Concert powerful from start to Finnish

By Tom Weber

The Post-Bulletin

Jean Sibelius knew exactly what he was doing when he attached the name "Finlandia" to what would become his most famous piece of music. The Finnish composer managed to write music that sounded like the dark woods and deep snow of his homeland, and ever since its debut in 1899 "Finlandia" has come to represent, musically at least, Finland.

"It still has all the power it ever had," said Jere Lantz, conductor of the Rochester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale, which will feature "Finlandia" in a "Nordic Notes" concert Saturday.

Sibelius will also be represented on the program by his lesser known "Spring Song," which, according to Lantz, is more sprightly than "Finlandia."


"He wrote it as a young man in his 20s, just getting his feet wet — or frozen up there — in creating this type of music," Lantz said. "It’s gorgeous."

The orchestra will perform another Finnish piece, Einojuhani Rautavaara’s "Cantus Arcticus," written in 1979.

"He was also trying to capture the sounds of his country," Lantz said. This time, the effect is that of a forest populated with birds. "The orchestra is accompanying the birds," he said.

Another Nordic favorite, Edvard Grieg’s incidental music from "Peer Gynt," is on the program, as well as Carl Nielsen’s "Maskarade Overture."

The guest artist is Andrea Een, who will play hardanger fiddle during the Grieg selections and will be featured on "Three Pieces for Hardangar Fiddle and Orchestra" by Dan Trueman.


"Nordic Notes" by the Rochester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale, with guest artist Andrea Een, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Presentation Hall of Mayo Civic Center. Tickets are $22, $18, $12 and $6 (youth), available at the civic center box office, the RSOC office at 400 S. Broadway, and through Ticketmaster (252-1010).

A pre-concert reception will be held at 6 p.m. in the Grand Lobby of the Rochester Art Center. Conductor Jere Lantz will talk about the concert program. Gourmet appetizers. Suggested donation: $20. No reservations needed.

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