After Sibelius: Studies in Finnish Music  book cover
1st Edition

After Sibelius: Studies in Finnish Music

ISBN 9781138257429
Published November 10, 2016 by Routledge
320 Pages

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Book Description

During the last twenty years, the rest of the world has come to focus on the music of Finland. The seemingly disproportionate creative energy from this small country defies prevalent trends in the production of classical music. Tim Howell provides an engaging investigation into Finnish music and combines elements of composer biography and detailed analysis within the broader context of cultural and national identity. The book consists of a collection of eight individual composer studies that investigate the historical position and compositional characteristics of a representative selection of leading figures, ranging from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day. These potentially self-contained studies subscribe to a larger picture, which explains the Sibelian legacy, the effect of this considerable influence on subsequent generations and its lasting consequences: an internationally acclaimed school of contemporary music. Outlining a particular perspective on modernism, Howell provides a careful balance between biographical and analytical concerns to allow the work to be accessible to the non-specialist. Each composer study offers a sense of overview followed by progressively more detail. Close readings of selected orchestral works provide a focus, while the structure of each analysis accommodates the different levels of engagement expected by a wide readership. The composers under consideration are Aarre Merikanto, Erik Bergman, Joonas Kokkonen, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Aulis Sallinen, Paavo Heininen, Kaija Saariaho and Magnus Lindberg. The concluding discussion of issues of national distinctiveness and the whole phenomenon of why such a small nation is compositionally so active, is of wide-ranging significance. Drawing together various strands to emerge from these individual personalities, Howell explores the Finnish attitude to new music, in both its composition and reception, uncovering an enlightened view of the value of creativity from which many other nations may benefit.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; The shadow of Sibelius; Aarre Merikanto - modernism, methods and madness; Erik Bergman - time to rebel; Joonas Kokkonen - symphinist, serialist and humanist; Einojuhani Rautavaara - something old...something new...; Aulis Sallinen - a new simplicity; Paavo Heininen - challenging tradition; Kaija Saariaho - The French connection; Magnus Lindberg - rediscovering balance; Out of the shadows; Bibliography; Index.

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Tim Howell is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Music at the University of York, UK.


'Tim Howell's After Sibelius: Studies in Finnish Music is the first scholarly general treatise in English focusing on Finnish musical modernism and contemporary music. Due to this unique position alone, it is likely to become a canonic piece of work...The book is full of well-chosen music examples closely connected with the analytical discourse and clear formal charts that help to follow Howell's argument... Howell's book has convinced me of his analytical skills and innovative interpretations of Finnish modern music. For these merits his book certainly deserves referential status.' Finnish Music Quarterly ’... a useful reference work which should find a place on the shelves of progressive music libraries... After Sibelius is a welcome publication.’ Classical Music ’After Sibelius is one of the best books on Finnish contemporary music... Howell has indeed been successful in making these composers and their works better known.’ Notes ’... an important addition to recent scholarship. It is an elegant, concise, and penetrating work that places this music within a larger European context while addressing the difficult question of what is 'Finnishness' in music.’ Music Research Forum