Sebastian Fagerlund: Ignite, Fp (YLE commission) 30 min
Sakari Oramo, conductor
Sebastian Fagerlund: Ignite, Fp (YLE commission)
I Presto furioso
Interlude I, Espressivo
II Energico, molto ritmico
Interlude II, Espressivo
III Lento misterioso, molto calmo
Interlude III, Intenso
INTERVAL 20 min
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 6 in D Minor, Op. 104
I Allegro molto moderato
II Allegretto moderato
III Poco vivace
IV Allegro molto
(in 1 movement) Adagio – Un pochettino meno adagio
Vivacissimo – Adagio – Allegro molto moderato –
Allegro moderato – Vivace – Presto – Adagio –
Largamente molto – Affettuoso
Symphony No. 7 in 7 C Major, Op. 107
Interval at about 7.40 pm. The concert ends at about 8.55 pm.
Broadcast live on YLE Radio 1 and the Internet (www.yle.fi/rso).
Sebastian Fagerlund (b. 1972): Ignite (2009–2010),
dedicated to Sakari Oramo
Ignite begins in mid-flight, as it were. The impression is of a giant space, eddies, a numbing,
machine-like effect, ritual-like rhythms and
floating shimmers. The second movement introduces falling motifs, smouldering flames,
deep rumbles, a faraway cor anglais, Latino-galactic dances, larger-than-life chords and other
such sci-fi effects.
The third movement plummets almost to a
halt. Suddenly, all that is heard are a bass clarinet, timpani, harp and double bass. Out of the
emptiness emerges a flicker of the song Sorrow
come by John Dowland (1563–1626). It is impossible to see into the heart of melancholy;
the black hole can be observed only via its influence on its surroundings.
The title of the work alludes, according to
Fagerlund, to the constant collision of elements
igniting and generating new energy.
The music of Fagerlund is like a steady flow of
stratified soundscapes with a manic beat and
jagged recurring motifs, static meditation and
long, long notes. The various elements create
an impression of irreversible processes, of nature or machines that care nothing for the human caught up in them.
Fagerlund admits to a predilection for spiral form in Ignite. This is manifest as twisting
scales, figures that go up and down, whirligig
rattles, whirlpool chords and the giddy sounds
of a harp, marimba, bells and gongs. It is also
borne out in the structure – a giant spiral proceeding from the outside (movements I-II) to
the middle (III) and back (IV). The further in it
goes, the calmer the music becomes.
People have always been fascinated by spirals. They are a natural, universal phenomenon. The spiral symbolises the cosmic force
that draws all being together. It is also a metaphor for vertigo, hypnosis and fainting. And
for eternity, death and hell, growth, creation
Susanna Välimäki (abridged)
Jean Sibelius (1865–1957): Symphony No. 6 in D Minor,
Op. 104 (1923)
ping up waves in the manner of a Beethovenlike struggle, could have served as the initial
impetus for a symphony as lyrical and serene as
the Sixth. The explanation lies in the essence of
symphonic form and its insistence on contrasts.
The feature most often mentioned in connection with the Sixth is modality, i.e. the dominance of “church modes” dating from the pretonal era. The use of modes came naturally to Sibelius because his roots lay in Finnish folk music;
Finnish tunes have tended to favour modality
rather than tonality, and especially the Dorian
mode (like a minor scale with a high sixth note).
Although Sibelius had adopted a non-national
style by the time he wrote his Sixth, this symphony is often regarded as his most “Finnish”.
Differences of opinion often cause schisms between composers and publishers, but sometimes the publisher proves to be right. A notable example is the desire of Sibelius’s publisher (either A. Hirsch or W. Hansen) to torpedo
Sibelius’s proposal to compose a “lyrical” violin
concerto (concerto lirico); the publisher’s reaction was cool, Sibelius abandoned the idea and
used the material for his Sixth Symphony.
Its concerto beginnings are not the only unusual thing about the Sixth. It appears to be
most clearly related to the Seventh, but the Sibelius scholar Erik Tawaststjerna came to the
conclusion that it has more in common with
the Fifth, decisively different in character! For
it is difficult to imagine that the theme, whip-
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 7 in C Major,
Op. 107 (1924)
Beauty is its most striking feature, but the Seventh Symphony is also uniquely, ingeniously
constructed. It is in a single movement, a format Sibelius had long dreamt of. At its premiere
and the next seven concerts it went by the
name of Fantasia sinfonica. The idea of calling it
a symphony had passed through his mind, but
he was afraid this might be deemed an anachronism, and his reputation rested strongly on
During the past couple of decades, the debate
surrounding the symphony being less heated than it was in the 1920s and again in the
1960s-70s, those who once looked askance at
his classical-romantic façade have come to real-
ise that the “amorphous” forms of his late style
were in fact ahead of the times. For the structure of the Seventh Symphony is nothing short
of brilliant, the layers peeling off like those of
In his Seventh Sibelius makes use of a major scale coloured with lowered notes as the basis for figures either falling or revolving on one
spot. It is almost as if he is nostalgically taking his leave, even though he did not know this
would be his last symphony. The Seventh was
premiered to great acclaim in Stockholm on
March 24, 1924, with Sibelius conducting.
Jouni Kaipainen (abridged)
Sakari Oramo has been Chief Conductor of the
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra since August 2003. An accomplished violinist, he began
his career as co-leader of the orchestra in 1991
and went on to obtain a conducting diploma in
the class of Jorma Panula at the Sibelius Academy. In January 1993 he replaced an ailing conductor at very short notice; the resulting concert was an unprecedented success, leading to
his appointment as Associate Chief Conductor
as of autumn 1994.
In spring 2008 Oramo resigned from his
10-year term as Music Director of the City of
Birmingham Symphony Orchestra but continues as the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor. In autumn 2008 he took over as Chief Conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic
Orchestra. He is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra
and of Kokkola Opera in Finland.
Mr Oramo has conducted many of the
world’s leading orchestras, such as the Berlin,
New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Oslo Philharmonics, the Orchestre de Paris, the Cleveland and Minnesota Orchestras, the Concertge-
bouw Orchestra, the NHK Symphony and the
Frankfurt RSO. The next few years will include
visits to the Boston and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestras, the Staatskapelle Dresden and
the Orchestre de Paris. In April 2010 he toured
Europe with the European Chamber Orchestra.
With the FRSO Mr Oramo has toured to Vienna, Prague, Germany and Switzerland and
appeared at the BBC Proms, the Canary Islands, Edinburgh and Bergen Festivals. In October 2005 he took the orchestra on tour to Japan and was immediately invited back for February 2007.
The FRSO and Oramo have recorded music
(for Ondine) by such Finnish composers as Hakola, Klami, Mielck, Pingoud and Kaipainen,
and the debut release of Launis’s opera Aslak
Hetta. His disc of works by Magnus Lindberg,
and the Bartók disc by Warner Classics have
received great international acclaim. His disc
(Ondine) of Symphonies 3 and 5 by Nordgren
won the French Académie Charles Cros award,
while the recording by Mr Oramo, the FRSO
and Lisa Batiashvili of the Violin Concertos by
Magnus Lindberg and Jean Sibelius was hon-
oured with a MIDEM Classical Award in 2008.
The most recent distinction came from the
New York Times, which chose the FRSO’s disc
of works for orchestra by Magnus Lindberg as
Record of the Year 2008.
Sakari Oramo received an Honorary Doctorate in summer 2004 from the University
of Central England in Birmingham. In summer 2008 he was awarded the prestigious Elgar Medal in recognition of his work to further
the reputation of Elgar and his music, and in
2009 he was honoured with a British OBE for
his services to music.
The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
lius in the role of conductor.
With Sakari Oramo the FRSO has recorded music by Bartók, Hakola, Lindberg, Kaipai
nen, Kokkonen and others, and the debut disc
of the opera Aslak Hetta by Armas Launis. Its
discs have won many prestigious distinctions,
such as Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine
awards. Its most recent honour, a MIDEM Classical Award, was for the recording of the Lindberg and Sibelius Violin Concertos with Lisa Batiashvili as the soloist in 2008. Another recording of Lindberg’s orchestral pieces was selected as the record of the year 2008 by the New
The FRSO has been on major tours all over
the world and given more than 300 concerts
abroad. It has visited Japan four times. During
the 2010/11 season it will be visiting Edinburg,
Frankfurt, Zurich and Dortmund.
All the FRSO concerts, both in Finland and
abroad, can be heard on the FRSO’s home channel, YLE Radio 1. They are usually broadcasted
live and can also be heard worldwide via the Internet (yle.fi/rso).
The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (FRSO),
the orchestra of the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE), celebrated its 80th anniversary in
autumn 2007. Its Chief Conductor is Sakari
Oramo, who assumed the post in 2003 after
nine years as its conductor.
The Radio Orchestra of ten players founded
in 1927 grew to a full-size symphony orchestra
in the 1960s. Its chief conductors have been
Toivo Haapanen, Nils-Eric Fougstedt, Paavo
Berglund, Okko Kamu, Leif Segerstam and Jukka-Pekka Saraste.
Contemporary music is a major item in the
repertoire of the FRSO, which each year premieres a number of YLE commissions. All in all
the FRSO has so far premiered more than 500
works. Its programme for the 2010/11 season
features six world and many Finnish premieres.
The FRSO recordings now number over 100,
on the Ondine and other labels. One historic
gem is the Andante festivo conducted by the
composer, Jean Sibelius, at the Helsinki Conservatory (now the Sibelius Academy) Hall. This
recording is the only known document of Sibe