Music Before becoming ill, Jaakko Kuusisto made a barter transaction, which is why he hears another masterpiece – “I am extremely happy and moved,” says conductor Osmo Vänskä.

Jaakko Kuusisto was a marvelous multi-talent: a top violinist, conductor and composer with a violin concerto by, for example, The Who Pete Townshend has praised to blow up consciousness.

In 2020, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and in February of this year, Jaakko Kuusisto died at the age of 48. This was thought to be the end of the premiere of new masterpieces.

It happened differently. It is a joy in the midst of sorrow.

Osmo Vänskä conducting the Minnesota Orchestra and South African musicians at the Mandela 100 gala concert in Soweto in 2018. At that time, the program also included arrangements of Jaakko Kuusisto’s South African songs.

When HS is calling Osmo Vänskälle In Seoul, South Korea, the conductor has just had time to get acquainted with the score of Jaakko Kuusisto’s last major work.

“I’m extremely happy and moved that we’re getting a symphony from him.”

Vänskä says that he ordered the work from Kuusisto a few years ago through a small barter.

The Vänskä and Minnesota Orchestra’s South Africa tour in 2018 featured Jaakko Kuusisto’s arrangements of South African songs, and they received great reception. In 2019, Vänskä asked for new arrangements, this time for a tour of Vietnam.

“Jaakko was also really asked as a mediator and he wondered where to do it. We have also performed his compositions, and I said that if you have time to make these arrangements, I will order a symphony for you from the Minnesota Orchestra. ”

Jaakko Kuusisto was silent for a moment and said: okay.

The Vietnam tour was canceled, but the symphony also progressed after a fatal diagnosis.

“He said he was on a good pace. There was one last talk before Christmas, and in January I heard that the condition had gone worse. ”

After his death, it was feared that the central work would remain unfinished.

“But then Pekka (Kuusisto) said that it will come. ”

Jaakko and Pekka Kuusisto at the Retreat in July 1997.

Jaakko Kuusiston brother Pekka Kuusisto answers the phone from the airport. During the interview, he is on his way as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to perform a performance known from The National. Bryce Dessnerin violin concerto Esa-Pekka Salonen conducted concerts.

“Jaakko’s symphony was finished with two large pieces, ie the first parts of the first and second parts as a completely finished orchestral score. It seemed natural to complete the parts by developing these materials. ”

The grammar of the work, the size of the orchestra and the basic themes are Jaakko Kuusiston. The sketches had survived, but he had already utilized them in his symphony.

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“Before, he composed a lot at the piano, but this time he first thought of the ensembles and wrote the full orchestral score directly for the notation program.”

Sketch of a symphony clarinet solo. In the final version, the subject is initially introduced on cellos and double basses.

Start? the equipped sketch takes thoughts to the clarinet solo of the beginning of Sibelius’s first symphony.

As a refreshing contrast to the ominous beginning, Jaakko Kuusisto refers to his earlier song he performed when he got married. Maija Kuusiston with. Thus begins the development of force and counterforce, which is characteristic of the symphonic form.

This is already noticed by the “playing version” produced by the notation program used by Jaakko Kuusisto, which is of course only a pale idea of ​​how the symphony plays in the acoustics of a real concert hall in the performance of artists.

Here’s how the notation program repeats the first 45 seconds of the symphony:

Pekka Kuusisto estimates that Jaakko really enjoyed developing the symphony.

“The Minnesota band is flexible and skillful. It sounds according to the voluptuous and shimmering American ideal of not being bouncing except when needed. The relationships between the bands and the use of brass are tailor-made for Osmo’s band. ”

He also estimates that Osmo Vänskä’s artist personality has influenced the end result.

“Osmo ignites the orchestra by relentlessly conveying the feeling that music evokes in him. I think Jaakko wrote the score in order to give Osmo succulent emotional waves to surf. ”

The symphony also has the power of film music.

“Jaakko’s orchestration feels effortless and energetic in a way that I think reflects great orchestras from Sibba Korngoldin through John Williams. ”

Cancer-induced research also brought creative stimuli.

“Jaakko was upset that the magnetic camera had damn sweet sounds, but you can’t take Mankka there. But yes, the sounds of that machine affected the symphony. ”

It’s already quite a dark color humor, Pekka Kuusisto estimates.

“But it also produces one of the most explosive parts of the symphony.”

In this way, the notation program reproduces the transition to music-inspired music. The most explosive point is not in this grip, because a real orchestra performance is needed to feel it.

How to stop the symphony when Jaakko Kuusisto did not write the end?

“I felt an opportunity or almost an obligation to make an end that would be happy for Jaako in some way,” says Pekka Kuusisto.

Thoughts turned to the brothers’ common moments at sea. As boaters know, the sea signs have exactly how different lights flicker in different directions with different rhythms.

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“The eastern Gulf of Finland is a place very familiar to Jaakko and me, where you can get from the archipelago to the open sea. I immortalized its sounds using, for example, the locations, distances, colors of lights and rhythms of flashing signs, beacons and lighthouses. ”

The color and height of the lights influenced the choice of tones, dynamics, and playing style. In the background, the engine of a large ship roars by means of a symphony orchestra.

“Skipper [kapellimestari] launches Coda’s flashing tunes in order from east to west and decides how long to listen to the night seascape. ”

The symphony ends when the captain and his boat reach the free span.

“It feels like a loving act.”

How notation such special solutions for symphony orchestra?

“By the way, I’m not so good with notation software that I can create a mark that looks like Jaakko,” says Pekka Kuusisto.

“That’s why I called To Jari Eskola. ”

Jaakko Kuusisto’s symphony begins with ominous and low tones until a bright piano brings contrast. Picture of the first score page.

Jari Eskola is the publishing manager of the music publishing house Fennica Gehrman, who in his spare time has helped many composers with notation programs as a score technician.

“Three years ago, Jaakko said that the symphony was coming and I promised to do the same as before, that is, to work as a sheet music graphic artist and editor of orchestral music.”

Pekka Kuusisto made a piano score from the supplementary parts, which also had a lot of instrumentation references. The rest he shared in joint sessions.

“So I was a notation assistant and orchestration partner when I knew how Jaakko met with notation programs. Pekka had a definite sense of what he wanted there and then we looked at the dynamics and the continuum. It was emotional, because at the same time all the good moments I experienced with Jaako came to mind. ”

The beginning of the second part of the symphony from nature and an excerpt from the finished score.

James Kuusisto dominated art and entertainment. In Eskola’s opinion, post-minimalism crept into the style in recent years, which Pekka Kuusisto’s supplementary work emphasized in addition to the familiar orchestral brilliance and cinematic progress.

But how was Pekka Kuusisto’s vision of turning the distances and rhythms of nautical signs and light flares into music notated?

“I’ve written clean too Leif Segerstamin [tahtiviivattomia] works, and the free-impulsive experience can be heard here too, using the best techniques of modern notation, ”says Eskola.

First public performance will be in Minneapolis on June 2 as part of Osmo Vänskä’s farewell concerts after successfully conducting the Minnesota Orchestra for 19 years.

Vänskä will leave the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra for his second orchestra in December after a three-year term. According to HS, long before Vänskä through the contradictions of the Seoul Philharmonic administration have not relaxed.

So now Vänskä also has more time for individual management visits – and at the same time for Jaakko Kuusisto’s symphony performances.

“I am leading the Finnish premiere in Oulu on November 3 in memory of Jaakko. I feel it is my duty when Maija Kuusisto, the curator of Oulu Symphony or Jaakko’s wife, asked for it. ”

Vänskä will also conduct the work in a concert by the Helsinki City Orchestra on December 8.

“This symphony is a terribly powerful work. There are clearly feelings of the limitations of life and emotions of sensitivity to wildly intense episodes, ”says Vänskä.

Conductor Jaakko Kuusisto conducted the national celebration of Finland’s 100th anniversary in Oulu in December 2017.

Jaakko Kuusisto

Jaakko Kuusisto during the completion of the Ice Opera in January 2019.

■ Born in Helsinki on January 17, 1974 and died at the age of 48 on February 23, 2022 in Oulu.

■ Internationally successful violin soloist and long-time concertmaster of Sinfonia Lahti. As a conductor, he worked as the principal guest of the Oulu Symphony and as the chief conductor of the Kuopio City Orchestra.

■ Key compositions such as the Violin Concerto, For lifeopera for Ilmajoki Music Festival and IceOpera for the National Opera.

■ Key orchestrations for example Iiro Rantalan piano concerto GismajAs as well as Apocalyptica cellists Eicca Toppisen and Perttu Kivilaakson Indigoopera, whose performances he conducted at the National Opera.

■ Artist professorship. Previously e.g. Member of the Arts Council and Chairman of the State Aid Reform Group.

Pekka Kuusiston Jaakko Kuusisto’s symphony will be premiered at the Minnesota Orchestra Concert on June 2 Osmo Vänskän under.

Read more: Musician Jaakko Kuusisto is dead

Read more: Talented, systematic, accurate and civilized – friends and colleagues remember Jaakko Kuusisto, who died on Wednesday

Correction May 23 at 9:16 p.m. Corrected spelling of the surname of composer Bryce Dessner. At first, it was the wrong form of Dressner.

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