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Next ten Finnish orchestral works


A personal selection -
excluding Sibelius works

Among Finnish composers Sibelius is in a class of his own and his major works - seven symphonies, violin concerto and symphonic poems - would fill up both the top ten and the next ten list of Finnish orchestral music. So this list of my favourites is dedicated to other Finnish composers and their fine compositions, which in my view also deserve international attention and recognition.
 
Arto Sakari Korpinen

Next ten in alphabetical order


Kalevi Aho:
Symphony no. 1
 
I   Andante
II  Allegretto
III Presto
IV  Andante - Allegro non troppo

Composed 1969.

Aho himself writes in the programme notes of the Bis recording:

- The origin of my first symphony is a tangled story. During my first year as a student at the Sibelius Academy I started to compose a fantasy for violin and piano, using Uuno Kailas' poem Viulu (The Violin) as a starting point. The poem tells of somewhat simple, foolish man who squats in the corner of his room all day long, "fiddling" on a blade of grass with a twig, and is happy. The violin fantasy remained unfinished.

- My next composition should have been a string quartet. When I showed its first movement to my composition teacher Einojuhani Rautavaara, he asserted that the movement was in fact orchestral in nature. I orchestrated it and in summer 1969 I continued with further movements, ending up with a four-movement piece for orchestra. When I showed the (still unnamed) work to Rautavaara for a second time, he opined that it had become a symphony. With that the problem of choosing a title was solved.

  • Lahti Symphony Orchestra
    Osmo Vänskä

    (+ Aho: Violin concerto, Silence)

    Bis CD-396

Kalevi Aho and his works in a nutshell.

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Einar Englund:
Symphony no. 2 "Blackbird"
 
I   Allegro moderato
II  Andante molto sostenuto
III Finale (Allegro deciso)

Composed 1948.

  • Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
    Pertti Pekkanen

    (+ Englund: Symphony no. 4 "Nostalgic", Epinikia)

    Finlandia Records 1576-50017-2

  • Estonian Symphony Orchestra
    Peeter Lilje

    (+ Englund: Symphony no. 1 "War Symphony")

    Ondine ODE 751-2

  • Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
    Jorma Panula

    (+ Englund: Symphony no. 4 "Nostalgic", Piano Concerto no. 1)

    Naxos 8.553758 F

Einar Englund and his works in a nutshell.

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Uuno Klami:
The Cobblers on the Heath

Overture for the comedy with the same name by Aleksis Kivi, composed 1936.

  • Lahti Symphony Orchestra
    Osmo Vänskä

    (+ Klami: Kalevala Suite, Theme with seven variations and coda for cello and orchestra)

    Bis CD-676

Uuno Klami and his works in a nutshell.

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Uuno Klami:
Sea Pictures
 
I   The Foggy Morning
II  Captain Scrapuchinat
III The Deserted Three-Master
IV  Song of the Watch (Nocturne)
V   Scène de ballet
VI  3 Bf

Orchestral suite, composed 1928-30.

  • Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Leif Segerstam

    (+ Klami: Kalevala Suite, Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto no. 2, All'ouverture, Cheremissian Fantasy for cello and orchestra

    Finlandia Records 4509-99968-2 (2 cds)

Uuno Klami and his works in a nutshell.

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Joonas Kokkonen:
...durch einen Spiegel...
metamorphosis for twelve strings and harpsichord

Composed 1976-77.

  • Lahti Symphony Orchestra
    Ulf Söderblom

    (+ Kokkonen: Sinfonia da camera, Wind Quintet)

    Bis CD-528

Joonas Kokkonen and his works in a nutshell.

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Joonas Kokkonen:
Symphony no. 4
 
I   Moderato
II  Allegro
III Adagio

Composed 1971

  • Lahti Symphony Orchestra
    Osmo Vänskä

    (+ Kokkonen: Symphonic Sketches, Cello Concerto)

    Bis CD-468

Joonas Kokkonen and his works in a nutshell.

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Magnus Lindberg:
Marea

Composed 1989-90.

Jouni Kaipainen, himself a composer, writes in the programme notes of the Ondine recording:

-The word "marea" is Italian and means "tide", and the functional mechanism of the piece is accordingly wave-like, at the same time both predictable in its regularity and slightly threatening in its aggressiveness.

- ... we can with a clear conscience pick out personally-coloured echoes of, say, Beethoven, Sibelius or Richard Strauss, but the superb, strongly "tonal" ending ties in even more closely with the world of Debussy.

  • Avanti! Chamber Orchestra
    Jukka-Pekka Saraste

    (+ Lindberg: Kinetics, Joy)

    Ondine ODE 784-2

Magnus Lindberg and his works in a nutshell.

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Aarre Merikanto:
Pan

Symphonic poem, composed 1924.

  • Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Leif Segerstam

    (+ Merikanto: Violin Concertos nos. 2 and 4, Genesis, Fantasy for orchestra, Symphonic Study, Notturno, Largo misterioso, Ten Pieces for orchestra, Konzertstück)

    Finlandia Records 4509-99970-2 (2 cds)

Aarre Merikanto and his works in a nutshell.

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Aulis Sallinen:
Chorali

For symphonic wind orchestra, composed 1970.

  • Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
    Paavo Berglund

    (+ Sallinen: Symphonies nos. 1 and 3, Cadenze, Elegy for Sebastian Knight, String Quartet no. 3)

    Bis CD-41

Aulis Sallinen and his works in a nutshell.

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Aulis Sallinen:
The Nocturnal Dances of
Don Juanquixote
(Chamber Music III)
for cello and string orchestra

Composed 1986.

  • Arto Noras, cello
    Finlandia Sinfonietta
    Okko Kamu

    (+ Sallinen: Symphonies nos. 4 and 5, Cello Concerto, Shadows, Some Aspects of Hintrikki Peltoniemi's Funeral March, Chamber Music I)

    Finlandia Records 4509-99966-2 (2 cds)

  • Mats Rondin, cello
    Finnish Chamber Orchestra
    Okko Kamu

    (+ Sallinen: Some Aspects of Hintrikki Peltoniemi's Funeral March (string orchestra version), Chamber Music I, Chamber Music II (for alto flute and string orchestra), Sunrise Serenade (for two trumpets, piano and string orchestra)

    Naxos 8.553747 F

Aulis Sallinen and his works in a nutshell.

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