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Paavo Heininen died on 18 January 2022. His unparallel creativity and intellect will be greatly missed. Heininen was a prolific composer whose oeuvre ranges from solo pieces and chamber music to large-scale works such as the operas The Knife and The Damask Drum. He is also known for his valuable work as Professor of Composition at the Sibelius Academy.
Heininen's work as a symphonist was an essential part of his career. He composed two symphonies (Nos. 7 and 8) and several other pieces during recent years. Many of them have not been premiered yet such as the eight symphony which was to be his last. Heininen also wrote duos for every orchestral instrument and piano as well as six string quartets. His enthusiasm and passion were also directed to other forms of art, especially literature.

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Chamber music is probably the dearest musical form to the Finnish modernism’s grand old man Paavo Heininen (b. 1938). The 12-minute Divertimento was composed in the beginning of 2020, the instrumentation includes flute, percussion (2 players), piano and string trio.
Score 55011-572-9, € 15,50 Buy now

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Premiered in September 1979, DIA op. 36, with its wedge form "refers to the idea of an arrow pointing through the multidimensional musical space of the piece — the beginning of a trajectory crossing through all of it, visiting every point, but a trajectory free of any preordained form or curvature." The grand old man of Finnish Modernism Paavo Heininen (b. 1938) sees form as an idea of time and reflects it in one continuous movement with five distinct sections.
Study score: 55011-516-3, € 50,10 Buy now

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The grand old man of Finnish Modernism Paavo Heininen (b. 1938) turned his impressions of Boston into three violin sonatas.
Boston Sonata: 55011-500-2, € 32,30 Buy now
Boston Variations: 55011-501-9, € 32,30 Buy now
Boston Ballade: 55011-502-6, € 32,30 Buy now

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Each cycle in this Op. 104a consists of 12 etudes and a finale in a form of a set of variations. They can be programmed in combination with other pieces and as interludes between them. 
1st: 55011-469-2, € 24,90 Buy now
2nd: 55011-470-8, € 24,90 Buy now
3rd: 55011-471-5, € 24,90 Buy now
4th: 55011-472-2, € 24,90 Buy now

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Sonata for piccolo and piano, 55011-436-4, Buy now
Sonata for bassoon and piano, 55011-438-8, Buy now
Sonata for contrabassoon and piano, 55011-439-5, Buy now
Sonata for english horn and piano, 55011-437-1, Buy now
à € 25,70

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 Symphony No. 5
Finnish RSO, cond. Sakari Oramo
(YLE/Elävä arkisto)

Paavo Heininen

Paavo Heininen (1938-2022) was a composer, essayist, pianist and teacher. A highly revered figure in Finnish musical circles, he was known as a prolific composer of symphonies and other orchestral works, chamber music, vocal music and piano pieces. He also guided a generation of young composers as Professor of Composition at the Sibelius Academy during a teaching career of more than forty years.

His natural starting point was from the beginning modernism. According to him, there is no need to change direction since to him, modernism means being open to all the possibilities that exist. 

Vocal music was, however, perhaps closest to Heininen's heart because of his passion for texts: the marriage of word and music was, in his opinion, something unique, allowing the composer and the poet to express more together than they could ever do alone. Heininen composed two operas during the 1980s: Veitsi (The Knife, 1985-88) and Silkkirumpu (The Damask Drum, 1981-83).

Heininen's work list contains eight symphonies, dating from different stages in his career. According to him "the symphonies have been an important domain in my career, I might even say the main one". The fifth symphony was commissioned by the Finnish Broadcasting Company, and the sixth was premiered in 2015 by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. The Symphony No. 7 was premiered by the Finnish Radio Orchestra on 26. November 2021. The Symphony No. 8 has not been performed yet.

According to Heininen, composing for the stage vitally influenced the way he thought about the symphony. His ‘symphonies’, in the sense of a credo or a foray into new territory, have actually been the Adagio…concerto per orchestra in forma di variazioni… (1963/66) and DIA (1979), that is to say orchestral works that were generically classified as ‘concerto for orchestra’. The Damask Drum, subtitled ‘concerto for singers, players, words and images’ in fact has the same function, on an even greater scale and with weightier meaning. The most important work in Heininen’s catalogue in recent decades would in this sense be the oratorio Te Deum Creaturae (Opp. 92, 77, 93), the first half of which (Kaukametsä) was premiered by the Finnish RSO.

Heininen started exploring electro-acoustic music during the latter half of the 1970s. His key works from that period include the tape composition Maiandros (1977) and the orchestral Dia (1979). During the 1990s the stylistic spectrum expanded resulting in two "jazzy" works for big band (Wolfstock and Bookends, 1996-97).

The reconstructions of works by Aarre Merikanto, his former teacher, constitute a chapter in themselves in Heininen's output. In his violin concerto Tuuminki (A Notion1993) Heininen inhabits the world of Merikanto, and indeed the title continues with the words "of what might have been Aarre Merikanto's 3rd Violin Concerto". In the Flute Concerto Autrefois (2008/10) Leevi Madetoja serves as an approximate model. Autrefois was born of the essence of Madetoja, but his world has been allowed to expand a bit over the stylistic horizon of his day.

Paavo Heininen has also produced a wealth of instrumental and chamber music, among them string quartets, Discantus I for alto flute, Poesia squillante ed incandescente – Sonata per pianofortePiano Trio Op. 91 and Variations for organHe has also composed duos for every orchestral instrument and piano, sonatas for various instruments and several solo pieces for piano and organ. Some of his works cover an entire concert program, such as Mazurki for piano, the Finnish Song Book, Opus sylvanum (Palmgren Variations) and the Piano Etudes.

Heininen’s other orchestral works include e.g. the large Opus 66 (Music for Strings) containing a number of dance-like suites in 2-8 movements, Violin Concerto (1999), Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 4 (2004-05) and Organ Concerto Aiolos (2012-13) – a nine-movement, 90-minute offshoot of the Bruckner-Mahler tradition. One of the latest orchestral works is the Sinfonia Concertante de Camera Michaelmas (2018).

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