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Erkki Melartin

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Erkki Melartin (February 2, 1875–February 14, 1937) was a Finnish composer and pupil of Martin Wegelius from 1892-99 in Helsinki, and Robert Fuchs from 1899-1901 in Vienna. Interestingly enough, he shares identical birth and death years with more famous composer Maurice Ravel.

As well as composing, Melartin also taught and directed music at the Helsinki Music College, later the Helsinki Conservatory. As conductor of the Viborg Orchestra in 1908-11, and despite chronic health problems, Melartin toured extensively (as far as North Africa and India), conducting the first performance of Gustav Mahler’s music in Scandinavia, a movement of the Resurrection symphony in 1909 (see the Finnish Music Information Centre link, [1].)

Although Melartin was chiefly a lyricist, the symphony was central to his musical output. He wrote six symphonies (1902–1924) and was the first Finnish composer to bear Mahler’s influence. The fourth symphony uses a vocalise like that of Carl Nielsen’s Sinfonia Espansiva. The fifth is a Sinfonia brevis ending in a fugue and chorale, while the sixth, harmonically more advanced than the other five, advances stepwise from a C minor first movement — with evocations of Mahler’s seventh symphony — to an E-flat major finale.

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  • CosmicPi

    A shame how empty this shoutbox is. Melartin was a great composer.

    13 Nov 2013 Reply

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