Heta AhoThree songs to texts by Edith Södergran
Heta Aho is a Helsinki-based flautist and composer and, since 2015, artistic director of the Eloa Culture Company. She originally wrote her three Södergran songs for voice and piano in 2015–2016. In the orchestral version (2017–2018) given its premiere at this concert of the Tapiola Sinfonietta, the first two songs are orchestrated by Heta Aho and the third by Taavi Oramo with amendments by Heta Aho. The composer writes:
“In the beginning there is the sea (‘Det underliga havet’ [The wonderful sea]): the young narrator is standing on the shore, facing an entire lifetime and all its opportunities. The orchestral texture swarms up and down, like wonderful fish in the depths. The narrator seems to curse herself with the final words ‘What has happened in a fairy tale will happen to me too,’ and repeats the ending as if understanding what is to come.
“In the second poem (‘Du som aldrig’ [You who never]), all the opportunities given by life have been wasted. The narrator’s sphere has been reduced to within the gates of her home garden, and she seems to torment herself by asking the same questions again and again. The music is lovely but also horrifying; the melody line descends slowly like the ‘blood-red sun’ in the poem. The narrator does not participate in the emotional turmoil reflected in the orchestra, as she is already resigned to her defeat.
“In the final poem (‘Revanche’ [Revenge]), the narrator knows she is dying but picks up courage and decides to avenge herself on her fate. Her weapon of choice is art, a lyre that can grant immortality. The song is a defiant and self-confident dance that accelerates towards the end and concludes with a wild leap into the unknown.”
Shortened from Heta Aho's and Kimmo Korhonen's work presentations
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi