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Thread: Finnish orchestral composer -- greater recognition?

  1. #16
    Senior Member CnC Bartok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Knox View Post
    Thanks again for everyone's recommendations, which are the ones I'm listing! Finland was chosen for its high reputation in composition, and for the feeling that Finnish orchestral composers (apart from Sibelius) are neglected at least in North America. Thinking in terms of dates of birth and quarter centuries, I'll begin with comments on selected orchestral works (including concertos) by the composers below, born 1875-1899. This thread is intended to be selective not comprehensive as the Neglected German/Austrian Composers one was. I'll start with a selection from the following composers and welcome comments on them as well as on other composers and works.

    Finnish orchestral composers born 1875-1899:

    Erkki Melartin 1875
    Selim Palmgren 1878 (concertos)
    Toivo Kuula 1883
    Leevi Madetoja 1887
    Väinö Raitio 1891
    Aarre Merikanto 1893


    Will we answer the OP? joen_cph has already named Väinö Raitio and Per Henrik Nordgren as being "under-recorded."
    If you extended by one year of birth, you could also include Uuno Klami (1900-61) whose music does deserve wider recognition outside of Finland. Or are you saving him for a 20th-century selection?
    Last edited by CnC Bartok; Nov-13-2019 at 20:11.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    Melartin! I love those six symphonies - tuneful, well orchestrated, exciting. Would make nice additions (or replacement) to some of the tired, worn-out standard repertoire. Wish scores/parts were easier to get.
    I'm starting with Erkki Melartin (b. 1875). Is there a particular reason why getting scores and parts is difficult.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CnC Bartok View Post
    If you extended by one year of birth, you could also include Uuno Klami (1900-61) whose music does deserve wider recognition outside of Finland. Or are you saving him for a 20th-century selection?
    Previously I found that setting a rigid time boundary was one clear, factual way of grouping composers for learning purposes. So the next group would be 1900-1924, then 1925-1949, 1950-74, 1975-1999. So Uuno Klami (b. 1900) will certainly be in the 1900-1924 group and added as deserving wider recognition out of Finland. And I invite you to "make a case" for him too!

  4. #19
    Senior Member CnC Bartok's Avatar
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    I think I might be able to manage that! However, I would say I'd be making warmer cases for other individuals. That said, the handful of works of his I know are actually significantly better than average....

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    This may be slightly off topic, but over the past several days I've been keenly listening to a new arrival in my collection: a 6 CD Ondine box set of live chamber performances from the Kuhmo Festival, entitled "A Century of Finnish Chamber Music". There are Finnish composers represented in this collection that were brand new to me, as well as chamber works that I didn't know by composers that I was already familiar with. The performances are generally first rate throughout, & played by today's top Finnish musicians, as well as musicians from outside of Finland, such as the Danel Quartet, & Gryphon Trio.

    Here's a Presto Classical link to the set and it's contents, which you may find useful towards exploring the symphonies by composers not already mentioned on the thread: https://www.prestomusic.com/classica...-chamber-music

    For example, yesterday in my car I listened twice! to a fascinating "Sonatina for 2 Violins" by Finnish composer Erkki Salmenhaara. I later realized that I'd previously heard a Wind Quintet by Salmenhaara on a BIS recording & was similarly impressed, but had since forgotten his name (https://www.amazon.com/Mortensen-Qui...s=music&sr=1-1). Well, I won't be making that mistake again. Salmenhaara, who died in 2002, appears to have been an unusually gifted composer, & I see that he composed at least five symphonies! and no less than conductor Paavo Berglund recorded one (or more?) of them for the Finlandia label. So, I'm now looking forward to hearing more of Salmenhaara's music.

    Here's his Wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erkki_Salmenhaara

    & a selection of works by Salmenhaara that I found on You Tube (but haven't listened to yet):

    Symphonies 2, 3, 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fSr...3iVEGQXBgezZts
    Symphony no. 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyDkYbn3-IM

    Orchestral works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EfS...0XRIXw_-mXbSnI

    Sonatina for 2 Violins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyyoysjOKpU
    Wind Quintet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YH38aSp39LM

    Yet, I've been impressed by nearly all of the music in this Ondine set, and equally surprised by the consistently high quality of it. Other interesting discoveries have included Erkki Melartin's String Trio, Op. 133--which is a very imaginative piece, a massive (in length) Piano Trio by Toivo Timoteus Kuula (1883-1918), who studied privately with Sibelius, and Paavo Heininen's fascinating String Quintet, Op. 78:

    Melartin, String Trio, Op. 133:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zbIdJTjP9E
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RC4jlIifU2Y
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RnmB2sAg5g
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uV0_8ruKnJo

    Kuula, Piano Trio, Op. 7: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2JMYVa3e9c

    Heininen, String Quintet, Op. 78:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRVSvt_jBYc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aq_browssQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU8-XsoKUWg

    Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention an 'introductory' CD series that was formerly released by the now defunct Finlandia label, called "Meet the Composer", which is comprised of reissued Finlandia recordings in '2 for 1' discount CD sets of representative music by a wide array of Finnish composers: such as Aarre Merikanto, Selim Palmgren, Magnus Lindberg, Heikki Sarmanto, Tauno Marttinen, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Jukka Linkola, Jouni Kaipainen, Einar Englund, Leevi Madetoja, Aulis Sallinen, Joonas Kokkonen, Uuno Klami, Erik Bergman, Pehr Henrik Nordgren, etc. The series is well worth seeking out, if you can find the sets at a reasonable price. (I expect these are the type of CDs that used to end up in discount bins, if those sort of stores still exist...).
    Last edited by Josquin13; Nov-14-2019 at 20:03.

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  8. #21
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    For me, at this point I'm happy to be able to recognize more names of these chamber music composers than I would have a week ago -- thanks in part to your previous links for Finnish symphonic music. Always appreciate and am inspired by your posts, Josquin13, they set a standard unmatched here.

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  10. #22
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    Roger, that's very kind of you to say, and I appreciate it.

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  12. #23
    Senior Member jim prideaux's Avatar
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    Very much inspired by this thread I have returned to my collection of various works by Madetoja and Melartin, loaded them on to my I pod and about to listen over the next few days.

    Already reminded just how enjoyable Madetoja can be (Sakari et al on Chandos) and both composers about to accompany me on an early morning walk...….

    Thanks to all the previous posts.
    'so where are the strong, who are the trusted and where is the harmony, sweet harmony?'
    (Nick Lowe)

  13. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim prideaux View Post
    Already reminded just how enjoyable Madetoja can be (Sakari et al on Chandos) and both composers about to accompany me on an early morning walk...….
    I've now listened to Erkki Melartin's Symphonies 1-3 (1902, 1904, 1907) from the set by the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Grin, and am very impressed by the performances and recording. Also I'm sad upon having found out the partial answer to my question in post #17 about getting scores and parts. Melartin's symphonic music was unpublished for a very long time and much Erkki-Melartin-Society-supported editorial work has gone into into producing performance-ready scores, which might well still be expensive or unavailable. Anyway, all three are IMO excellent works with appealing melodies, Finnish folk-music influences and magical creation of mood. As for remediating the neglect of his work, I'll start with hearing Symphs. 4-6!

    Re listening: there are "outdoorsy" passages in Melartin that do suggest getting out for a walk!
    Last edited by Roger Knox; Nov-17-2019 at 22:32.

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  15. #25
    Senior Member jim prideaux's Avatar
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    Madetoja-Symphonies 1 and 2....Sakari and the Iceland S.O. on Chandos….

    wonderful!
    'so where are the strong, who are the trusted and where is the harmony, sweet harmony?'
    (Nick Lowe)

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  17. #26
    Senior Member CnC Bartok's Avatar
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    ^^^ I await your response to the 3rd Symphony. I adore it!!

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  19. #27
    Senior Member jim prideaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CnC Bartok View Post
    ^^^ I await your response to the 3rd Symphony. I adore it!!
    Have had the Sakari Chandos collection for a while and have returned to it as a result of this thread.....it has always been the 1st and 2nd that have impressed me the most nut this morning I am concentrating on the 3rd.
    'so where are the strong, who are the trusted and where is the harmony, sweet harmony?'
    (Nick Lowe)

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