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World premiere of the trio “Corpi celesti” by Finn Osmo Tapio Räihälä in Turku

On 3 October 2021, Osmo Tapio Räihälä’s “Corpi celesti” for flute, viola and harp will be premiered in Turku as part of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra’s chamber music series. The performers are members of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra: Päivi Severeid (harp), Livia Schweizer (flutes) and Sauli Kulmala (viola).

The composer has written an introductory text to this work in English:

“While writing my book ‘Why Is Contemporary Music So Difficult’ (Atena Publishing, 2021), I had to take a closer look at the complex Darmstadt avant-garde of the 1950’s and 60’s again. I have never aimed to write complex music for the sake of complexity, so I had to explain to myself how such abstruse music could become a part of the art music canon, as that same avant-garde killed the general public’s interest in contemporary art music. Wasn’t it supposed to be too difficult...?

Corpi celesti (‘Celestial Bodies’, 2020) for flutes, viola and harp is a reflection on that once so fashionable avant-garde, that nowadays feels so old-fashioned. And nothing is as painfully embarrassing as yesterday’s fashion.

The work lasting approx. 12 minutes is divided into four sections. The trip starts with I took a walk from Kranichstein... - which of course refers to the Jagdschloss where the Darmstädter Ferienkurse were started after WW2. It continues with ...and stopped by Erftstadt..., which was where the composer Bernd Alois Zimmermann was born. From there on we go to ...on my way to Oneglia... which was Luciano Berio’s hometown. The piece ends with an Epilogue.

Within these sections I rewrite the Darmstadt avant-garde in general, without serialism, and more specifically Zimmermann’s last work Stille und Umkehr, and Berio’s Sequenzas for the flute, the viola and the harp - naturally in my own musical language. Berio’s habit to use narrative elements within his music inevitably brought a recited text to my work, an excerpt from Giacomo Leopardi’s dialogues, where Fashion and Death discuss - because what is the avant-garde of today, must be dead tomorrow..

Corpi celesti was written with the support of Teosto Commission grants.

(Osmo Tapio Räihälä)

Fashion. Madam Death, Madam Death!
Death. Wait for your time, and I'll come when you don't want me. 
Fashion. Madam Death!
Death. Go to hell. I'll come when you don't want me.
Fashion. As if I weren't immortal.
Death. Immortal? More than a thousand years have passed since the time of the immortals.
Earth. Do you hear this delightful music, that the celestial bodies make with their movements?
Moon. To tell you the truth, I hear nothing.

(Giacomo Leopardi: Operette morali, 1824)


World premiere Osmo Tapio Räihälä
“Corpi celesti” for flute viola and harp
Päivi Severeide (harp), Livia Schweizer (flute), Sauli Kulmala (viola)
- As part of the chamber music series of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra - 


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