The Forest of Tones – The Tones of the Forest
Violin sonatas by Stradella and traditional Finnish shepherd melodies
Stradella – Finnish shepherd melodies
Aira Maria Lehtipuu, violin and overtone flute
Louna Hosia, cello and saw
Marianna Henriksson, harpsichord and organ
Eero Palviainen, lute and kantele
The concert combines Italian 17th century music and Finnish shepherd melodies without any prejudice. Both the styles consist of a lot of improvisation and were once targeted only to its own restricted audience – the music, both by Alessando Stradella who worked for the upper class (1639-1682) and by the shepherds with cattle and villages as the audience, wasn't published for the public until later on. The symphonies by Stradella have been preserved to this date thanks to the manuscripts located at the libraries in Turin and Modena. Besides the early Baroque music with its fierce emotions and melodies born in light summer forests, the concert also consists of lyric poetry from Finland and Italy which goes hand in hand with the nature theme.
Like the forests are the cradle of life, Italy is the cradle of musical richness. During the 17th century Italy, the forms of instrumental music were sprouting and developing in sometimes even wild directions. Theorists tried to keep up with it, and the name of the concert is ideaded from Francesco Rognoni's book Selva di varii passaggi – The forest of different tone patterns. The book was published in 1620 and with the help of the alster the art of improvisation was taught to musicians.
The one generation younger Alessandro Stradella is known for his rich music but also for his adventurous life. In his symphony for one violin there are very similar expressions and nuances as in his broader composition forms. The golden age of Stradella's production is the 1670s, the time when violin virtuosity had already started to bloom, but the composition styles were still less established than after the Corelli-hype which conquered Europe in the 18th century.
In Rome one of Stradella’s most important financial supporters was the Swedish Queen Christina (1626-1689) who not only financed but also, to a certain extent, participated in the writing processes. Stradella was a driven person and took good care of his contacts from all around, but he also had to change scenery quite a bit due to scandals. Legends about him have with purpose been blown up, but one thing is certain: in both his texts and his music the whole spectrum of human life is present.
The Finns wrote down the Inkeri traditions during the time of Elias Lönnrot up until the Russian revolution. In Inkeri the music culture (both singing and instrumental) was kept alive for a long time, and still in the 1950s people got to be impressed by "the last great herdsman" Teppo Repo's (1886-1962) playing and improvisations. It was the folklore collector Armas Otto Väisänen (1890-1969) who brought Repo to the larger public. During his field studies Väisänen collected over 6000 songs from Finland and nearby areas. In this concert we will hear some of the Inkeri shepherd songs which were recorded on phonograph in 1914.
Duration: 1 h (no intermission)