The Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra of the University of the Arts Helsinki performs compositions of Beethoven, Nielsen, and Ligeti with the lead of Jukka-Pekka Saraste in their concert Oivalluksia ja elämyksiä (“Revelations and epiphanies”).
According to Saraste, Ligeti’s double concerto for flute, oboe and orchestra is a good example of the composer’s original style of composition that brought new nuances to music.
– In my opinion, Ligeti is a pioneer and will remain as one of the most prominent composers of the 20th century. In his work, various sound combinations bring new colours to music, Saraste explains.
Faith in the future from Beethoven
Saraste describes the second half of the concert as a “tour de force”. Saraste thinks Beethoven’s third symphony Eroica fits the current situation well.
– We are currently fighting a pandemic and want to get rid off it. Young musicians need faith in the future. This exactly is Beethoven’s message to the world, he explains.
He thinks that, in addition to the Corona virus, we are currently in a situation where things are taking a shift.
– Our minds are occupied with multiple things. For example, how the climate change will affect our old, familiar way of life, such as travelling and going to concerts. While composing Eroica, Beethoven was facing a similar situation. He was inspired by the Enlightenment and Napoleon and was living in the middle of a big change.
Saraste also reminds that Beethoven’s music gives us perspective and understanding of history.
– Music still gives us a vivid touch of that era of change. It also helps us better understand our own time, he believes and adds: – I also think that when the world starts to open up again, it needs to be done with the melody of Beethoven’s Eroica.
The importance of concerts and live music increases
Although the last year and a half have been very trying and challenging, Jukka-Pekka Saraste believes that people can see the importance of music and concerts more clearly.
– Remote and virtual concerts are not the future. A collective concert in a shared space is the experience we need.Experiences and music are important stimulants for creative activity, and not just for the musicians.
Saraste hopes that Finland will soon introduce a Corona passport.
– I understand that people are cautious and, for example, choose carefully who to sit next to in a concert. If a Corona passport was in use, it would put the mind at ease. This way enjoying a live concert would be possible again.
– I give all my sympathy to Finnish artists. This year and a half have been exhausting. Especially young musicians have struggled, and this time period has felt very long in their lives. It covers almost half of their studies. Saraste’s message to the Finnish officials is to quickly and wisely restart concert activities in Finland.