Tag Archives: Luukas Hiltunen

A symphonic tribute to Sibelius

The young Finnish composer Luukas Hiltunen has just completed his Symphony No. 1 for full orchestra. The project took almost eighteen months (started on 22 February 2019, finished on 26 June 2020). The score consists of 72 pages, and the work plays for approx. 30 minutes. There are three movements: an Andante espressivo first movement in A minor, a scherzo (Allegretto grazioso) with trio (Moderato assai e sempre espressivo), and an extensive finale (Andante sostenuto). It is scored for 2 flutes (both doubling piccolos), 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, percussion (snare drum, cymbals and bass drum), harp and strings.

Luukas Hiltunen has listened to the music of Sibelius ever since he was a small boy, and has become familiar with his style of writing music for orchestra. ‘I’m very proud of the finale, it’s definitely the most advanced and complex musical structure I have written so far’, writes Hiltunen, describing it as ‘a musical journey from darkness to light, ending up with a solemn hymn [an original composition, not an arrangement]… an uninterrupted 15-minute whole, almost like a tone poem inside a symphony, without any external source of inspiration. Therefore it comes very close to Sibelius’s En saga, I think; it creates a unique and every time a different imaginary musical journey, a metamorphosis full of themes that develop and continue imperceptibly, with logical transitions between recognizable states of mind (leitmotifs).’ The music is very approachable; Sibelian touches include the use of triplets, syncopated horn writing and the ways he uses the lower strings, and the work has a noticeably melancholic Finnish character, although it does not make use of direct quotations from folk music.

Hiltunen has been in touch with the National Youth Symphony Orchestra of Finland (Sinfoniaorkesteri Vivo) and its chief conductor Erkki Lasonpalo concerning a possible world première performance.

Luukas Hiltunen has previously made arrangements for symphony orchestra of Sibelius’s organ works Intrada and Surusoitto, and a string quartet version of the Scène d’amour from Scaramouche.

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Music publisher (Scène d’amour): Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen

New Sibelius publications

Breitkopf & Härtel’s JSW complete edition has published the critically edited Urtext of the tone poem Finlandia as a stand-alone paperback score.

Finlandia is edited by JSW’S editor-in-chief Timo Virtanen and comes with a detailed preface discussing the tone poem’s genesis and publication history. It is fascinating to learn, for example, that Sibelius took the autograph score with him to German in the autumn of 1900 but lost it – necessitating an urgent message to his faithful copyist Ernst Rölling in Helsinki, asking for a score to be written out from the orchestral parts!

The paperback volume is much cheaper than the hardback one will be (SON 630, in preparation) but does not include the full explanation of sources and of the editorial decision-making process that will come when it appears in the full hardback edition. Some asterisks in the score indicate points that will be clarified in the forthcoming volume.

Breitkopf & Härtel Partitur-Bibiothek 5658
Price: €26.64
Orchestral parts also available for purchase.


Also newly released by Edition Wilhelm Hansen is an arrangement by Luukas Hiltunen for string quartet of the Scène d’amour from Scaramouche, Op. 71.

Sibelius himself arranged exctracts from the ballet-pantomime Scaramouche (1913) for piano, and the Scène d’amour also for violin and piano. This arrangement, which is based on the violin and piano version, received its world première performance on 23 March 2018 at the Church of the Cross in Lahti, Finland.

Luukas Hiltunen has also made orchestral arrangements of Sibelius’s organ pieces Intrada and Surusoitto, Op. 111. More information on those arrangements was published in Sibelius One’s magazine in January 2019.

Wilhelm Hansen WH33255

 

 

Sibelius Première in Lahti

Luukas Hiltunen outside the Sibelius Hall in Lahti. Photo: © Sibelius One

The world première performance of a new arrangement by Lahti music student Luukas Hiltunen of Sibelius’s Intrada for organ, Op. 111a (1925), was given as an encore on the last night of the 2018 Sibelius Festival in Lahti (8 September 2018).

This sonorous and well-received arrangement was scored for full symphony orchestra (without percussion), and is dedicated to its performers, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and conductor Dima Slobodeniouk.

Luukas Hiltunen has also made an arrangement of the companion organ piece, Surusoitto (Funeral Music).

Further information will be published in the January 2019 issue of Sibelius One’s magazine.