Virtual Concert: Dialogues

Friday 15.1.2021 19.00 Spring Series 1 & 3
Spring Series 1 Spring Series 3
Friday 15.1.2021 19.00 YouTube
Spring Series 1 Spring Series 3

Virtual concert on Tapiola Sinfonietta´s YouTube channel on Friday 15.1.2021 at 7 pm.

Mendelssohn found inspiration for his Scottish Symphony in the country in question, although he did not complete the work until years later. Schumann, by contrast, wrote his Cello Concerto in two weeks.
The soloist here is Senja Rummukainen, a finalist in the 2019 Tchaikovsky Competition, and the Tapiola Sinfonietta is conducted by Klaus Mäkelä.

The program is subject to change, even in the last minutes. The most current information is found on our website:




Felix Mendelssohn

Symphony no. 4 in A major op. 90 "Italian"

Felix Mendelssohn:
Symphony no. 4 in A major op. 90 "Italian"

For music lovers who prefer order and discipline, the numbering of Mendelssohn’s Symphonies is no doubt a perpetual headache. He wrote twelve String Symphonies between 1820 and 1824, but being juvenile works they were never included among his numbered Symphonies, of which there are five. Mendelssohn’s Symphony no. 1 in C minor (1824), however, is also a youthful work, written at the age of 15. The next to be completed was the ‘Reformation’ Symphony in D minor (1830), but this is referred to as Symphony no. 5 because it was published last. Three years later, Mendelssohn completed what would be his most frequently performed Symphony of all, no. 4 in A major (‘Italian’), and this was followed by Symphony no. 2 in B flat major (‘Lobgesang’, 1840) and Symphony no. 3 in A minor (‘Scottish’, 1842).
Mendelssohn completed his ‘Italian’ Symphony in 1833. It owed its genesis to the composer’s stay in Italy in 1830–1831, although the only identifiable ‘Italian’ element in it is the dance in the Presto finale. This has the greatest freshness and vitality among all of Mendelssohn’s Symphonies and reflects his buoyant composer personality that was hardly ever overshadowed by grand tragedy or the demons of the night, as with many other Romantic composers. Sibelius once remarked that he considered Mendelssohn one of the finest orchestrators of all time, but as can be noted in the ‘Italian’ Symphony, this has more to do with clarity and functionality than with colourfulness or curiosities.
The sunniest of the movements in the Symphony is the opening movement, with a ceaseless 6/8 pulse. The second movement is a sombre procession, followed by a third movement that resembles a minuet but has broad melodic arcs soaring over its dance rhythm. The quicksilver finale is in A minor throughout, which is exceptional considering the key of the Symphony is A major, but it is exhilaratingly energetic all the same. Mendelssohn called the movement a ‘saltarello’, although it resembles a ‘tarantella’ more than anything else.

Text: Kimmo Korhonen

Robert Schumann

Concerto for cello and orchestra in A minor op. 129

Schumann was torn by opposing forces in his final years. On the one hand, he had found his creative stride after a drier patch of several years, and he was professionally active in other respects too, accepting the post of Music Director of the city of Düsseldorf in 1850. On the other hand, his mental health was crumbling, leading him to attempted suicide and a complete breakdown.
Schumann wrote his Cello Concerto in only two weeks in October 1850, still riding on the crest of a wave after accepting the post in Düsseldorf. He revised the Concerto on several occasions, editing the solo part in particular, and he had at least two cellists try out the work before it was published in 1854. It seems evident that his key concern was not to have the orchestra obscure the soloist, which is a core problem in writing cello concertos. Schumann never intended to write a virtuoso vehicle; as with his Piano Concerto, the music is poetic rather than flamboyant, and indeed in the manuscript he titled the work Konzertstück, a less restrictive title than ‘concerto’.
The Concerto is cast in the conventional three movements, but these are tied together with interludes and played without a break. This was an unusual solution in its time, and one is immediately reminded of the Violin Concerto in E minor by Mendelssohn (1838–1844), who was a close friend of Schumann’s. The solo part dominates the work and is involved from the very first, introducing the soaring, melancholic main subject. The lighter and brighter second subject is also introduced by the soloist. In the brief slow movement, string pizzicatos underpin sentimental cello melodies. As in Schumann’s Piano Concerto, a reference to the main subject of the first movement leads to a transition to the rhythmic, repetitive finale. At the very end, the music transitions to a liberating major key.

Felix Mendelssohn

Symphony no. 3 in A minor op. 56 ‘Scottish’

In spring 1829, Mendelssohn travelled to the British Isles for the first time, a 20-year-old promising young musician. He would return no fewer than five times, and London, “the great smoke” as he called it, became one of his favourite cities. Mendelssohn’s first trip extended to Scotland, which is where he was inspired to write the Hebrides Overture and the ‘Scottish’ Symphony. The Hebrides Overture was completed in 1832, but the Symphony took longer. Mendelssohn attempted to write it while staying in Italy in the winter of 1830–1831 but admitted that he could not evoke the “mood of Scottish mists” in a Mediterranean environment. He returned to the ‘Scottish’ Symphony in the early 1840s and finally completed it in January 1842. It was premiered in Leipzig in March, and in June he conducted it himself with great success in “the great smoke”.
The ‘Scottish’ and ‘Italian’ Symphonies (the latter completed in 1833) are the best-known of Mendelssohn’s five numbered Symphonies. Although the ‘Scottish’ Symphony is not a programme symphony as such, it does incorporate evocative and vaguely Scottish elements.
The four movements of the Symphony are played without a break. The opening movement begins with a lovely introduction whose simple, folk-like melody is thematically related to the main subject of the fast main section. In the coda of this sonata-form movement, a storm erupts in chromatic passages, after which a recapitulation of the melody from the introduction leads into a fast-paced scherzo whose main subject is an actual Scottish folk tune.
The slow movement is built up of two contrasting elements: a broad cantabile melody and a rugged funeral march. The finale was marked ‘Allegro guerriero’ (warlike) in the original manuscript, and it has been surmised that the coda of the finale turning to a warm major key is a programmatic feature, perhaps celebrating victory in battle.

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