Sunday, July 14, 2019
CD of Finnish piano music, most of it (except for the Sibelius Romance) obscure
Saturday I purchased a CD (old fashioned now) of Piano Music from Finland, “Pianomusiikkia Suomesta” played by Craig Randal Johnson, at the Finnish American Heritage Associate museum in Ashtabula, Ohio.
The CD, on the Tonttu label, has 26 tracks.
The first composition was Pelimannit, Op. 1, Einojuhan Rauyavaara (1928-).
The six movements have a lot of modal but decisive harmonies in loud, bell-like chords that work very well on a modern high-end “Piano Forever” like on the teen’s YouTube channel.
Next is Arnas Janefelt (1869-1958), a tender Berceuse.
There follow two pieces by Leevi Madetoja (1887-1947), “An Old Memory”, and another Berceuse.
The most popular composer, Jan Sibelius (1865-1957), follows with “The Spruce Tree”, Op. 75 #5, followed by the famous Romance in Db, Op. 24, #9, which sounds a bit like late Chopin.
There follows the longest work of the CD, “The Melancholy Garden” by Erkki Melerin, Op. 52, five pieces including a middle lullaby.
Then Martl Tuhkl (1919-2002), the first recording of the Romance Fantasy.
Joonas Kollojen is dissonant and Webern-like enough with the Five Bagatelles.
Erik Bergman (1911-) gets rowdy with the dissonance in two movements from “The Voyage of Christopher Columbus”.
Selim Palmgren (1878-1951) closes the disc with the quiet “May Night”, Op. 24, #4.