Beethoven VI

Friday 22.11.2019 19.00 season concert 8
from 25/19/11 €
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Beethoven VI

Friday 22.11.2019 19.00 season concert 8
from 25/19/11 € Espoo Cultural Centre
Friday 22.11.2019 19.00 from 25/19/11 € Espoo Cultural Centre

Klaus Mäkelä describes the sixth concert in his Beethoven cycle as featuring three images of nature. The music written by Einar Englund to the film Valkoinen peura (The White Reindeer) evokes mystical Lapland, while the meditative Cello Concerto of Vasks, with Marko Ylönen as soloist, plumbs fundamental questions of existence and presence. Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral’ Symphony no. 6 is of course fully immersed in the natural environment.

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Artists

Program

pre-concert talks

18.30

Klaus Mäkelä introduces the concert in Tapiola Hall.

Einar Englund

The White Reindeer Suite

The film Valkoinen peura (The White Reindeer) by Erik Blomberg, premiered in summer 1952. With a compelling atmosphere and brilliant cinematography, the film was excellently received in Finland, and at the Cannes Film Festival in 1953 it received a special award for Best Fairy Tale Film.

One of the major elements of the film, and one of the keys to its success, is the score by Einar Englund, which is recognised as a classic in Finnish film music. The score is of more than ordinary importance, since there is very little dialogue in the film but the music is practically omnipresent. Indeed, the film is unusual for relying mainly on image and music for its impact.

Englund studied Sámi yoik recordings in the collections of the Helsinki University Library and incorporated some of the material in his score. In 1954, Englund adapted a five-movement Suite from the film score. It summarises the contrasting moods of the film: mythical, veiled primitivism in ‘Overture’, sensitive landscape painting in ‘The Fell’, boisterousness and speed in ‘The Reindeer Race’, sombre melancholy in ‘Funeral March’ and folk-like dancing punctuated by quirky metres in ‘Finale’.

Shortened from Kimmo Korhonen's work presentation
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi

Pēteris Vasks

Cello Concerto no. 2, ‘Klātbūtne’

Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks is a typical representative of our pluralist age, exploring a wide range of styles and valuing directness and sincerity of expression over stylistic orthodoxy. Vasks’s output includes symphonies, concertos, chamber music and vocal works. Cello Concerto no. 2 for cello and strings, subtitled Klātbūtne (Presence), was completed in 2011–2012.

The work is cast in the conventional three-movement concerto form, except that here there are two slow movements flanking a fast one rather than vice versa. Also, the work opens with a cello cadenza that Vasks describes as representing “the first faltering steps of a human being in the world”. The cadenza leads into the first movement, an overwhelmingly intense piece of music said by the composer to be a “hymn of love and idealism”. Its forward drive is interrupted by two slower, soulful sections and a second cello cadenza towards the middle. The compelling final movement represents “the rise of the soul to the cosmos and its return to earth to begin a new life”. The soloist plays a lullaby melody at the end to herald this rebirth.

Shortened from Kimmo Korhonen's work presentation
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi

Ludwig van Beethoven

Symphony no. 6 in F major op. 68, ‘Pastoral Symphony’

Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony is relatively free in structure, lucid and accessible in its mood, and in many turns gently humorous. If Beethoven had not given the work the subtitle ‘Pastoral’ himself, someone else would have done it for him. The most noteworthy feature of the Sixth Symphony is that it carries a programme described in broad terms.

The Pastoral Symphony has an unusual structure, with five movements. Beethoven provided each of them with a descriptive title. The first movement, ‘Awakening of cheerful feelings on arrival in the countryside’, establishes a relaxed atmosphere. Despite being in sonata form, it contains no particular tensions to speak of. Often the music stays with the same figure for an extended period of time, as if enjoying the mood. ‘Scene by the brook’ is a calm nature idyll that concludes with the famous birdsong sequence; according to the score, we hear a nightingale, a quail and a cuckoo. Despite its specificity, this passage has a motif connection to the rest of the movement. The last three movements are played without a break. ‘Merry gathering of country folk’ is Beethoven at his most good-humoured. There are plenty of amusing details, such as the mistimed toots of a bassoonist who has had a bit too much to drink. Suddenly, the mood darkens, and ‘Thunder, storm’ literally bursts forth. The tonal instability of this movement forms a stark contrast with the peace and harmony of the rest of the symphony. The storm subsides, however, and is followed by ‘Shepherd’s song. Cheerful and thankful feelings after the storm’, a bright and positive conclusion to the work.

Shortened from Kimmo Korhonen's work presentation
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi

aftenglow in tapiola hall

21.00

Klaus Mäkelä will interview composer Pēteris Vasks.

Pēteris Vasks: Castillo interior
Essi Höglund, violin & Marko Ylönen, cello

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