Friday November 17th, 2023


Spirit of Nature -concert Siuntio St .Peter´s Church at 7 o´clock pm

Pianist Janne Mertanen´s program consists of 20th century Finnish piano music inspired by nature. The landscapes and emotional memories of North Karelia are also beautifully conveyed in the program as a whole.

Among the composers featured in the program, Heino Kaski was born on June 21, 1885, in North Karelia, by Lake Pielinen in Lieksa, and he passed away one day before Sibelius, on September 19, 1957. His father was a church musician. Kaski lost his mother during infancy. The composer himself believed that his sensitivity was inherited from his mother, and his life would have certainly been different if he had been able to receive a mother’s love for a longer time.

Heino Kaski’s work includes not only a symphony (which he composed amidst the turmoil of the First World War) but also four orchestral suites, chamber and stage music, over a hundred piano compositions, over a hundred solo songs, around fifty choir songs, and numerous school songs.

Kaski is particularly known as a skillful composer of lyrical piano pieces and melodic solo songs. Janne Mertanen is a subtle interpreter of Kaski’s piano pieces and has recorded them.

In his youth, Kaski was considered a promising talent, but it has been said that he didn’t completely fulfill the expectations placed on him. Nevertheless, Kaski was a natural creative talent, a melodic lyricist who didn’t strive for modern expression, and the artistic currents of the 1920s didn’t significantly influence his music. Kaski worked as a music teacher and got children to sing.

Joonas Kokkonen, born in 1921 in Iisalmi, lived in Villa Kokkonen in Järvenpää and passed away in 1996. He was a member of the Finnish Academy, a musical influencer, and above all, the composer of the opera “The Last Temptations.”

He also worked as a professor at the Sibelius Academy for a long time. Kokkonen himself studied composition under the guidance of Aarre Merikanto. Kokkonen’s composition students, in turn, have become well-known influencers in contemporary Finnish music.

In Kokkonen’s extensive body of work, in addition to symphonies, orchestral and chamber music, organ and choral works, there are also piano pieces, including the Pielavesi Suite, which takes us back to the atmosphere of North Karelia.

Selim Palmgren (1878-1951) laid the foundation for Finnish piano music and was the first Finnish composer of piano concertos. As a creative and performing artist, he gained great international respect as an interpreter of his works. He was a significant influencer in Finnish music in the 1930s and 1940s and was appointed as the first professor of composition at the Sibelius Academy.

Palmgren composed over 300 pieces for piano. In addition, he composed choir works, five piano concertos, and the opera Daniel Hjort (1907-1910, Finnish version in 1929 and completely revised version in 1938), based on J.J. Wecksell’s play of the same name. Palmgren’s work is influenced particularly by impressionism. His contemporaries referred to him as the “Chopin of the North.”

The Palmgren Society preserves the memory of Selim Palmgren as part of the Swedish-speaking cultural heritage in Finland.

Jean Sibelius‘ compositional output primarily spans five decades from the early 1880s to the late 1920s. His stylistic development from early Romanticism, through National Romanticism, and the intermediate phases of expressionism and impressionism, towards the renewal of symphonic thinking, is significant and an inexhaustible subject of research.

Sibelius and his music have become a central part of Finnish identity and a bridge to our musical relationship with nature.


Jean Sibelius:

Finnish folk song arrangements for piano JS 81

-Minun kultani

-Sydämestäni rakastan

-Ilta tulee, ehtoo joutuu

-Tuopa tyttö, kaunis tyttö kanteletta soittaa



Selim Palmgren

Kevätyö-Majnatt Op.27/4

Jean Sibelius:

Six Impromptus op.5



-Moderato (alla marcia)





Joonas Kokkonen:







Jean Sibelius

Cinq morceaux pour piano op.75

-När rönnen blommar

-Den ensamma furan




Heino Kaski:

Walamo Op.48 nro 3

Vuotenpaikkojen iltasoitto op.15 nro 1

Yö meren rannalla Op.34 nro 1

Pankakoski Op.48 nro 1

The length of the concert 1 h 30 min including intermission.

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