Virtaperko in Tampere Biennale: Music for ”Old Europe” & Skärgården

The Guards Band (Kaartin soittokunta) will perform the new 2022 revision of  Virtaperko’s wind orchestra work Music For ”Old Europe” in Tampere Biennale, 6 April 2022. The festival also features trio Superpluck playing Virtaperko’s virtuosic Skärgården.

Olli Virtaperko’s Music for ”Old Europe” was commissioned by the Klagspuren Schwaz festival in 2003, and the arrangement for symphonic band was completed three years later. For the forthcoming 2022 performances Virtaperko decided to made a revised edition of the score and parts, a process of which the composer provides some background thoughts:

”Music for ”Old Europe” was my first orchestral work, ambitious and bold in nature, as the composers’ first orchestral pieces tend to be. Though the work has been well received and regularly performed, I personally have always had the feeling that the potential of the piece might not have been fully realized, yet. As I learned that both The Guards Band and the Sibelius Academy Wind Orchestra class were to include the piece in their 2022 Spring season program, I took the piece on my desk and had a closer look at it. I soon realized that just by making the notation more clear in the terms of simplifying the rhythmic divisions (eg. re-writing the tuplet and other rhythmic divisions to show the beat) and making the score more detailed in the terms of articulation and dynamic indications the original musical ideas could come out more clearly. So, I redefined and fine-tuned all the score layout parameters (such as fonts and sizes), clarified the phrasing of rhythmic motives and added a massive amount of articulations marks and dynamics in the score. Having actively followed The Guards Band rehearsing period for the past week I’m pleased to see that this work has paid off. By merely updating the score and parts to meet the professional contemporary orchestral music publishing standards it has been possible to create conditions where the original musical ideas can florish, at last. This 19 year-long journey has been a good reminder for myself of the importance and necessity of providing conductor and musicians with all the musical information they need as a base for their interpretation. This is something that a young composer may not automatically come to think of, as was in my case.”

In addition to Music for ”Old Europe”, Tampere Biennale – the festival in which Virtaperko himself served as an artistic director 2011-2014 – also features trio Superpluck performing Virtaperko’s Skärgården, a polymetric virtuoso piece for guitar, kantele and harpsichord.

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Tampere Biennale (6-10 April 2022) introduces the most important phenomena in Finnish contemporary music: today’s leading composers and the latest compositions. Organised biennially since 1986, the festival was born out of the need to showcase music from living Finnish composers and encourage the audience to get acquainted with new music.