René Kuwan: Invisible Light
The piece Invisible Light, which was composed during my Erasmus semester, is strongly influenced by my stay in Finland, the wonderful nature, the influence of another teacher, Finnish composers and, in general, a different environment. A considerable part of the piece was written in the north of Finland in winter. The title refers in several ways to the lighting situation in northern Scandinavia, which is characterized on the one hand by reduced light and darkness, on the other hand by polar lights and a very colourful horizon. The surrounding sound in this area is hallmarked by quietness and silence, which is also reflected in the piece. Chorales appear as an important musical structural element, to convey the harmonies clearly and because, as an idiomatic “satz” technique they are very well suited for wind instruments and their capability.
The panorama of north Finland, wrapped in imposing light and darkness is what the piece tries to recreate in a powerful, warm and especially colourful way, as well as this is possible with music.
Heidi Hassinen: Huurre
Inspired by the frosty branches sparkling like crystals on a cold winter’s day, I composed Huurre (in Eng. Hoarfrost). I was thinking to myself what kind of an auditory texture the crystalline frost could form and how its formation could sound like. Expectance hovering in the air. Steamy water drops in a decelerating motion, congealed by a cold surface. Suppression upholstered with a white fabric. The frosty phenomenon was transformed into the icy tones of brass instruments, frail pitch masses and the staccatos carrying on the piece. Into hoarfrost itself.
A ‘sunshower’ is a meteorological event in which the sun is shining during a rainshower. The image of this natural yet seemingly contradictory phenomenon forms the basis of this piece, with the idea of the weather more generally also central. Weather is portrayed in this piece in different ways – there are many passages with slow, overlapping harmonies which weave around each other like clouds, at times revealing material from behind them in a manner reminiscent of a blue sky being momentarily visible before becoming obscured by clouds once again. Much of the harmony of this piece is cyclic and repetitive, and built upon chords formed of stacked thirds – the intention of this is to reference the eternal nature of the weather and the natural world more generally.
Formally, this piece does not follow the kind of narrative trajectory that might normally be expected, instead following a meandering path, with material being encountered in different places along the journey. Again, this is in order to signify, and celebrate, the motions of changing weather systems both local and global, and it allows the material and expand and develop at it’s own pace.
Maleena Linjama: Hälve
Hälve (2019) is a piece about timbral atmospheres, and about long, separate notes gradually condensating into a romantic melody. At first the soundscape is seemingly static, but underneath the surface the rippling sounds grow more and more elaborate. On top of the background is a melodic line. In the beginning of the piece the melodic notes are long and far away from each other, sounding like isolated waves coming up and fading away again into the background. As the piece proceeds, these melodic notes grow shorter and closer to each other, until eventually just before the end they form a graceful, romantic melody.
The name of the piece, Hälve, does not mean anything as such, but the Finnish associations can be about mist lingering around and gradually evaporating. “Hälvetä” is a verb meaning fog or mist clearing away. In the same way the melody gradually clears from the shadowy background. As a whole the piece is a calm moment where a shady, ever-changing atmosphere reveals – for just a short amount of time – a serene melody before it fades into the mist again.
Leevi Räsänen: Virynttäytymistä
The most noticeable feature of the ”Virynttäytymistä” is alternating between the relatively compact crashing passages and the very low-energy sections dominating most of the work. The relationship between these two types of music might feel very unbalanced at first hearing. The listening conditions are unusual for the listener – we are not necessarily used to hearing this differently approachable ways to build musical flows in a short, slightly more than a 10-minute piece. The piece is my first extensive orchestral piece where I blindly trust my intuition in almost every aspect. It is, on the other hand, like a diary, and on the other hand, built by trusting the slow currents of intuition, which makes the work remarkably cohesive.
One of my biggest eureka-moments has been accepting that when listening to a piece, you can also get bored and that is very OK! Music can also serve the purpose that, in the middle of the floods of information we live amidst, a long piece can be a moment’s respite from everything else. The music can serve as a reason to take time only for yourself and your thoughts. So, if in the middle of the piece, you start thinking about groceries and that you must buy more pickles and oat milk later, then I have succeeded in something as a composer.
Robert Ruohola: Dream of A Beautiful Mermaid
The duality of mermaids deeply intrigues me. On the one hand, they symbolize unattainable beauty, and therefore live beneath the waves (unfortunately for us mere humans); on the other hand, they possess a hellish malevolence and are willing to devour anyone who gets too near to them. To me, this conflicting nature suggests the dramaturgy of a symphonic poem. My basic compositional outline was that the chaotic elements which are briefly glimpsed in the first few minutes of the piece – like an instinctive warning sign – completely take over as the piece goes on. This way, the music could really act like a mermaid: first alluring its listeners, and then dragging them into the depths.
Olli Moilanen: For A New Day
For A New Day is my first composition for concert band. It is a festive overture with abundant, sparkling chords meeting with with contrapunctual elegance.