Avanti!’s spring season spotlights Karita Mattila

In spring 2017, Chamber Orchestra Avanti! treats the audience to a colourful selection of classical and contemporary music – without forgetting choice Baroque-era hits. The highlight of the season will be concert Kevään lumous (The Spell of Spring), with the dramatic soprano Karita Mattila dazzling in the lead. A premiere of a new orchestral piece by Lauri Kilpiö will open the concert.

Avanti!’s spring season comprises three concerts: in February Avanti! caps the festival Musica Nova by paying homage to György Ligeti; March will see the orchestra revisit the acclaimed concert Rite at Porvoo Cathedral; and the season will be wrapped up in May by casting the Spell of Spring.


The Spell of Spring


On the last Saturday of May, Helsinki Music Centre will play host to Avanti!’s anticipated end-of-season concert with the brilliant Karita Mattila. Mattila was catapulted to international attention in 1983 when she won the singing contest Cardiff Singer of the World. As chance would have it, Avanti! was founded the same year, and now the paths of these two veritable phenomena of Finnish music cross again with love and its many hues – longing, romance and joy – being unleashed in the late May evening.

The concert will open with the premiere of a new orchestral work by composer Lauri Kilpiö, one of the most interesting voices of his generation. The piece has been commissioned by Pro Musica Foundation, which also supports the concert.

The pieces to be performed by Mattila portrait the feelings of love and longing in the lightness of spring. French composer Henri Duparc’s songs are filled with elegant saudade and sensuality. The damsel in Jean Sibelius’s song ‘Flickan kom ifrån sin älsklings möte’ falls victim to an infidel lover. In Rydberg’s ‘På verandan vid havet’ the pregnant silence expresses omnipresent longing, whereas in ’Våren flyktar hastigt’ by Runeberg the mere memory of spring encourages to love.

Contentment of the heart shines through Robert Schumann’s symphony “Spring”, too: for the that time newly-wedded composer the season is swarming with tokens of romance.

Conductor Olari Elts.

NOTE: The concert program has changed. The information is updated on Jan 23th 2017.


Opening the Season in the Spirit of Ligeti

The first concert of the season will limelight Hungarian-born avant-garde composer György Ligeti and his musical heritage. The public will remember Ligeti’s music especially from the Stanley Kubrick films 2001: Space Odyssey and Eyes Wide Shut. The concert In the Spirit of Ligeti closes the festival Musica Nova and delves into the pervasive Ligetian influence in the works of his son and major students.

Lukas Ligeti’s piece ‘Curtain’ marries European modernism and African rhythms. Inspired by visual arts, the piece applies the technique of layering to music in a way that justifies comparisons to animation artist William Kentdrige. Ligeti paints on the melodic and harmonic canvas provided by the string quartet, creating an intriguing tension between the quartet and the larger ensemble.

“Thall” (Mask), the last part of Unsuk Chin’s cosmigimmicks, is a tribute to György Ligeti. In the centre of this musical pantomime is the guitar. Using only of a few repetitive microtones, the guitar plays a pseudo melody that changes according to the harmonies of other instruments – just like the expression on a mime artist’s face.

Benedict Mason, another important student of Ligeti’s, too, nods to his mentor in his piece “Hinterstoissener traverse”. By restricting itself to the use of only one note, g, this extremely minimalistic piece manages to direct its attention fully to the exploration of rhythm and dynamic.

The concert is a part of the festival Musica Nova and it will be conducted by Clement Power.


Avanti! Revisits the acclaimed Rite at Porvoo Cathedral

First performed in Helsinki’s Temppeliaukio church in April 2016, the much-lauded concert phenomenon Riitti (Rite) returns this spring. This time, Avanti! takes the theme concert to the atmospheric Porvoo Cathedral on 14 March. Rite brings together old and new music and takes advantage of the solemn space and peculiar acoustics of the church milieu.

Of well-known Baroque-era names the programme includes Henry Purcell’s ‘The Queen’s Funeral March’ and Marin Marais’s piece “Sonnerie de Ste-Geneviève du Mont de Paris”, familiar from the biopic All the Mornings of the World.

Here the title “rite” does not only refer to and describe the programme but the form of the whole concert, as well. From to the flamboyance of the Baroque and its well-known pearls, the concert takes us to the futuristic atmospheres of the 1900s, along with a number of rarely performed pieces from the 1950s. Rite will culminate in concerto “Tarinaoopperabaletti” (Story Opera Ballet) for electronic cello, commissioned from Jukka Tiensuu by soloist Juho Laitinen.

The concert is a part of the concert series Taidetehtaan Klassikot and it will be conducted by Lauri Ahokas.