A musical advent calendar

9 December 2011 | This 'n' that

The Finnish Broadcasting Company has delved into its vast archives, and its website, YLE Areena, is throughout December featuring a series of musical numbers, many with reference to Christmas, sung or played Finnish singers and musicians. These inserts are being broadcast on each day, from 1 to 24 December, and they can be listened to via the Internet (although be warned, the information is given in Finnish only).

Among the Finnish composers are, among others, Oskar Merikanto (1868–1924), Erkki Melartin (1875–1937), Toivo Kuula (1883–1918) and Jean Sibelius. The sopranos Irma Urrila and Helena Juntunen are presented, singing Mozart and Gounoud respectively.

For example: on 6 December, the Finland’s Independence Day, one of the three inserts is a piano piece, entitled Pankakoski, by composer Heino Kaski (who died a day earlier than Sibelius, in September 1957), played by Juhani Lagerspetz (1995). The other two are Andante Festivo (1922), a work originally composed for a string quartet, by Jean Sibelius, played by the Radio Symphony Orchestra (1995) and a song from the 1970s opera Punainen viiva (‘The red line’) by Aulis Sallinen, sung by Matti Salminen (1984).

Fifteen more days to go…

Dolce et espressivo: Violin concerto by Sibelius, 1st movement (1905). Photo: Wikimedia


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