"MUSIC" Finland Things to Do Tip by thinking

Finland Things to Do: 359 reviews and 405 photos

All Finnish musicans must contend with comparing themselves to their most famous composer.Sibelius.
But the reaction among younger composers, especially in the 1960s and '70s, was a vehement rejection of his romanticism in favor of avant-garde styles imported from elsewhere in Europe. Minimalism has never taken hold in Finland. There is no dominant style any more; instead, a lively pluralism can be heard on the record labels -Finlandia, Ondine, Alba, Bis and Naxos - that commonly release works by Finnish composers.
On three successive evenings last November, I attended top-notch performances of both Finnish and foreign music. A production of Mussorgsky's "Khovanshchina" at the Finnish National Opera may not have reached Metropolitan Opera standards. But since this piece requires as many as 200 performers on stage, the level of expertise was more than impressive.
Church services on weekends offer another chance to hear outstanding musicians. The Temppeliaukion, a church built into a mound of granite, attracts world-class organists to play its thunderous instrument. I attended a concert of contemporary music, and even when the string scrapings and percussive rustlings had our minds wandering, the fantastical subterranean setting held our attention.

Directions: Finally, at the Sibelius Academy, one of the top music schools in all of Europe, the academy holds dozens of well-attended events each year. Ticket prices everywhere are far below the levels prevailing in the United States and elsewhere in Europe.

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  • Written Jun 17, 2005
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