Beethoven VII

Friday 24.1.2020 19.00 season concert 2
Sold out Espoo cultural centre
Platinum 2020-2021 Gold 2020-2021
Friday 24.1.2020 19.00 Sold out Espoo cultural centre
Platinum 2020-2021 Gold 2020-2021

“Beethoven’s Seventh is a perennial favourite with audiences, particularly the second movement, which has been used in several films,” says Klaus Mäkelä. His guests are Petri Aarnio and  Tuomas Lehto, Leader and Principal Cello, respectively, of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. They perform Väinö Raitio’s charming Double Concerto for violin and cello. The uproarious chamber orchestra work Variaciones Concertantes by Ginastera rounds out the programme.


Afterglow 9.10 pm, Tapiola Hall: Chamber music and discussions
Maurice Ravel: Sonata for violin and cello, 2nd movement
      Petri Aarnio, violin
      Tuomas Lehto, cello



open final rehearsal


Come and see how the orchestra works to prepare the evenings concert. The open final rehearsals begin at 10 am and end at 1 pm. You may also leave at the break. An introduction is given in the foyer of the Espoo Cultural Centre at 9.50 am. Admission free.

Pre-concert talk in Tapiola Hall

6.30 pm

Klaus Mäkelä gives an introduction to the concert (in finnish).

Alberto Ginastera

Variaciones concertantes

Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera is instantly recognisable as being Latin American, even if his idiom evolved from his early national leanings towards a more universal approach.

Ginastera himself divided his output into three periods: ‘objective nationalism’ (1934–1947), in which he drew directly on Argentinean folk music, ‘subjective nationalism’ (1947–1957), in which he used Argentinean features in a distanced guise but still identifiably, and ‘Neo-Expressionism’ (from 1957), in which he began to apply twelve-tone technique and other modern means of expression.

Variaciones concertantes for chamber orchestra was completed in 1953 and thus falls within Ginastera’s ‘subjective nationalism’ period. According to the composer, he aimed here to evoke an Argentinean mood but with original thematic and rhythmic elements. As the title indicates, the work is a set of variations with a concertante approach. The theme is introduced by the cello and harp, and in each of the subsequent variations a particular instrument, pair of instruments or instrument section assume a leading role. In the final, energetically pulsating variation, everyone joins in on an equal basis. Ginastera noted that some of the variations are mainly ornamentation, while in others the theme is modified more profoundly through metamorphosis. Overall, the shifting moods and colours create a colourful and vibrant tapestry.

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

Väinö Raitio

Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra

Väinö Raitio began his career as a full-blooded Romantic, but starting with the tone poem Joutsenet (Swans, 1919) he progressed to a powerfully expressive style combining Impressionist colours with an Expressionist outflow that harks back to Skriabin. In the 1930s he reverted to a more traditional style. This may have been partly due to the fact that he began to focus on opera, a genre with an expressive context all its own.

Raitio’s “Concerto for violin and cello with orchestral accompaniment”, as he himself styled the work, was completed in the middle of his opera period, in 1936. Raitio had been tending towards increasingly melodic writing in his operas, and this was reflected in the concerto. The texture here is less complicated than in his modernist tone poems, perhaps partly because of his stylistic shift but also partly to give the soloists space. There is no cadenza as such, but the soloists play several passages without the orchestra.

In the opening movement, two Grave sections flank an extensive central Allegro. The melodic writing commended by Klami takes centre stage in the slow middle movement, as shown even in its title, ‘a modo di canzonetta’. The finale is light-hearted, headed ‘giocoso’, and the solo parts are also at their most vivacious here. Its fast-paced progress is tempered by a central section in a legato character, but the ‘giocoso’ music returns and brings the work to its conclusion.

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

Ludwig van Beethoven

Symphony no. 7

Beethoven wrote his Seventh Symphony between autumn 1811 and early summer 1812, and it is one of his most popular works. Its dominant characteristic is its rhythmic energy, which gives each movement a character of its own: each movement has a signature rhythmic figure that ties the music together.

The first movement opens with a slow introduction built up of two melodic motifs; it is the longest and most poetic of Beethoven’s symphonic introductions. The music glides almost imperceptibly into the fast section, which is dominated by a dotted rhythm in 6/8 metre. One of its remarkable features is the chromatic ostinato in the low strings towards the end of the movement, for which many of Beethoven’s contemporaries could find no sensible explanation.

The slow movement is one of the most famous pieces of music that Beethoven ever wrote. Simple and effortless though its theme seems, it took Beethoven a long time to whittle into its final shape. The movement is faster than a conventional slow movement (Allegretto) but fulfils the same role in the context of this symphony. Besides, each of the first three movements of the symphony is unconventionally fast. The Allegretto harks back to the funeral march of the Eroica Symphony in form and partly also in content, up to and including a fugato in the middle section.

The third movement is a whirlwind scherzo arrested twice by a calmer Trio section. At the end of the movement, the Trio attempts to enter a third time but is cut short. The finale is supercharged with energy and is one of Beethoven’s most ecstatic creations. Abrupt tonal shifts, syncopations and a relentless rhythmic drive build up the pace to such a frenzy that for the first time in his symphonies Beethoven writes the dynamic marking fff.

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

Afterglow in Tapiola hall


Chamber and discussions hosted by Klaus Mäkelä

Maurice Ravel: Sonata for violin and cello, 2nd movement
      Petri Aarnio, violin
      Tuomas Lehto, cello


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