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Kalevala Suite Overview Kalevala and Nature myths in Finnish Music – Part 1 Vesa Matteo Piludu Lecture 1 12.9.2011 University of Helsinki.

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Presentation on theme: "Kalevala Suite Overview Kalevala and Nature myths in Finnish Music – Part 1 Vesa Matteo Piludu Lecture 1 12.9.2011 University of Helsinki."— Presentation transcript:

1 Kalevala Suite Overview Kalevala and Nature myths in Finnish Music – Part 1 Vesa Matteo Piludu Lecture 1 12.9.2011 University of Helsinki

2 Lotman, Universe of Mind Symbols: otherness and archaic features Symbols are a special kind of sign Symbols are always connected to signs of other orders or languages The content of symbols are generally highly valued in culture A symbol is for example a religious sign used in a non-religious situation as art: novels or painting There is always something archaic in symbols Sometimes symbols go back to pre-literate or oral cultures (fairy tales)

3 Symbols Symbols preserves long and relevant texts in a condensed form (image, icon)

4 The vertical cut A symbol never belongs to one synchronic section of a culture It always cuts across that section vertically coming from the past And passing on into the future A symbol’s memory is always more ancient than the memory of its non symbolic text content

5 Texts: heterogeneous Every texts of a culture is heterogeneous, it form a complex plurality of voices, coming from different ages and times Symbols, as powerful symbols, as condensed elements of cultural memory, can transfer texts, plots outlines, from one level of memory to another The symbols activated cultural memory The symbols prevent the disintegration of culture in isolated layers (no communication between classicism and romanticism)

6 Duality of Symbols Symbols reveals their duality By one hand the symbol is conservative, it has elements of repeatability and invariance The symbol is a seed, it exists before the text, it comes from the depths of cultural memory The symbol is like an emissary from other cultural epochs A reminder of the ancient foundation of a specific culture To the other side A symbol actively correlates with the cultural context of the text, transform it and is transformed by it So there are many variant of the same symbol, that could have different meaning in different texts of different ages or places

7 Finland In Finland the nature is a relevant artistic symbol Nature isn’t ”biological” but cultural and mythological Many natural symbols derivates from mythology and in particular the national epic poem Kalevala

8 Kalevala and Finnish Arts The Finnish Epic Poem Kalevala: Old Kalevala 1835 New Kalevala1849 by Elias Lönnrot (ethnographer - poet) In English on the web: The Kalevala by Elias Lönnrot Translated by John Martin Crawford [1888]

9 Kalevala: based on Finnish Folk Poetry No Kalevala in Finnish Folk Culture, but a many differents epics songs, spells, marriage songs … disconnected to each other General context: the village culture The message: musical-lyrical performance of a skilled singer The code: musical – mnemonic (kalevalaic octosillabic metre): Nu-ku nuku nur-mi li----ntu Two melodic lines (ab ab ab) Modal incipit … incipit sol in g (sol-la-do-re-mi) Rhythm: 2/4 or 5/4 Contest of performance: often ritual (spells or long charms), local entertainment (narrative or lyric songs), work song, everyday life

10 Cd: The Kalevala Heritage Track 9: Kilpalaulanta Singer Iivo Lipitsä Registered in Helsinki 1966 SKSÄ 867:5 The song challenge: A shamanistic magic song challenge between the old tietäjä (seer, shaman) Väinämöinen and the young Joukahainen

11 Joseph Alanen Joukahainen and Väinämöinen

12 Kalevala and shamanistic heroes Kalevala’s heroes are not warriors, but shamans that fight with magical charms, even if they could use occasionally also swords, spears or ordinary weapons Shamans or tietäjä (sages, seers) are magicians able to heal, to transform themselves into animals, to travel in the otherworld Their magical powers depends on the knowledge of magic charms, incantations The most powerful tietäjä (the-one-who-knows) of Kalevala is Väinämöinen But all the relevant heroes of Kalevala has shamanic powers: The smith Ilmarinen, able to forge the Sky Lemminkäinen, the Nordic “Don Juan” La mother of Lemminkäinen, able to summon his son from death The tragic Kullervo, who will commit suicide Also the enemies of the heroes has powerful shamanic powers: Louhi, the mistress of the North The joung Joukahainen

13 Carelian Wedding (1921) 1/3 The Proposal Reenactment of a Carelian Wedding shot on location in Suojäri (Finland) 1920. Producer: Kalevalaseura a.k.a. The Kalevala Society. Directed by A. O. Väisänen. Script: U. T. Sirelius. Camera: J. W. Mattila. Local volonteers play the parts of the different characters.

14 Kalevalic runo singning today Värttinä - Tuulen tunto (best quality) Värttinä - Äijö Värttinä - Seelinnikoi

15 Kalevala ”manipulated” the signification process of Finnish Folk Poetry for a new social and cultural context Elias Lönnrot wrote down the songs change on the code: from oral to written – from music to literature He joined together different themes and chose the principal myth (Sampo) as a red line: from fragmentation to unity Social context: from village culture to ”national culture” Message’s context: from oral performance to reading Addresser: from Oral poets (anonymous) to a ”Poet” Lönnrot Addressee: from other villagers to intellectuals, scholars, teachers, artists, politics … Meaning of the kalevalaic signs: from rituals and village entertainment to the building of Finnish national identity and literature

16 ”Sprawl” of Kalevala in Finnish Arts From the literary text to: Symphonic, opera, Classical Music (Sibelius, Rautavaara) Visual Arts: painting (Gallen-Kallela), sculpture, architecture, comics Military propaganda in the Winter and Continuation Wars Jazz, rock and ”Contemporary folk music” (Värttinä, Gjallarhorn) Media and advertizing (Sampo) Multimedia art, Modern Dance: Kimmo Pohjonen, Tero Saarinen Again we have complete redefinitions of the signification of the Finnish Folk poetry using different codes and languages

17 Gallen-Kallela: Mäntykoski (1892)

18 Sibelius- Finlandia Sakari Oramo conducts "Finlandia” Sibelius:Finlandia Yle Radion Sinfoniaorkesteri (Finnish radio symphony orchestra) conducted by Sakari Oramo October 22, 2005 NHK Hall, Tokyo

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