Author Topic: Aulis Sallinen (1935 -)  (Read 3403 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Aulis Sallinen (1935 -)
« on: May 25, 2015, 03:30:27 PM »


Aulis Sallinen is one of the most prominent figures in Finnish music, and his music often focuses on figures from Finnish history. While his lyric writing shows a strong Sibelius influence, there is also a certain acerbic touch in both his subject matter and his music that is strongly reminiscent of Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Weill. His opera The Red Line, in particular, has a sardonic, slightly bitter tone that strongly resembles Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Like Weill, he also used jazz elements, as in the ironic song in Kullervo in which Kullervo learns that he has slept with his own sister.

He first studied the violin and then piano, and his interest in composing began when he started improvising jazz and themes and variations on the piano. At the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, he studied composition under Aarre Merikanto and Joonas Kokkonen, and upon graduating, was the Administrator of the Finnish Radio Symphony, a position he held for nearly ten years. His first published composition was his 1962 Mauermusik, a tribute to a young German man who was killed while trying to cross the Berlin Wall. It is a powerful work with highly expressive writing, and brought him to international attention. Aside from its political content, it was hailed as an example of how contemporary classical music can be expressive and approachable. In 1963, he returned to the Academy as a professor, a post which he held for thirteen years.

His first operatic composition, Ratsumies, was written for the Savonlinna Opera Festival, and premiered in 1974. It was a major success, and many attributed the sudden spurt of major Finnish opera productions to its success, and that of Kokkonen's Viimeiset kiusaukset. This was followed by a commission for the Finnish National Opera, Punainen viiva (The red line), for which he wrote the libretto himself, and was premiered in 1978. It was also successful, and in 1981 he was named Professor of Arts for Life by the Finnish government. His next opera, Kunningas lahtee Raskaan (The King goes to France), was a joint commission from the Covent Garden, the BBC, and the Savonlinna Opera Festival, where it premiered in 1984. His fourth work, Kullervo, based on the legend that inspired Sibelius to one of his great nationalist works, was originally written for the Finnish National Opera, but since the opening of their new house was delayed, it was instead premiered in Los Angeles (1992).

In contrast to his operas, which are nearly all somber, even bleak, his instrumental and orchestral music has a strong spiritual element and is often even rhapsodic, as in his Chamber Music II or Sunrise Serenade, or even playful, as in the Nocturnal Dances. While his symphonies are generally more austere, particularly the Fifth and Sixth, they, too, show a strong lyrical element, reminiscent of Sibelius. As the title of the Sunrise Serenade suggests, he often finds the inspiration for these works in visual elements rather than dramatic or episodic ones.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

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I couldn't find a composer thread on Sallinen, so here it is in all its glory! What do you guys think of Sallinen's music? Any favorite works?
"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich

Offline North Star

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Re: Aulis Sallinen (1935 -)
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2015, 03:53:42 PM »
I'm not sure what else by Sallinen I've heard, but this is a fine piece.

String Quartet no. 3, Aspekteja Peltoniemen Hintriikin surumarssista (Aspects of the funeral march of Hintriikki Peltoniemi) (1969)

Here arranged for a string orchestra.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Aulis Sallinen (1935 -)
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2015, 04:12:21 PM »
Very nice, Karlo. I'll have to check out that work. I'm currently enjoying Songs of Life and Death.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Aulis Sallinen (1935 -)
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2015, 09:50:27 PM »
I have a number of CDs including this one that I like very much:


Also I had an old BIS LP which I liked with symphonies 1 and 3.
I will try to listen to some Sallinen this week so that I can say something sensible  8).
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Aulis Sallinen (1935 -)
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2015, 05:58:59 AM »
I have a number of CDs including this one that I like very much:


Also I had an old BIS LP which I liked with symphonies 1 and 3.
I will try to listen to some Sallinen this week so that I can say something sensible  8).

Yeah, that CD is of course in the CPO box set. I was listening to Songs of Life and Death and The Iron Age Suite (on Ondine w/ Kamu at the helm) last night and really enjoyed the music. I believe you would enjoy this recording, too, Jeffrey:

"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich

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Re: Aulis Sallinen (1935 -)
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2015, 01:52:13 PM »
There was no Thread?? Huh?

Anyhow, I'm still holding off on The Box, but, I imagine it won't be long. Which Symphonies are you groovin' on?

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Aulis Sallinen (1935 -)
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2015, 05:11:15 PM »
I have to be honest here and say I haven't found anything in the symphony set that I have enjoyed (yet). I loved Songs of Life and Death, but haven't found anything close to the level of this work.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2015, 05:20:37 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Aulis Sallinen (1935 -)
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2015, 05:34:39 PM »
Yeah, that CD is of course in the CPO box set. I was listening to Songs of Life and Death and The Iron Age Suite (on Ondine w/ Kamu at the helm)

Marvelous disc, probably my fave of this composer.

There was no Thread?? Huh?

Actually there is one:

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,16136.0.html
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

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Offline lescamil

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Re: Aulis Sallinen (1935 -)
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2015, 05:45:05 PM »
Want to chat about classical music on IRC? Go to:

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Offline Maestro267

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Re: Aulis Sallinen (1935 -)
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2020, 04:08:48 AM »
I picked up a BIS recording of Symphonies 4 & 5 today. My first experience of Sallinen's music. Given no one's posted in here for over 5 years, it must perhaps have been somewhere else that I was made aware of him. Listening to No. 5 currently. Right up my street.

And also pleasant to discover he is still with us, at (presumably) age 85.

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Re: Aulis Sallinen (1935 -)
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2020, 05:28:17 AM »
I think his best works are still his operas and other vocal music, especially choral (such as the Songs of Life and Death). The best parts of his operas tend to be the choral parts as well.

I was at the premiere of his opera Kullervo and went to the subsequent 6 performances in a row.

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Offline relm1

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Re: Aulis Sallinen (1935 -)
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2020, 05:50:39 AM »
There is an excellent opera from the 1970's.  I think it's called The Red Line, but very finely composed and dramatic opera.  A great composer for sure.

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Aulis Sallinen (1935 -)
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2020, 06:10:42 AM »
I have several discs of his music.  This one I particularly enjoy:  https://www.discogs.com/Aulis-Sallinen-Chamber-Music/release/11162878  If I'm recalling correctly, I first heard about him and was able to hear some of his music on a BBC radio program.  They were covering Finnish music and did a segment(s) on contemporaries of Sibelius.

PD

p.s.  I remember being haunted by this song "Winter was Hard"  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_HHZ9byGMI  Years ago, someone had created an animated short to accompany it (which included lyrics in English); alas, I think that it was taken down.   :(

Offline kyjo

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Re: Aulis Sallinen (1935 -)
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2020, 07:19:50 AM »
Sallinen is one of my favorite contemporary composers. His music is accessible without being “dumbed down” and is deeply atmospheric, helped in no small part by his imaginative orchestration. Some of my favorites of his include the Songs of Life and Death, Iron Age Suite, 4th Symphony, Cello Concerto, Chamber Music no. 3 “The Nocturnal Dances of Don Juanquixote” (great title!), and the SQ no. 3.
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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Aulis Sallinen (1935 -)
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2020, 08:20:40 AM »
I was at the premiere of his opera Kullervo and went to the subsequent 6 performances in a row.

Wow, then it must be a great work.
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Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Aulis Sallinen (1935 -)
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2020, 08:24:38 AM »
I think his best works are still his operas and other vocal music, especially choral (such as the Songs of Life and Death). The best parts of his operas tend to be the choral parts as well.

I was at the premiere of his opera Kullervo and went to the subsequent 6 performances in a row.
Wow!  It must have really clicked with you!  Did you have a chance to chat with him?

PD