József Hárs – conductor
Malla Vivolin – flute, Mikko Raasakka – clarinet, Sikri Lehko – saxophone, Fanny Söderström – piano,
Maria Puusaari – violin, Aleksi Kotila – violin, Max Savikangas – viola, Markus Hohti – cello
Uusinta Ensemble are a contemporary music ensemble who recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They offer here a selection of recent works on nature themes. The programme opens with Vuolle by Matilda Seppälä for soprano sax and violin. Its title is ambiguous, associating in Finnish with both whittling and a stream.
Valse Vanitas, forming part of the quintet Dance Scenes by Lauri Toivio, is premiered here. Dance Scenes was premiered at the Mänttä Music Festival in 2000 minus Valse Vanitas, which remained incomplete at the time. Vanity is a frequently used symbolic theme in visual arts, illustrating the transitory nature of life, the vanity of enjoyments and the perpetual presence of death.
Songs of Empty Landscapes by Joel Järventausta is also a world premiere on the programme. Commissioned by Uusinta Ensemble, it was inspired by minimalist photography, particularly the nature images of Bruce Perry, featuring various ‘empty’ landscapes from white expanses of snow to parched deserts. Every movement is an independent work presenting a particular landscape.
Arcturus is a piano trio by Ari Romppanen that derives its thematic material from the Archduke Trio of Beethoven. Although borrowing several motifs from the Beethoven work, Arcturus never presents these motif in their original guise, concealing them well. The overall shape of the work is a three-movement structure tied together with brief transitions.
The programme concludes with El Canto del Mar Infinito by Maria Kallionpää, commissioned by the Tampere Biennale. Kallionpää writes:
“I’ve lived near the sea all my life, and it’s always been an important element for me. Although I’ve now left the waters of Southwest Finland and Satakunta that I love for the shores of Hong Kong, both are equally deserving of protection. El Canto del Mar Infinito is one of several works of mine exploring this theme. The presence of the sea is apparent in the musical material and instrumentation, some of which was generated from an analysis of underwater sound worlds.”
The concert ends at about 20.00.
PHOTO: Touko Hujanen
Matilda Seppälä (*1993): Vuolle
Lauri Toivio (*1972): Valse Vanitas (2020) (first performance)
Joel Järventausta (*1995): Songs of Empty Landscapes (2020) (first performance, commissioned by Uusinta Ensemblen)
5. Earth Red
Ari Romppanen (*1974): Arcturus (2016)
Maria Kallionpää (*1981): El Canto del Mar Infinito (2020) (first performance, commissioned by Tampere Biennale)