Aino Konkka, Mezzo-soprano and Richard Black, piano
Sunday 21 June, 3pm
33 Albion Street
London SE16 7HZ
nearest station: Rotherhithe Overground Station (2 mins)
Music by Jean Sibelius, Selim Palmgren, Aarre Merikanto and Toivo Kuula
Midsummer is a magical time in Finland. Cities empty out and people retire to celebrations by the sea and the lakes. The day is at its longest, bonfires are lit and traditionally this is a time of magic spells to bring love and a good marriage. Midsummer brings to mind pictures of Finnish lakes and white nights, and echoes from the forests and the waterside. Join us to celebrate the longest day of the year with romantic songs and piano music from Finland.
The Finnish nature was a great source of inspiration to Finland’s greatest composer, Jean Sibelius (1865-1957). To celebrate his 150-year anniversary, we will perform some of his best loved miniature masterpieces.
Selim Palmgren (1878-1951) was a brilliant pianist and piano composer and was considered during his lifetime the most internationally significant Finnish composer after Sibelius. Sadly his works are less frequently performed today – but we have some gems to present.
Aarre Merikanto (1893-1958) created a unique modernist style in the 1920s, but after his opera Juha was silenced to death during his lifetime, he returned to a more traditional style of writing. We have picked songs to echo the forest and its magical creatures.
Toivo Kuula (1883-1918) wrote some of the most memorable Finnish solo songs, capturing the magic of the forest in his songs about nymphs and shepherds, and the melancholy brought by the shortness of the Finnish summer.
The poets of these texts include some of the most significant Finnish writers such as our national poet J. L. Runeberg.
Please join us for a rare chance to hear these songs on a special day of the Finnish calendar – the Midsummer.
The Finnish Church will be open from 10am to 8pm – there is a café and a kiosk full of Finnish goodies such as rye bread to take home. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try Finnish sauna for £6.00 (women’s shift 4.30-5.30pm, men’s shift 5.30-6.30pm on a Sunday).
Entry for the concert is free but there will be a voluntary retiring collection.