Forest cover

Friday 17.4.2020 19.00 season concert 8
Platinum 2020-2021 Silver 2020-2021
Friday 17.4.2020 19.00 CANCELLED
Platinum 2020-2021 Silver 2020-2021

In his second profile concert of the season, Taavi Oramo presents young Finnish composers. In three songs to poems by Edith Södergran by Heta Aho, Oramo takes on a second role as he also sings the solo. Juhani Nuorvala transports the listener through periods and styles of music with admirable facility. Meriheini Luoto’s music is like sounds in the forest: intriguing and image-provoking.




Heta Aho

Three 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

Juhani Nuorvala

Variationes ex ‘Bene Quondam’

Juhani Nuorvala is a contemporary Finnish composer who very definitely has a voice of his own – or, more accurately, multiple voices. He may take ostensibly incompatible elements and fashion a workable synthesis out of them.

In Variationes ex ‘Bene Quondam’ for strings (2017) Nuorvala went to an old Finnish source, the collection of late Medieval school songs in Latin known as Piae Cantiones (1582). He used the tune ‘Bene quondam dociles’ from this collection as the theme for a set of variations. In these variations, tied together by a solo viola, the theme migrates through multiple styles reflecting facets of Nuorvala’s composer persona.

The theme is at its most archaic in the tightly packed opening section ‘Holvi’ [Vault], where after an introduction the theme is presented in counterpoint at four different speeds. Seven variations follow: the languidly sensuous ‘Blues’, the microtonally tinted ‘Enharmonia’, the glass-like flageolet soundscape ‘Tiu’uin’ [With bells], the glissando study ‘Liu’uin’ [I glided], a combination of minimalism and Oriental exoticism in ‘Kalifornia’ (a tribute to Lou Harrison, a California composer admired by Nuorvala), the further minimalist variation ‘Mosaiikki’ and the concluding ‘Mash-up’, a rock powerhouse where Nuorvala incorporates a scrap from a rock hit song from his youth (Children of the Revolution, Marc Bolan / T. Rex 1972).

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

Meriheini Luoto, orchestrated by Kalle Vainio


Metsänpeitto translates as ‘forest cover’ but has a very specific meaning in Finnish folklore as the embodiment of the supernatural forces of the forest: it is a place or a state where one can end up when in the forest. A human or animal under this ‘forest cover’ is no longer fully in this world but not fully in the next world either.

Violinist and composer Meriheini Luoto leads the audience into the mysterious world of the ‘forest cover’. Her background is in folk music; she graduated from the Department of Folk Music at the Sibelius Academy in 2016. In recent years, she has been exploring experimental music, classical music and improvisation.

The first Metsänpeitto album was released in 2017 and was nominated for the Teosto Prize, the most significant annual music prize in Finland. Since then, the project has continued with new material and a new album (autumn 2019). In performance, the material evolves from one performance and venue to another.

The Tapiola Sinfonietta concert represents the first time that the Metsänpeitto material has been adapted for violin and chamber orchestra. The music was arranged and partly written for this version by Kalle Vainio (b. 1986), also a musical polymath as a composer and a musician whose range extends from folk music to minimalism and electronic music.

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

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