Date: Fri, 10 Jan 1997 13:27:38 -0500 (EST)
Subject: COMPILATION: music with a Finnish connection
Thank you to all who replied to my request for music with a
Finnish connection. An edited listing follows. (I specifically asked
for comments on the works suggested--these have been edited but are, for
the most part, included.
>I am looking for choral music with a Finnish connection.
>It can be in Finnish (by a composer of any nationality), by
>a Finnish composer (in any language), about Finland (any
>composer, any language), or have any other Finnish
>connection that I have not specified. I need music for
>mixed choir, unaccompanied or accompanied. Difficulty
>level: semi-professional or professional choir.
From: Ivy Ong
I have some pieces which i got when the finnish conductor of
the tapiolachoir, the 1 which got the best choir for the 4th
international choral symposium from finland,came to s'pore
to conductor and teach the festival choir.
On surri sun rantas autius (Thy shore is wide and desolate)
Aglepta by Arne Melinas i highly recommend this one though
very hard to master.
Vesi vasyy lumen alle (water under snow is weary) Harri
Wessman with flute and a string quartet accompaniment
Sarja Ferderico Garcia Lorcan Runoihin (cycle to the poems
by fedirico garcia lorcan) by Einojuhani Ratavaara
Oi muistatko Viela sen virren (do you still remember that
hymn) by Oscar Merikanto
Sarja Mika Waltarin Runoihin(cycle to the poems by Mika
Waltari) by Jukka Kankainen
Trinin Kello(The steeple bell) by Jukka Kankainen
Konsertti by Pekka Kostiainen
Kansanlaulun Tapaan(in folk song stlye) by Aulis Salinen)
Hanget Soi(the sparkling snow) by Heikki Sarmanto)
Jaakobin poyat (the sons of jacob) very cute
the Suite "De Lorca" by Rautavaara. What a cool work it
is. Great texts, great Spanish idioms, wonderful
We're also doing the Sibelius "Rakastava," also publisjed by
Fazer, though I'm less turned on by that one.
From: "John M. Crowell"
The two Finnish composers of choral music that immediately
leap to my mind are Einojuhani Rautavaara and Toivo Kuula.
Rautavaara's "'Suite' da Lorca" is fast becoming a
"standard" in the mixed chorus reportoire. (It's from Fazer:
No. FM 05873-5).
But you'll also want to check out his "Sommarnatten" and
"Canticum Mariae virginis."
Kuula isn't as well known, but should be. Just about
anything you find of his will be gorgeous. Most of it seems
dour and sombre, though, except for some of the folk song
settings that are really peppy. Last year in the Sacramento
Master Singers, we did his "Nuku" (Sleep) and "Rukous"
(Prayer). They'e wonderful. I'm also taken with his
"Humoreski" but haven't been able to locate it in print.
Of course, if you say Finland, you have to consider
Sebelius. Check out his "Rakastava" Op.14 (Fazer FM04654-0).
You've already discovered Fazer, but if you don't know them
yet, you should acquaint youself with
They're your best source for Finnish (and most Scandanavian)
choral music. In particular you might want to get their two
collections Sekakuorolauluja I (songs for mixed choir) and
These are full of examples of good stuff, mostly but not all
From: Ross Bernhardt
Joonas Kokkonen's Requiem (choral-orchestral) is fabulous!
I sang in the US premiere of this work a few years ago and
thoroughly enjoyed it. Published by Fazer.
From: Scriff Biff
Try "Super flumina Babylonis" by Eero Sipilae. ...I found
the music very appropriate to the text, using tritones and
highly chormatics writing in places to represent the anguish
of the exiled Israelites. I'm afraid I don't have any
information on publishers though.
I have a nice set of Finnish folk song arrangements - to be
done as a set - about 8 min. long - unacc. four part SATB.
We did them on tour to Calif. last year and I was very
pleased with them. I'm having a bit of trouble getting a
response from Fazer to my request for permission to use Eng
translations published by them in the 40's.
From: Lee Barrow
My favorite is "Onwarde Peoples" by Sibelius
From:Harriet R Simons
Rautavaara's "Lorca Suite"--have done it many times and it's
I'd quickly recommends Joonas Kokkonen's Requeim for chorus,
orch., baritone and sopr. soloists. Also his Missa a
cappella, a 6. Rautavaara's Magnificat is nice, too but
there's quite a lot out there. May I suggest that you
contact the Finnish Music Information Center in Helsinki for
recording, scores and more information than you can imagine.
Also, I wrote a dissertation about 6 years ago on the the
subject: "Modern Finnish Choral Music an Joonas Kokkonen's
Requiem". I'm preparing an article for the Choral Journal
just now. The dissertation may be useful if you're really
interested in exploring this further.
From: Koh Jia Hwei
You can try the " Suite" de Lorca by E. Rautavaara, which
was composed for SATB mixed choir in 1973, and was later
arranged in SSAA for the Tapiola choir. It is a challenging
work, albeit rich and colourful in its choral texture. I
heard it performed ( wonderfully) by the Tapiola choir, and
also the New Zealand National Youth choir a few months ago,
and subsequently bought a copy of the score for myself.
One of my personal favorites is " Water Under Snow
Is Weary" (Vesi Vasyy Lumen Alle). It was written for the
Tapiola choir in 1970 by a former chorister, Harri Wessman.
It is one of his biggest hits. A traditional Finnish melody
from the Kalevala is used. It comprises two sections - the
prelude is played on a flute, accompanied by pianoforte. the
Choir sings in the second section, with an optional string
ensemble added in. I've heard the Tapiola choir perform it,
and have also performed it myself (with a choir), under the
expert hand of clinician Erkki Pohjola.
You can find both works published by Walton Music
From: Frannie Goldstein
There is somebody on the Orff list from Finland with a
Finnish music homepage but I can't find his name. You can
either do a search on the net or send a message to the Orff
list - orff-list(a)bvsd.k12.co.us
The hardest thing about Finnish music is the text. Having
prepared Sibelius's "Tulen synty" with the Army Chorus, who
were very used to singing in other tongues, I can assure you
that only Hungarian is harder.
My favorite (besides Rautavaara, whose brass-only Requiem I
did in the Army) contemporary Finn is Erik Bergman who has
written much with phonetic/nonsense text -- Bim, bam, bom --
or in German -- Hathor Suite -- with many more in both
Bengt Johannsson's "The Tomb at Akr Caar" is in English
(Ezra Pound text)
He also has an unaccompanied "Stabat mater," a four part
Mass, and a "Miserere" in Latin (and Greek, I know).
Going back to Rautavaara, his "Ludus verbalis," Op. 10b for
speaking chorus is in German; his "Vigil" is in English (now
I'm reminded of a short TTBB piece of his we did to a S.
Eliot text, too, but I can't remember the title); and
there's a fine "Magnificat" from 1979.
Other prolific choral writers are Leif Segerstam, Jonas
Kokkonen, Aulis Sallinen (check out his "Beaufort Scale")
Uuno Klami, Heikki Sarmanto (very good!) and the new-agish
>From Devin Mariman
The Fazer catalog lists a booklet, "How to pronounce
Finnish" (F 07856-8), especially prepared for musicians.
From: John Goldsmith
You've probably received this suggestion a number of times
already, but I highly recommend the wonderful set of peices
entitled "Inkerin Illat" (Ingrian Evenings) by Tormis,
published by Fazer (Boosey & Hawkes supplies it in the US).
From: David Stein
On my last choral concert, we did the 'Credo' by Rautavaara.
It is a wonderful work, published by Fazer FM07999-6.
From: "Dr. Marian E. Dolan"
...There are some standard choral classics/composers that
ought to be considered as part of a choral rep collection --
which aren't necessarily the most accessible works for
either audience or singers. Case in point my recent
choralist request for a recording of the Rautavaara
"Magnificat".) ...Have you been in touch w/SULASOL or the
Finnish Music Info Center?
From: Betsy Burleigh
The only one I know, which I heartily recommend, is the
second of Lars Edlund's Two Scandinavian Folksongs
(published by Walton), entitled Fifteen Finns. It has piano
accompaniment, a tenor solo, fits your difficulty level, and
is an awful lot of fun.
From: The Gregory Family
On suuri sun rantas autius by HYOKKI, Matti (1946 -
This has a most beautiful melody and I've chosen it
for my youth choir in the SSAA version.
I Sing Of My Joys (Ilojani Laulan) by VILEN, Asko (1946 -)
Evening Song of the Porlammi Village (porlammin iltalaulu)
by PANULA, Jorma (1930 - )
VIRMAJOKI, Valtteri (no dates for him, sorry)
There are six pages of SATB choral compositions in the
SULASOL catalogue. Their fax number is Helsinki, Finland
Hello from Chorus America.
One of our members is quite up on Finnish music. His name
is Jeffrey Sandborg and he is accessible at
Westminster Choir College of Rider University
101 Walnut Lane, Princeton, NJ 08540 USA
email: nowakows(a)rider.edu phone: +1 609-921-3658 (ext. 296)