Sebastian FagerlundStrings to the Bone
Over the past decade or so, Sebastian Fagerlund has risen brilliantly to the forefront of Finnish music. His works are frequently performed in Finland and abroad, recordings are regularly released, and his publisher is the distinguished Edition Peters, allowing him to pick and choose his commissions.
Fagerlund draws on the great classics of the 20th century as well as on genres beyond art music, such as various brands of world music, but ultimately he fuses all his influences into a coherent and consistent voice of his own. His instrumentally charged, compelling idiom ranges from powerful rhythmic pulsation to the captivating intensity of static quiet moments.
In the 2010s, Fagerlund focused on orchestral works, concertos and chamber music, his only albeit significant venture into vocal music being the opera Höstsonaten [Autumn Sonata] (2015–2017), one of his major works. He completed Strings to the Bone for string orchestra immediately before the opera (2014–2015) to a commission from the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, and it was premiered under Daniel Blendulf in Kokkola in February 2016.
Dominated by a rich, densely pulsating string texture, Strings to the Bone is a fine example of the rhythmic energy of Fagerlund’s music. He himself describes it as an “intense virtuoso piece, almost shamanist, ranging from grand harmonies and large structures to an almost minimalist movement on the detail level”. Still, it is not all a mad rush, since typically for Fagerlund the work also contains a contrasting tranquil section from which soaring melodic material emerges. Fagerlund has also noted that although there are no direct references to folk music in the work, the musical heritage of Central Ostrobothnia and the orchestra’s and his own affinity to folk music did influence some of its musical events.