Geography, geology, wind and weather, legend and language: all play a role in shaping the artistic vocabulary of national identity, and none more so than the countries situated around the wild oceans of the Baltic, North, and Norwegian seas.
The best-known composers from this region have long held a cherished place in our concert halls. Edvard Grieg, Jean Sibelius, Carl Nielsen, and Arvo Pärt are among those who shaped our understanding of their varied cultures. Their music explores mysterious folklores, vast frozen land- and seascapes, spiritual beliefs, and turbulent histories.
In this 4-session course, popular speaker and concert pianist Rachel Franklin uses her unique live piano demonstrations and fascinating film clips to explore both well- and lesser-known masterpieces from the ancient nations of the North.
British-born Franklin has been a featured speaker for organizations including the Library of Congress and NPR, exploring intersections among classical and jazz music, film scores, and the fine arts.
February 14 Composers of Norway
Edvard Grieg is beloved for his stirring piano concerto and “Peer Gynt” suites. But what about his “Holberg Suite”, solo piano miniatures, violin sonatas–all imbued with unique national character. There is also wonderful Norwegian music to be explored by Christian Sinding, Johan Svendsen, Johan Halvorsen, and Ole Olsen.
February 21 Denmark’s Classical Heritage
Well south of Norway and Sweden, Denmark is small but mighty, with a more continental feel. Its composing heritage stretches back beyond the Baroque era and the work of one famed early master, Dieterich Buxtehude. We also explore delightful works by Niels Gade and Friedrich Kuhlau, before immersing ourselves in the vibrant, noble music of Carl Nielsen, in particular his Symphony No. 4, the “Inextinguishable.”
February 28 Finland: Lakes, Forests and Shore
Finland’s remote forested, lake-dotted landscapes have inspired centuries of legend and song, such as its national epic, the Kalevala. Works by Finnish composers January Sibelius and Einojuhani Rautavaara draw many themes from these rich sources. Enjoy Sibelius’ evocative “Pohjola’s Daughter” and study the fearsome political history underpinning his “Finlandia.” We also marvel at Rautavaara’s “Cantus Arcticus.”
March 7 Far Across Oceans: Iceland, Sweden, Estonia
A musical journey across 1500 miles begins in Iceland’s land of fire and ice. There, the most elemental forces of nature continue to inspire modern composers such as Anna Þorvaldsdóttir, and Hildur Guðnadóttir who scored the chilling series Chernobyl. Stopping in Sweden, enjoy the wonderful "Sinfonie Singulière" by Franz Berwald. The journey ends with the mesmerizing “Tabula Rasa” by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt.