Perform U.S. Premiere of Incantations, April 8-10
Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony on Thursday, April 8 at 8 p.m. and Friday, April 9 at 8 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, April 10 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. The program also includes features the United States premiere of Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Incantations featuring percussionist Colin Currie and the inspiration for this work, Sibelius’ Finlandia.
In 2007, Colin Currie traveled to Finland to visit composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, in hopes that he would collaborate with him in a new percussion concerto. “I had already composed a sketch for the first movement [of Incantations]. I played it for him and [he] was enthusiastic about my ideas,” says Rautavaara of the meeting, in an interview with David Allenby. He then composed Incantations, which made its world premiere in London last fall. The piece consists of three movements, with parts for the marimba and vibraphone. Having both attended and taught at the Sibelius Academy, Rautavaara’s Incantations draws inspiration from this legendary Finnish composer.
Sibelius wrote Finlandia, one of his most famous compositions, to celebrate Finnish freedom. It begins with dark, ominous tones to convey the Finns’ hardships in the early 19th century as they strived for autonomy. As the tempo increases, the elegant melody of the woodwinds exemplifies their newfound pride and independence finally achieved in 1917.
Continuing the notion of victory and joyfulness, the program concludes with the energetic and spirited rhythm of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. An instant hit, the work premiered in an 1813 benefit concert to raise money for soldiers wounded at the Napoleonic battle of Hanau, and its optimistic tone gave hope to those living under Napoleon’s rule.