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Sibelius: Kullervo Vesa Matteo Piludu, Kalevala Suite 31.10.2011 Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Arts Musicology University of Helsinki.

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Presentation on theme: "Sibelius: Kullervo Vesa Matteo Piludu, Kalevala Suite 31.10.2011 Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Arts Musicology University of Helsinki."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sibelius: Kullervo Vesa Matteo Piludu, Kalevala Suite 31.10.2011 Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Arts Musicology University of Helsinki

2 Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) Barbaric and raw Jean Sibelius started to think up ideas for Kullervo in Vienna Spring 1891 According to his teacher Fuchs the ideas were "barbaric and raw".

3 Folk music Sibelius was fascinated by Kalevala and Finnish folk music: "that melodious, strangely melancholic monotony which is in all Finnish melodies".

4 The story Plot in a nutshell Kullervo seduces a woman without knowing that she is his long-lost sister. Both end up committing suicide.

5 Difficulties In a letter to his girlfriend Aino, Sibelius wrote that he had initially discarded at least 50 themes "I am trying to find out what my symphony is all about. It is so different from everything that I have written so far”

6 Sibelius and Larin Paraske (1891) Right at the end of the year Sibelius acquainted himself with the art of Larin Paraske, a Finnish singer of runes, in Porvoo. Yrjö Hirn later recollected the meeting. "I was travelling with Jean Sibelius from Loviisa via Porvoo to Hämeenlinna. At that time my travelling companion, who was five years my senior, was developing plans that would result in the symphonic poem Kullervo, which was completed and performed the following year. He was very eager to hear what Karelian runes sounded like when they were sung by a genuine Karelian singer, and I was of course glad to be able to witness this encounter between the new and the old. I dare not speculate what it meant for the compositions the master based on Kalevala, the fact that he could listen to Paraske just then. I just remember how he followed the song attentively and wrote down the melody and the rhythms."

7 Eero Järnefelt: Larin Paraske. The clothes are not the right ones

8 Sibelius and Lauri Paraske There was not much snow on the ground but it was already very cold. At the time I had no idea what a celebrity was sitting in front of me. In her singing I mainly paid attention to how such a 'rune singer' uses Finnish: 'murehiaa-aa-aa', 'musta lintuu-uu-uu', in other words, especially the way they prolong and stress the last syllables of a word. To my ears the stress that Paraske used sounded very strange, and I had no idea that I was dealing with such a great master, since I did not find her such an extraordinary rune singer. In 'Kullervo' I had used a natural stressing of syllables. Later I followed Paraske's way in poems with the Kalevala metre, e.g. in 'Väinämöisen venematka' (Väinämöinen's Boat-ride)."

9 Male choir From the end of January 1892 the composing continued in Helsinki, at the Kaivopuisto bathing establishment. At the beginning of March Sibelius decided that the choir should be a male choir. According to Sibelius the third movement depicting sexual intercourse would embarrass female singers. "You, my dear, will understand," Sibelius wrote to Aino Problem: the 'official' language of the orchestra was German, most of the musicians being foreigners.

10 Sibeliuksen Kullervo 1892

11 Kullervo: hybrid Kullervo Mix between A symphony, a symphonic poem and opera.

12 First movement: fate and destiny Introduction (Allegro moderato) The clarinets and the French horns play a kind of destiny theme: inevitability of fate sonata form References: Finnish rune singing Bruckner

13 Different opinions about the first movement Oskar Merikanto: the introduction is fragmentary Robert Layton: Sibelius showed an "inborn talent for symphony“ Salmenhaara: the composer "paints with broad strokes the dark, ominous background of the Kullervo drama".

14 The second movement, Kullervo's Youth Unusual, a kind of second instrumental "introduction" Strings: lullaby motif that become violent Sibelius: a lullaby whose "intensity is increased through variation" Erkki Salmenhaara: a lullaby theme a rune-singing theme shepherd theme. Layton: Tchaikovskian influences Like the rune singers Sibelius varies his themes rhythmically and melodically, combining ideas from each one

15 Kullervo CD: Kullervo Op. 7 Track 3: Kullervo and his Sister Texts Chapter XXXV del Kalevala, verses 69-286 Kullervo persuades a young woman (his sister) to enter his sleigh and induces her to yield herself to him in exchange for material goods This is followed by an episode of unrestrained love-making, shown by orchestral means incest

16 Third movement Rhythm: 5/4 Kullervo, Kalervon poika / sinisukka äijön lapsi… The time signature in the movement Kullervo and his Sister is the typically Finnish 5/4. The orchestra creates the atmosphere and finally the choir begins the story: Kullervo, son of Kalervo, son of an old man, wearing blue stockings. The archaic atmosphere is accentuated by male voice choir, which sings in unison. Best version: Soloists: Karita Mattila (soprano, Sister) Jorma Hynninen (baritone, Kullervo)

17 Jean Sibelius - Kullervo, op. 7 1892 EC_j840 EC_j840 Jean Sibelius - Kullervo, op. 7 III. Kullervo and His Sister Part 1 of 3 Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra Esa-Pekka Salonen Marianne Rorholm, mezzo-soprano Peter Mattei, baritone Helsinki University Men's Chorus Berwaldhallen, Stockholm, Sweden January 1995 Chorus: CHORUS. Kullervo, Kalervo's offspring, With the very bluest stockings, And with yellow hair the finest, And with shoes of finest leather, Went his way to pay the taxes, And he went to pay the land-dues. When he now had paid the taxes, And had also paid the land-dues, In his sledge he quickly bounded, And upon the sledge he mounted, And began to journey homeward, And to travel to his country.

18 Kullervo, third movement Kullervo and his sister Kullervo: Nouse, neito, korjahani, taaksi maata taljoilleni! Sisko: Surma sulle korjahani, taaksi maata taljoilleni Kullervo: Come into my sledge, my dear, Relax on the fur inside Sister: May death enter your sledge, may sickness rest upon the furs

19 Third movement: the revelation It is revealed that Kullervo has unknowingly seduced his long-lost sister. This is followed by the sister's song of lamentation

20 Fourth movement Kullervo goes to War (Alla marcia). Strange Its cheerfulness and heroism seem to come from an entirely different world, even if the piccolo trills at the very beginning do give some sense of violence. "went off piping to the war, went rejoicing to the battle". Tawaststjerna and Salmenhaara: Karelian and Russian tones The movement anticipated Stravinsky's Petrushka

21 Fifth movement: Kullervo's Death (Andante) Most of the musical material comes from the introduction Circle of fate

22 Final part: Kullervo and the sword the choir presents a dialogue between a sword and a swordsman: ”Would it please this blade to eat guilty flesh and to drink sinful blood?” The sword answers: Why should it not please me to eat guilty flesh and to drink sinful blood? Since I eat the flesh of the guiltless and I drink the blood of the innocent."

23 Jean Sibelius - Kullervo, op. 7 1892 Video- Orchestra sinfonica di Lahti Jean Sibelius - Kullervo, Op. 7 (1/7) Jean Sibelius - Kullervo, Op. 7 (2/7) Jean Sibelius - Kullervo, Op. 7 (3/7) Jean Sibelius - Kullervo, Op. 7 (4/7) Jean Sibelius - Kullervo, Op. 7 (5/7) Jean Sibelius - Kullervo, Op. 7 (6/7)

24 Robert Kajanus: Kullervo Robert Kajanus was enthusiast: Saloilta kuului valtava kohina. … Suomalaisten sävelten mahtava kevätvirta vyöryi esiin. From the forest grows a majestic wash The mighty spring stream of the Finnish music billows

25 The Vulcam It was like a volcanic eruption," Axel Törnudd recollected. "Most of the listeners considered it complete chaos."

26 Fennoman´s vs Svennomans For Fennomans, Sibelius was “one of us” The svennomans considered Sibelius a “traitor”

27 Oskar Merikanto The Finnish-speaking composer and critic Oskar Merikanto wrote of his uncertainty about the work (in Päivälehti, 29th April). He conceded, however, that the composer had "taken a long step forward with this work and, at the same time, taken Finnish art towards a highly promising future." He continued: "The whole composition is, due to its Finnish content, the most impressive and powerful work ever to come from a Finnish pen."

28 Karl Flodin The Swedish-speaking critic Karl Flodin praised the work with reservations: "Jean Sibelius has a tune of his own, it is a gift originating from great abilities, and with it he writes his own, our own music."

29 Kullervo: ancient and modern Kullervo: strong protagonist Kullervo is archaic in his tragic elements Similarieties with Greek and Germanic Heroes Has the caracteristics of a modern hero: Doesn’k know his origins, identity and destiny

30 Kullervo and Finnish politics Kullervo is a slave, but he knows that he is an hero, he could not accept slavery, rebellion against Untamo and the Wife of Ilmarinen Kullervo doesn’t know exactly who he is He is searching for his identity = Finland under the Tzars Many Finnish were pursuing national independence The Finns were searching for their national identity their national language (Finnish or Swedish?) Their national arts

31 Kullervo according to Eero Tarasti Myths and Music Symphony as a complicate text Synthesis between Karelianism Western, European classical and romantic musical tradition Codes Mythic Musical Public Karelianists, nationalists Music lovers, musicians, critics

32 Kullervo and Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet Both symphonies with chorus Choruses with different functions: In Berlioz: the chorus remember a Renaissance’s court In Sibelius: the chorus is the voice of the primitive, of the ancienty Finnish communinies

33 Kullervo, Wagner, Bruckner Sibelius avoided Wagner’s style Some indirect influence: In the seduction: use of passionate descendent scales used sometimes by Wagner in some opera’s dramatic climax Bruckner’s influence (Third Symphonyt) Use of the pauses to introduce a new theme In Sibelius: a way to pass from one phase of the mythical saga to another A way to express mythical variety Kullervo has some typic features of Sibelius’ style: use of óbscure tonal fields

34 Tarasti: Myth and music Kullervo’s mythical structure is well expressed by arcaicisms

35 Sibelius and Kullervo: a dificult relation Sibelius directed Kullervo only some times Last concerts in 1893 Hard critics: even Merikanto admitted that the orchestral parts were boring The composer was shoked he never conducted the work again – nor did he let anyone else conduct the entire work during his lifetime. But "Kullervo was a treasure house," he said in his old age

36 Late critics: ”the King Kong of orchestral composition” In the 1990s there was a flood of Kullervo recordings massive size megalomaniac ambitions Absolutely romantic work

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