Armas Janne

Sun 08/12/2019 15:00 - 17:00
Tickets: 46.00-9.50 €

Introduction

It has been a hundred years since Sibelius’s Humoresques were first performed and 150 years since the birth of Armas Järnefelt. 

To mark Finnish Music Day, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra is going on a tour of our hometown. The concert programme has even more historical significance this year, as it has been a hundred years since Sibelius’s Humoresques were first performed and 150 years since the birth of Armas Järnefelt. His Festive Overture debuted in 1902 at the opening of the Finnish National Theatre. The concerts will be performed without a conductor, showcasing the chamber music dimensions of the orchestra.

Alina Pogostkina

The path to the top of Alina Pogostkina (b. 1983) has not been an easy one. The daughter of Russian violinists who moved to Germany when she was seven and earned a living as street musicians, she always knew she wanted to be a violinist, too. Her great moment came in 2005, when she won the 2005 Sibelius Competition in Helsinki and the special prize for the best interpretation of the Sibelius Violin Concerto. Audiences may remember her from her performance of that concerto with the HPO in 2011.

Alina Pogostkina has been unusually open in speaking of her mindscapes, pressures, Weltschmerz and various mental blocks. In recent years, she has taken a break from practising and performing in order to seek new sources of inspiration and to allow personal development. In 2018, following her desire to further explore the spiritual aspect of music, she created ​‘Mindful Music Making’, a specially curated programme which aims to bring mindfulness and deeper exploration of individual creativity relevant to the 21st-century classical musician.

Armas Järnefelt: Festive Overture

Armas Järnefelt (1869–1958) was one of the many Finnish composers unjustly overshadowed by Jean Sibelius. He was, however, first and foremost a conductor, of performances at Sweden’s Royal Opera for more than 25 years and over 270 in Finland alone in half a century. He was Chief Conductor of the HPO in 1942–1943 and last conducted the orchestra on Jean Sibelius’s 85th birthday in 1950.

Järnefelt’s Festive Overture (1902) is a good example of a work composed in the golden era of Finnish music. He wrote it for the official inauguration of the Finnish National Theatre but in all the excitement of the event it passed almost unnoticed. The Päivälehti newspaper reported that the opening gala began with an overture performed by an orchestra conducted by Armas Järnefelt, describing it as beautiful and colourful and as enjoying an enthusiastic reception. Sadly, it was then forgotten for nearly 120 years. A work of fanfares and mighty build-ups, it now receives what is believed to be only its second performance.

Jean Sibelius: Six Humoresques for Violin and Orchestra

Having completed his great violin concerto in 1904 (and revised it in 1905), Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) went on to write several works for solo violin: two serenades and two little pieces (Cantique and Devotion) for violin and orchestra, and a sonata for violin and piano. The sketches he further made in 1917 never resulted in a second concerto, but they did produce six Humoresques for violin and orchestra. Though divided into two opuses (87 and 89), Sibelius probably intended them for performance together. The soloist at the premiere in 1919 was Paul Cherkassky, leader of the HPO, and the conductor was Sibelius. Despite being short, the Humoresques had an “excellent format”, said Sibelius. Humorous the Humoresques are not, but they are all the richer for their dance-like violin writing, masterly twists and Sibelian harmonies. The dancing first and third Humoresques are delicate, the second and fifth technically challenging, the fourth bears echoes of Grieg-like melodies and folk songs, and the eloquent sixth with its sudden mood shifts promises a great climax that in reality never comes.

Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 3

The swelling strains of his first and second symphonies had made Jean Sibelius a national icon, so the third (1907), cautiously pointing to a less lavish future idiom, came as something of a surprise. The critics shook their heads and composers such as Rimsky-Korsakov asked him why he did not write in the usual way, telling him that the audience would not be able to follow or understand his symphony. This criticism must, however, be read in its temporal context, for it was in complete contrast to the mammoth works of such contemporaries as Rachmaninoff, Glière and especially Mahler. The romantic symphony was, however, on the way out. Sibelius, on meeting Mahler, said he admired the austerity and profound logic of a symphony in which all the motifs are interconnected. But Mahler disagreed: “No,” he said. “A symphony must be like the world. It must embrace everything.”

Sibelius’s third does not embrace everything, but nor does it lack anything. In 1940, by which time his pen had been gathering dust for a decade already, Sibelius recalled his symphony’s reception and Rimsky-Korsakov’s fatherly advice. “And now,” said Sibelius, “I am certain that my symphonies are played more than his.

Artists

  • Alina Pogostkina

    violin

Programme

  • 15.00
    Armas Järnefelt

    Festive Overture

  • Jean Sibelius

    Two Humoresques for Violin and Orchestra

  • Jean Sibelius

    Four Humoresques for Violin and Orchestra

  • Interval 25 min

  • 17.00
    Jean Sibelius

    Symphony No. 3

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take photos of the orchestra?

Yes, but only before or after the concert. During the concert we just want you to enjoy the music. This way you won’t disturb the musicians or other audience members.

How can I order interval refreshments?

Simply call 020 762 4862, send an e-mail to ravintolat.musiikkitalo@restel.fi​ or the Restis app. Interval refreshments for groups of 30 or more should be ordered from the sales service.

Do I have to dress up to attend a concert?

Only the orchestra has a dress code. You can dress as you like.

I have a season ticket but want to change my seat – what should I do?

If you would like to change your seat, you can purchase a new season ticket from the seats available when they go on sale. Unclaimed seats will be made available for individual concerts when the sales period for season tickets ends.

I have a season ticket but can’t make it to the concert – what should I do?

You can give the ticket to a friend or donate it to a music student by calling 09-3102 2700 or sending an e-mail to helsinki.philharmonic@hel.fi by 3pm on the day of the concert.