Ladun hiihan laulajille

for string quartet, clarinet, accordion, and vocalist

(Audio coming soon.)

  • I. Hirvi (“The Elk”)
  • II. Tehtii kylvy kynttelilla (“We Planted by Candlelight”)
  • III. Aurinko ja kuu (“Sun and Moon”)

Duration: c. 25 minutes

Year of composition: 2017

Program Note:

Ladun hiihan laulajille was commissioned by Don and Maria Johnson to commemorate the centenary of Finnish independence. The piece is a celebration of the rich tradition of Finnish epic poetry; it sets texts collected in the 19th century in remote regions of Karelia and lngria. In preparation to write this piece, composer Conor Abbott Brown traveled to Finland. Finnish music, he discovered, is a vibrant and complex tapestry, resistant to generalizations.

Ladun hiihan lau/ajille does not attempt to paraphrase or quote Finnish music in an overt way; instead, it is grounded in Brown’s own musical style and sensibility. Inflections and motifs inspired by Finnish music are present but subtle. The piece, then, is a synthesis of Finnish culture, primarily via the texts, with Brown’s own cultural background, which is informed by broad influences from many folk and other musical traditions. The piece also pays homage to accordionist Hannu Rahikainen, with whom Brown studied Finnish folk music in Rovaniemi, Finland.

The texts, archived in the Suomen kansan vanhat runot, are credited to the following poets:

Prologue- Mishi Sissonen. Collected in 1845 in Suojarvi, North Karelia.

Hirvi – Aleksei Burushka and livana Ratinen Collected in 1847 in Suistamo, Ladoga Karelia.

Tehtii kylvy kynttelilla – Natelia Suijalta and Uljana Ruutsiasta. Collected between 1881-1883 in Soikkola, lngria.

Aurinko ja kuu – Natelia Suijalta. Collected in 1883 in Soikkola, lngria.