest concert agency.
(1891-1945) was both an impressionist and an expressionist. But more definitely more Scriabin than Debussy. Some of his orchestral works still appear in the programs.
(1893-1958) was a son of a beloved national-romantic Oskar Merikanto. His father's music was loved by the masses, but not so when Aarre started to compose. He, too, was a bit too modern for his time, although his style could be described as a healthy mixture for post-romantic and expressionistic. The harmonies build up quite freely, are often dissonant blocks, melodies flow and build arches, rhythm is clear, at times almost folk dance-like. Aarre Merikanto wrote a lot of music, orchestral, vocal, chamber, even won a composition contest for chamber music arranged by Schott in 1924.
One of the great tragedies is his opera JUHA from 1922. Sibelius had declined a commission, and Merikanto was awarded with it as a plan B. Once completed, the board of the Opera inspected the score and saw it "too modernistic and challenging". The opera finally was performed for the first time in the 1960's and is now considered a masterful example of modernism in opera.
Merikanto later changed his style to better match the audience's taste. His late works are skilfull, but more simple and more easy to approach. He was made professor of composition at the Sibelius Academy in 1951 and molded the after-war generation of new-classicists.
Trailer of the National Opera's production
Of the neoclassicists, Einar Englund is the most notable. His style expanded towards lyricism, although can be said that most of his works, especially the seven symphonies, all have background in his war experiences. He served at the front and was - as most were - damaged for life. Englund wrote two symphonies in just a few years right after the war. After the second symphony, 1948, he had become the most talked-about new composer in the country. He was an excellent pianist, and this is apparent in kind of natural musicianship of his music. In the 50's when new winds started to blow, Englund felt sidetracked and stopped composing for 20 years. According to him, "musical happenings" and new ideas of the day were a mockery of a serious composer.
He returned to composing in the 1970's, with his style much the same, except spiced with more chromatism. The 1980's were his most active time: two symphonies and two concertos.
Tuomas Kantelinen is mostly known for film music, but has written music for orchestra, chamber groups, as well as for the stage. The National Ballet has commissioned two ballets from him within the past five years, The Snow Queen, The Little Mermaid in 2015, these were shown for sold-out house.
As any succesful film composer, Kantelinen is very flexible, he can write in any style needed. This can obscure what his own inner voice is, but it is probably neo-romantic. He studied at the Sibelius Academy and has the tools needed to write music that can sound Tchaikovsky, John Williams or any other Hollywood composer.
Trailer of the National Ballet's production
has been a major figure in the Finnish contemporary music scene since the 1980's, when his generation marched to the front.
Lindberg entered the Sibelius Academy where his composition teachers were Einojuhani Rautavaara and Paavo Heininen. The latter encouraged his pupils to look beyond the prevailing Finnish conservative and nationalist aesthetics, and to explore the works of the European avant-garde. This led around 1980 to the founding of an informal grouping known as the Ears Open Society including Lindberg and his contemporaries (Salonen, Saariaho), the aim was to encourage a greater awareness of mainstream modernism.
Lindberg moved to Paris to study with Globokar and Grisey. During this time he also attended Donatoni’s classes in Siena, and made contact with Ferneyhough, Lachenmann and Höller
Lindberg started as a serialist, and in his works up until late 1980's combined experimentalism, complexity and primitivism, working with extremes of musical material. During the late 1980s his music transformed itself towards a new modernist classicism, in which many of the communicative ingredients of a vibrant musical language (harmony, rhythm, counterpoint, melody) were re-interpreted afresh through the post-serial filter.
Trailer of the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall Production
i searched and explored Modernism in his compositions before extending his idiom to microintervals and spectral music. He won several international prizes at an early stage in his career. Quarter-tone harmonies have played a key role in his music since 2004. He has written works for instance for the quarter-tone accordion (only one exists in the world). He has been involved in the development of other new quarter-tone instruments. These instruments are the quarter-tone guitar and the quarter-tone piano. The piano requires a Max/MSP patch for connecting the quarter-tone piano and two disklaviers tuned a quarter-tone apart.
Often modernists who have revised their positions and adopted a more multi-faceted stylistic approach (by, ie., reinstating some sort of relationship to tonality), this box also includes younger composers that are neither neo-tonalists nor neo-puritans.
Juha T. Koskinen
has rapidly become one of the most successful composers of his generation. His style is robust and easily identifiable, a combination of spiky rhythms and long, meditative arcs. His principal works include the Clarinet Concerto (2006), after which his career properly took off. Important aspects of Fagerlund’s work are his interest in large-scale forms and a profound view of music expressing fundamental questions and existential experiences. According to BBC Music Magazine Fagerlund has 'boundless technical resource at the service of a considerable imagination.' A highly virtuosic instrumental feel and strong sense of musicianship is apparent in all of his works, creating musical dramas in which powerful expression is combined with intensity and vivid communication, as well as an openness towards different musical traditions.
has noted: “
I don’t believe in the gradual evolution of expression; I want to keep several pathways open at once.
” The music of Puumala has a strong dynamic charge and tension. He exploits to the full the potential of the expressive means available in a refined and energetic way and is known to be a composer who has valued the ideals of Modernism throughout his career. The materials in his stylistic palette are clearly Postserial, yet he aspires towards a mixture of rich colours. His writing frequently displays a complex fabric bristling with activity, beneath which are structures designed to produce clarity, drama and contrast. In addition to Modernism, his music contains a variety of elements. He has explored pulse rhythms, folk music quotes and acoustic innovations in sonority. Recently, he has been using sub-divisions and the spatial dimension in his orchestral writing. He is currently the Professor of Composition at the Sibelius Academy.
Earlier sometimes called "post-modernists", these are stylistically ambiguous composers who both in single works and their entire production combine influences from various aesthetical orientations.
Osmo Tapio Räihälä
is “Finland’s most significant living symphonic composer" (16 and counting). Much of Aho’s symphonic output is the result of years of close collaboration with Sinfonia Lahti. Aho is a master of multiple genres who in the course of his career has gone from Shostakovich-tinted Neo-Classicism towards Modernism, Post-Modernism and free tonality, combining these in a highly original idiom. Besides being a prolific composer, he is an influential figure on the Finnish musical scene in many other ways too.
– studied abroad (Prague, Amsterdam) and just recentely returned to Finland. He has made several notable, prize-winning works and has commissions lined up for years to come.
has gone through a number of styles and influences in his career as a composer, his idiom expanding at times to embrace Romanticism, Orientalism and klezmer. He has attained international recognition with an output that spans various genres from intimate solo works to full-length operas such as La Fenice (2011) commissioned by the Savonlinna Opera Festival. Many of his works are expansive and epic: his Piano Concerto (1996), for instance, clocks in at 55 minutes. Hakola says that "he sees music as drama". His dramas explore almost Shakespearean extremes, from moments of raging ‘sound and fury’ and violent battles to quiet moments of meditation and heart-rending monologues.
was born in Helsinki and studied with Merikanto at the Sibelius Academy, with Persichetti at Juilliard School, and further with Sessions and Copland at Tanglewood. He first came to international attention in 1955 when the neo-classical A Requiem in Our Time for brass and percussion won the Thor Johnson Composer’s Competition in Cincinnati. He studied serialism and soon integrated twelve note techniques, without displacing his essential Romanticism. For instance, Symphony No.3 (from 1961) may be the first totally serial Finnish work, yet it is also a tribute to the symphonies of Bruckner, complete with a set of Wagner tubas.
In the late 1960s Rautavaara distanced himself from serialism and his mystical character came more to the fore in music of rich colour and sweeping melodic profile, it was accessible and evocative. His operas have often explored issues of creativity and madness, such as Vincent, Aleksis Kivi and Rasputin, and his symphonies and concertos have increasingly been commissioned by orchestras outside Finland. Symphony No.8 ‘The Journey’ for the Philadelphia Orchestra, a Harp Concerto for the Minnesota Orchestra and a Clarinet Concerto for Richard Stoltzman and the National Symphony in Washington.
Rautavaara's big breakthrough was the Seventh symphony - Angel of Light, originally the "bloomington symphony", commissioned by the Bloomington Symphony.
is a multitalented musician who has full careers in both conducting and composing (Sibelius Academy, Juilliard). He has developed his own style of composing called ‘free-pulsative’, where the precise temporal relations between the parts of the musicians involved are not exactly determined. Segerstam is known as an incredibly prolific composer who may be inspired to write a dozen symphonies a year – there are already 300 and we're counting! Rather than having distinct individual characters, the symphonies are more like slices of a musical stream of consciousness. The free pulsative system is interesting: Segerstam believes in the creative power of the collective of musicians. His aim is to make conductors useless.
is a composer much in demand internationally whose works are very different from each other – and even any given work may contain improvisation, pantomime and choices for the performers. He says:
“...when seeking the fundamental essence of music, one cannot confine oneself to a narrow approach"
. Tiensuu’s musical language is Modernist in the broad sense, extending from aleatorics to strict Serialism and electronics. Tiensuu also frequently uses microintervals. His own instrument is the harpsichord, and he is keeping up a constant dialogue with the past. Since the 1980s, he has refused to comment on his own music (no liner notes, no interviews), preferring to let the music speak for itself.
Further information about Finnish music:
(Version July 4, 2016)
Prelude and Fugue op. 10
Symphony No. 3 (1907)
Väinö Raitio: Joutsenet / The Swans (1919)
Ernst Pingoud: La face d'un grand ville
Uuno Klami: Aurore Boréale op. 38 (1946)
Joonas Kokkonen: Pianio Quintet (Mvt. II) (1951-53)
Aulis Sallinen: Symphony No. 7 (1996)
Jouko Linjama: Three liturgigal stained-
glass paintings for organ (1993)
Harri Ahmas: Quintet for Bassoon and Strings (1989)
Jaakko Mäntyjärvi: Canticum calamatis maritimae
Harri Suilamo: Kotva - a tone horde (1992)
Kaija Saariaho: Laterna Magica (2009)
Paavo Heininen: Kaukametsä (2007)
Perttu Haapanen: Doll Garden (2013)
Tomi Räisänen: A Broken Flower (2007)
Hannu Pohjannoro: images, hommages
Seppo Pohjola: Symphony No. 3 (2011)
Jouni Kaipainen: Concerto for Horn and
Orchestra op. 51 (2000-2001)
Juha T. Koskinen: Seelenverkreutzt (2013)
Autuus (2015), chamber opera (trailer 2)
Osmo Tapio Raihala: Supermatisse (2009)
Jukka Linkola: Snow Queen (1986)
Kirmo Lintinen: Cello Concerto
Pehr Henrik Nordgren:
Symphony No. 7 (2003)
Tauno Marttinen: Larghetto
Quadrille for clarinet
History of Finnish Music session - Prezi slides
Symphony No. 8 "Journey" (1999)
Symphony No. 15 (2010)