Wednesday, the 5th September 2007 at 7 p.m.

Tuomas Pyrhönen, organ



Tuomas Pyrhönen:     Improvisation on a given theme
(1969- )

Aimo Känkänen:         Elegia (1986)
(1922- )

Toivo Kuula:              Lampaan polska (Lamb polska), transcription by Tuomas Pyrhönen

Jean Sibelius:            The death of Melisande (Pelléas et Mélisande, op.46),
(1865-1957)              transcription by Tuomas Pyrhönen

Peteris Vasks:            Te Deum (1991)
(1946- )

Max Reger:                Fantasie über den Choral "Halleluja! Gott zu loben bleibe meine
(1873-1916)              Seelenfreud!", op.52 Nr. 3


I begin my concert at the Riga Cathedral with an improvisation. Improvisation is music which is created at the same time while playing. As a theme for your improvisation you can improvise on anything, a choral or a folk song, for instance. Now I really do not know my theme, because it will be given to me just a few minutes before my concert begins. That´s why it will be an adventure for me, too. By purpose I have not prepared it in order to make my improvisation hopefully fresher and more exciting.

Aimo Känkänen is the founder of the Lahti Organ Festival in Finland. He has worked as an organist for the Church of the Cross in Lahti. Känkänen has composed primarly for the organ, but his works also include solo songs, chamber music and orchestral works. His Elegy is a musical meditation particularly suitable for funeral services. The chromaticism and the sharp dissonant chords are moving, all the while creating an athmosphere of devotion and consolation.

Toivo Kuula was one of the most promising Finnish composers of the beginning of the 20th century. His Lampaan polska is based on a Portuguese melody called La Folia (`absurdity` in Portuguese). The same theme has also been used by Arcangelo Corelli and Serge Rachmaninoff in their works. Kuula´s slightly organ-like variations for the piano were written in 1915, three years before his tragic death.

Jean Sibelius composed music for several plays, among the most popular being the music composed for the play Pelléas and Mélisande (1905), which was written by the Belgian symbolist Maurice Maeterlinck. The music, composed for the Swedish Theatre in Helsinki, ends in a heartbreaking manner with Melisande´s death. My organ transcription will make full use of the many violin stops on the organ at the Riga Cathedral - the strings have an extremely important role in the original orchestral version of The Death of Melisande.

Peteris Vasks is the most famous Latvian composer. He has often chosen programmatic titles for his works relating to events in Nature. He is inspired by a genuine relationship between Nature and Man, but also the beauty of life. On the other hand he is particularly worried about ecological and moral destruction Te Deum was commissioned by the Latvian Organ Guide and premiered in New York in October, 1991.

The German Max Reger was an immensely productive composer. He wrote very many works for organ. His all three choral fantasies, op.52 were composed in September, 1900. This opus can be considered as one unity but these fantasies can naturally be performed as separate pieces as well. The last of them "Hallelujah! Praising God will always be the joy of my soul." contains 7 parts. The last of these parts is a long fugue which culminates the fantasy. At the very end of the work a fugue theme and a choral theme come together in a festive manner.

Tuomas Pyrhönen