Concluding concert of Sibafest
Sakari Oramo, the new Professor of Orchestral Training and Orchestra Conducting at the Sibelius Academy, begins his tenure handsomely with the concluding concert of Sibafest. The soloist is soprano Johanna Wallroth, winner of the Mirjam Helin singing competition. The programme includes music by Shchedrin, Saariaho and Mahler.
In 1802, Ludwig van Beethoven wrote his brothers Karl and Johann a heart-breaking letter (which he never sent) describing the anxiety prompted by his incipient deafness. The letter later came to be known as the ‘Heiligenstadt Testament’. Much later, composer Rodion Shchedrin was inspired by the letter to write an overture that he titled Beethovens Heiligenstädter Testament.
Laterna Magica by Kaija Saariaho, premiered in 2009, derives its title from that of the autobiography of film director Ingmar Bergman. Saariaho describes the basic idea of the piece as being the varying of musical motifs at different tempos. The effect is likened to a ‘magic lantern’, a primitive slide projector developed in the 19th century that was capable of producing an illusion of motion: when its handle is turned rapidly, the individual images shown in succession blur into a moving image.
Gustav Mahler’s Symphony no. 4 is thematically developed from the solo song Das himmlische Leben, which he wrote in 1892. Themes from the song are heard with variations through the first three movements. The song itself finally appears in the fourth movement, performed here by soprano Johanna Walroth.
Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra
Sakari Oramo, conductor
Johanna Wallroth, soprano
Štšedrin, Saariaho, Mahler
Sibafest 25.1.–1.2.2020 is an attentive, profound, inquisitive and experimental festival that allows our voices to be heard and to join together. The artistic director of the festival is Aija Puurtinen.