Sibelius’s music in focus

Sibelius’s music in focus

Sibelius’s music has, naturally, been a popular topic among Finnish music researchers. Three recent dissertations open new perspectives on the composer’s orchestral and vocal music. We let the new ‘Sibelius doctors’ elaborate on their research.
The freedom of song

The freedom of song

Soprano Soile Isokoski, one of Finland’s internationally most celebrated singers, has returned to her roots and begun a new chapter in her life. As of this year, her calendar features teaching and recitals.
Taking Note 1-2/2015: Content with content

Taking Note 1-2/2015: Content with content

"It is also not insignificant that one of the most powerful shapers of our national identity was a composer. In Finland, classical music has always enjoyed an undisputed status with a solid infrastructure. Having said that, I acknowledge that times are difficult and that high culture is in a state...
"Utterly Finnish, peculiarly original”

“Utterly Finnish, peculiarly original”

The concept of a national musical language made its way to Finland in the 1800s. One of the culminations of this new wave was the premiere performance of Sibelius’s Kullervo. The birth of this epic music historical tale was influenced by a number of endeavours, ideas and occurrences.
A visit from Mr Composer

A visit from Mr Composer

What happened when Jean Sibelius and Larin Paraske met? This is one way to imagine the scene, from the runo singer’s point of view.
"Struggling artist like the rest of us"

“Struggling artist like the rest of us”

What relevance does Sibelius – and his big anniversary – hold for the wider Finnish music and culture scene in 2015? Andrew Mellor asked five musicians from outside the classical music tradition.
Patriotic soundtracks

Patriotic soundtracks

Following the general European trend, musical meanings that could be interpreted as nationalistic were put to use in Finland during the first half of the 20th century. The propaganda and educational film industries used music by Sibelius, among others.
The responsibility of an artist

The responsibility of an artist

Jean Sibelius was a political person throughout his life, although this should be understood in the right way. He was never a member of any political party, nor did he participate in any such activities. He was politically active in a different way.
Orchestras for all

Orchestras for all

Someone once described Finland as an orchestral utopia. And we are indeed said to have more orchestras per capita than any other country in the world.
Broader perspectives in teaching music

Broader perspectives in teaching music

The International Minifiddlers distance-learning project is testing a new kind of learning environment for studying the violin. At the same time the East Helsinki Music Institute is searching for ways to bring high-quality music education within reach of even more people.
Art comes first

Art comes first

The Sibelius Academy, Finland’s only music university, has for the past two years been part of the University of the Arts trio, together with the Theatre Academy and the Academy of Fine Arts. What does the future sound like for the Sibelius Academy?
Guest Column: My Sibelius

Guest Column: My Sibelius

"Most of the time, I am far from Sibelius’s – and my own – homeland and on neutral territory, i.e. alone with my scores. But it is there, between the lines, that I am struck by something I cannot explain. I don’t, however, think it is just a national trait,...
Augmented music

Augmented music

The latest Finnish examples of using multimedia to add to the way people experience music via use of new media are augmented reality application Arilyn, and SibHack, an event for programmers.
Latest entries
Anonymously Finnish, mostly

Anonymously Finnish, mostly

"It is a well-known fact that music was made and performed in great quantities in Finland during the 17th and 18th centuries. Nevertheless, Baroque music from Finland is today rarely performed or even talked about."
Departures from Tango

Departures from Tango

" The repertoire, which includes “Jealousy” by Jacob Gade, “Stella by Starlight” and two versions of "Finlandia", is executed masterfully. The musicians dig deep down into the grief of the Finnish soul, while still retaining some humour now and then."
Nomen est omen

Nomen est omen

"When a decision is reached to title a release this prophetically, you’d better deliver the goods in a novel way. Luckily, this proves to be the case here. For their sixth album, Von Hertzen Brothers find the fifth gear and pummel ahead with fresh vigour and stamina."
Beautiful archaic boogie

Beautiful archaic boogie

"He’s more pop than ever, bringing to mind especially Finnish singer-songwriters from past decades. But he has not forgotten who he is: a modern runo singer, a storyteller knowing well the musical tradition of his country and playing his bowed lyre, jouhikko, brilliantly."
Alluring and curious trio

Alluring and curious trio

"Pianist Kari Ikonen fuses fresh elements. On this second outing with bassist Ara Yaralyan and drummer Markku Ounaskari, not only Scandinavian and American sounds are heard. As the title reveals, this record has two distinctive sides: beautiful composed pieces and spontaneous collective takes."
Almost there

Almost there

"Satellite Stories have already gained notable international attention for some years. Their merits include sold-out clubs in London, tracks with millions of listens on Spotify, and their third album, Vagabonds, produced by internationally renowned producer Barny Barnicott, who has collaborated with Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian, among others."
Lusty lungful

Lusty lungful

"The microphones are going to take some time to catch up with the astonishing flood of Finnish instrumental concertos since the turn of the 21st century, so it’s good to be able to welcome the first recording of Jouni Kaipainen’s Trumpet Concerto, written in 2003 to a commission from the soloist here, Pasi Pirinen, to...
Strong statement

Strong statement

"Like moths to a flame, music lovers have flocked towards the work of Helsinki-based songwriter Manna ever since the mid-Noughties. Four releases down the road and the woman born in 1977 to a Finnish-Algerian family as Mariam Jäntti has yet to make two albums that are alike."
An institution alive and kicking

An institution alive and kicking

"In 2015, JPP is still alive and kicking, and playing with as high quality as ever. They don’t play too often, but when they do there is a nice relaxed touch, and they don’t take it all too seriously. "
Jazzman writes for choir

Jazzman writes for choir

"Saxophonist and composer Eero Koivistoinen is one of the best-known Finnish jazz musicians. For fifteen years he also has composed music for the Juvenalia Choir."
Two bites at three cherries

Two bites at three cherries

"The Émilie Suite is a half-hour condensation, to a 2011 commission, of Saariaho’s monologue opera Émilie of 2007–8, reduced to three vocal numbers separated by two orchestral interludes – a dramatic cantata in all but name, alternately formal and beguiling, intimate and angry, almost from gesture to gesture."
Sibelius’s music in focus

Sibelius’s music in focus

Sibelius’s music has, naturally, been a popular topic among Finnish music researchers. Three recent dissertations open new perspectives on the composer’s orchestral and vocal music. We let the new ‘Sibelius doctors’ elaborate on their research.