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A musical bouquet

In the ballet spectacle Land of Kalevala, iconic moments in Finnish history are accompanied by the nation’s musical memories – tunes from different genres that everyone knows. The dancers are joined onstage by the internationally renowned accordion virtuoso Kimmo Pohjonen and the legendary folk music band Värttinä. The FNO Chorus and Orchestra are also in a major role.

Composer Tuomas Kantelinen and choreographer Kenneth Greve went over dozens of suggestions for the production’s music, formed from a mixed variety of parts just like the story of Land of Kalevala. Finnish prehistory, for example, is performed to the music of Uuno Klami, a Finnish modernist composer famed for his Kalevala-themed work. Songs and composers with nationwide popular appeal have been selected for scenes closer to the present day.

 

Kalevalanmaa
Land of Kalevala; Kimmo Pohjonen

Spot these!

Besides stunning dance performances, Land of Kalevala offers the audience a chance to spot interesting choices of songs and instruments. Some of the compositions by Tuomas Kantelinen, the man behind the music selection, were originally created for film soundtracks. Can you pinpoint any of them?

Land of Kalevala wouldn’t be a true centenary production without the singing of the Finnish national anthem. We hear Runeberg’s poem Vårt land, the original Swedish lyrics of Maamme-laulu (Our Land), but the anthem is sung to an unfamiliar tune. This one, composed by the poet himself, is rather different from the established version by Fredrik Pacius.

What instrument, then, is used to play the traditional folk music song Vaka-vanha Väinämöinen about Kalevala’s wise old sage? It’s, of course, the traditional jouhikantele or jouhikko, a bowed lyre. This popular folk music instrument from the early 20th century was particularly prevalent in East Finland. It was played between the knees, usually to accompany folk dancing. In Land of Kalevala, the bowed lyre is played by the FNO Orchestra violinist Minna Kinnari.

When the war breaks out, keep an eye on the orchestral pit. Two percussionists will go on stage to set the rhythm for the battle.

The song list of Land of Kalevala

1. Act

Uuno Klami, orch. Kalevi Aho: Prelude à la Fanfare, Tulien herääminen, Tulien tanssi no 1 from ballet Pyörteitä

Lassi Logrén & Matti Kallio, lyrics Karoliina Kantelinen, Mari Kaasinen & Susan Aho, arr. Lassi Logrén, Matti Kallio, Karoliina Kantelinen, Mari Kaasinen, Susan Aho & Matti Laitinen, orchestral arrangement Mikko Hassinen: Kanaset, performer Värttinä

Uuno Klami, orch. Kalevi Aho: Liekkien paluu (Tulien tanssi no 3) from ballet Pyörteitä

Kimmo Pohjonen: Sensitive Skin

Leevi Madetoja: Suite from opera Pohjalaisia op. 52: II. Vangin laulu

Tuomas Kantelinen, orch. Matt Dunkley: Action Elements from movie Arn – The Knight Templar, Last Breath from movie The Italian Key

Fredrik Pacius, lyrics Emil von Qvanten, translation Aleksanteri Rahkonen: Suomen laulu

Trad., arr. Iikka Kotaja: Kalevalainen sävelmä

J. L. Runeberg, arr. Heikki Klemetti: Vårt land

Trad., arr. Matti Kallio: Raijan joiku, performer Värttinä

Uuno Klami: Kalevala-suite op. 23: V. Sammon taonta

Oskar Merikanto, lyrics Ilmari Kianto, arr. A. E. Taipale: Nälkämaan laulu

Kimmo Pohjonen: Empire

Trad., arr. Kajanus: Narvan marssi

J. Hannikainen, lyrics Immi Hellén, arr. Iikka Kotaja: Suojelusenkeli

Jean Sibelius: Lemminkäinen: Swan of Tuonela op. 22 no 2

2. Act

Kimmo Pohjonen: Anemone

Oskar Merikanto: Kesäilta op. 1

Unto Mononen, arr. Riku Niemi: Satumaa

Unto Mononen, lyrics Juha Vainio, arr. Olli Heikkilä: Onnen maa

Trad., arr. Petri Hakala, Tom Nyman, Matti Kallio, Matti Laitinen, Mari Kaasinen, Karoliina Kantelinen, Lassi Logrén & Susan Aho, orchestral arrangement Mikko Hassinen: Oi dai, performer Värttinä

Trad., arr. Osmo Vänskä: Säkkijärven polkka

Tuomas Kantelinen: Theme music from movie Härmä

Kaj Chydenius, lyrics Aulikki Oksanen, arr. Iikka Kotaja: Laulu siirtotyöläisestä

Seppo Pohjola: Symphony no 1, 1 movement

Kimmo Pohjonen: Keko

Simo Salminen & Pertti ”Spede” Pasanen, arr. Iikka Kotaja: Rotestilaulu

Jean Sibelius: Karelia-suite op. 11: III. Alla marcia

Tuomas Kantelinen: Hans dies from movie Purge

Ville ”Darude” Virtanen, arr. Darude & Jaakko Salovaara: Sandstorm (Radio edit) (recording)

Tuomas Kantelinen, orcr. Matt Dunkley: End Prayer from movie Arn – The Knight Templar