Melartin, Errki


Melartin, Errki

Symphony No.6, op.100

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Erkki Gustav Melartin – Symphony No.6, op.100

(Born 7th February 1875 in Käkisalmi, Finland [today: Priosersk, Russia] – 14th February 1937, Pukinmäki)

Today Erkki Melartin belongs on the periphery of Finnish music. His works are dismissed as derivative and he himself as an imitator of Sibelius, Wagner and late Scriabin. Even by comparison with those of other Finnish composers, his works are seldom performed. This is due, not least, to the fact that many of his resounding successes have still not appeared in print and must be played from bad photographic reproductions of his handwritten scores.

During his lifetime, however, Melartin was greatly respected. He never had difficulty in getting his works performed and even conducted most of them himself. In 1910, he was granted the honour of contributing a work to Alexander Siloti’s concert series in St Petersburg, acting as second composer to Jean Sibelius (the planned work was the Third Symphony but then, as it was too long, he wrote Traumgesicht op. 70). In 1923 he conducted the Berlin Philharmonic, a role then considered to be a particular mark of recognition and springboard for a possible career in Germany.

Melartin was born in 1875 in Käkisalmi, which fell to Russia in the Second World War. Throughout his life his music kept its strong roots in the Karelian tradition. In general terms, he belonged to the generation of Selim Palmgren (1878-1951), Toivo Kuula (1883-1918), Ernest Pingout (1887-1942) and Leevi Madetoja (1887-1947. He studied first with Martin Wegelius (1846-1906), the founder of Helsinki‘s Institute of Music and teacher of Sibelius, Armas Järnefelt and the previously-mentioned composers Palmgren and Kuula . Later he went to Vienna, where he took lessons from Robert Fuchs (1847-1927) a well-known teacher who also taught Sibelius and Madetoja. Innumerable others, including Gustav Mahler, Alexander von Zelinsky, Hugo Wolf and Richard Strauss had already been students of Fuchs. He was celebrated as teacher, although as a composer his work was criticised and he himself attacked as an imitator of Brahms. A famous comment was, “Fuchs, you have stolen all of it.” From 1911, Melartin led the Helsinki Institute of Music, where he also taught Composition, Theory, History of Music and Piano. He held the post until 1936, the year before his death. Up to that point, the Institute had been called the Helsinki Conservatory and, from 1939, the Sibelius Academy. …

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Score No.



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210 x 297 mm