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Vocal and chorus works

Elegia

Composed: 2021-2022

Nominated by The Finnish Broadcasting Company to the 68th International Rostrum of Composers (2022), organized by The International Music Council

Soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano

Text: Katja Klami, adapted by Markku Klami

Movements:

1. Minä kuvittelin sinulle elämän (I imagined a life for you)

2. Hiipuen (Fading)

3. Palava maa (The burning earth)

Duration: ca. 12'

Commissioned by Tampere Biennale Festival with support from the Sibelius Fund

First performance: Tuiki Järvensivu, soprano, TampereRAW: Anna Angervo, violin, Maija Juuti, cello, Seppo Planman, flute, Janne Pesonen, clarinet, Ville Hautakangas, piano, visualization by Arttu Nieminen, Tampere Old Church, Tampere Biennale, Tampere, April 7, 2022

First public broadcast (radio broadcast of the concert on April 7, 2022): Tuiki Järvensivu, soprano, TampereRAW: Anna Angervo, violin, Maija Juuti, cello, Seppo Planman, flute, Janne Pesonen, clarinet, Ville Hautakangas, piano, YLE Radio 1, Finnish Broadcasting Company, April 13, 2022

Elegia: teoskommentti

Elegia syntyi Tampere Biennalen tilauksesta. Tilaajan toiveena oli, että teoksen aihepiiri liittyisi ihmiskohtaloihin. Mielenkiintoni kohdistui erilaisiin ihmiskohtaloihin niin henkilökohtaisella kuin globaalillakin tasolla.

Elegian ensimmäinen osa Minä kuvittelin sinulle elämän keskittyy tahattoman lapsettomuuden herättämiin ajatuksiin ja tunteisiin. Kaipaus, suru, toivo ja haikeus yhdistyy ajoittaisiin tunnekuohuihin: Miksi tämä tuska tuli kohdallemme? Voisiko toiveemme vielä toteutua? Saisimmeko olla osallisena uuden elämän ihmeessä, ja seurata elämän kasvua ja kehitystä? Näitä ja monia muita ajatuksia varmasti jokainen tahattomasta lapsettomuudesta kärsivä tulee pohtineeksi.

Toisessa osassa Hiipuen musiikki jähmettyy hitaisiin ja viipyilevin, toisinaan rikkoutuviin sointeihin. Osan teksti keskittyy omaishoitajuuden kokemuksiin ja ristiriitaisiin tuntemuksiin, joita läheisen henkilön hiipuminen muistisairauden runtelemana aiheuttaa. Toisen ihmisen persoonan hiipuminen vähitellen pois tuottaa suurta tuskaa. Häämöttävä kuolema voi siksi näyttäytyä myös vapauttavana päätöksenä pois kuihtumiselle.

Viimeisen osan, Palava maa, lyhyt ja ytimekäs, toteava teksti vie vääjäämättömästi etenevän ilmaston- muutoksen ja globaalien konfliktien keskelle. Mikä saa yksittäiset ihmiset ja laajemmatkin yhteisöt toimimaan tavoilla, jotka murentavat rauhallisen ja turvallisen elämän sekä kestävän tulevaisuuden edellytyksiä? Näiden valtavien kysymysten edessä kokee usein voimattomuutta ja omat, henkilökohtaisen elämän vaikutusmahdollisuudet tuntuvat pieniltä, jopa mitättömiltä. Suurta murrosta joutuu ikään kuin seuraamaan sivusta.

Elegia on sävelletty Suomen Säveltäjien Sibelius-rahaston tuella. Haluan kiittää lämpimästi puolisoani Katjaa koskettavista teksteistä, Tampere Biennalea tilauksesta ja Sibelius-rahastoa tilauksen tukemisesta sekä teokseni kantaesittäneitä muusikoita upeasta yhteistyöstä.

Elegia: work commentary by the composer, translated by Susan Sinisalo

Elegia (Elegy) was commissioned by the Tampere Biennale festival. The commissioner's wish was that the texts in my work would focus on human destinies. Inspired by this desire, my interest focused on human destinies at both personal and global levels.

The first movement, I imagined a life for you, concentrates on the thoughts and feelings aroused by involuntary childlessness. Longing, grief, hope and sadness merge from time to time with emotional turmoil: Why us? Could our dream still come true? Might we take part in the miracle of a new life, and follow the growth and development of that life? These and many other thoughts must surely face anyone suffering from involuntary childlessness.

In the second movement, Fading, the music solidifies into slow, lingering and at times crumbling timbres. The words focus on the experiences and conflicting emotions engendered in the sole caregiver by the decline of a dear one ravaged by senile decay. The gradual decline of another's personality causes great anguish. Impending death may therefore also appear to be a liberating end to that person's demise.

The short, laconic text of the last movement, The burning earth, strikes to the very heart of the inexorable advance of climate change and global conflicts. What makes individuals and even large communities act in ways that erode the prerequisites for a safe and peaceful life and a sustainable future? Faced with these huge questions, we often feel helpless, and in our own personal lives the chances of influencing seem small, even negligible. We are obliged to observe the great change as mere bystanders, as it were.

Elegy was composed with a grant from the Sibelius Fund of The Society of Finnish Composers. I warmly thank my wife, Katja, for her moving poems, the Tampere Biennale for its commission, the Sibelius Fund for its support, and the musicians who premiered my work for their magnificent collaboration.

into the deep peace

Composed: 2021

Mixed choir a cappella (SSAATTBB)

Text: John Muir (selections from 'My First Summer in the Sierra', adapted by Markku Klami)

Duration: ca. 13'

Commissioned by Audite Chamber Choir for their 30th anniversary, with support from Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation

First performance: Audite Chamber Choir, cond. Jani Sivén, 30th Anniversary tour of Audite Chamber Choir, light design by Marianne Lagus, Old Academy Building, Turku, November 12, 2022. Further performances during spring of 2023 in Tampere, Jyväskylä and Helsinki

First public broadcast (radio broadcast of the concert on March 10, 2023): Audite Chamber Choir, cond. Jani Sivén, YLE Radio 1, Finnish Broadcasting Company, March 17, 2023

into the deep peace: Work commentary by the composer

into the deep peace is based on selections of texts from John Muir's 1869 travel memoir My First Summer in the Sierra, published in 1911. into the deep peace was commissioned by Audite Chamber Choir for their 30th anniversary, and is dedicated to them and their conductor, Jani Sivén.

The commissioner's wish was that the music would focus on a nature-related theme. This was a pleasant starting point for me, as nature in particular has for long played an ever-increasing role as a source of ideas for me. Almost immediately I decided to set the music to texts inspired by the diverse nature of the State of California. It didn't take me long to think of writings by John Muir. While reading his travel memoir My First Summer in the Sierra, a series of fond memories of my honeymoon trip to California and Nevada in October 2018 came to my mind.

In the midst of ever-increasing rush and disruptions of the way of life in the Western culture, my wife and I managed to completely detach ourselves from the exhausting everyday life and enjoy each other's company in the vivid pulse of the big cities and intoxicating peace of the nature. The vastness and endlessness of the Pacific Ocean, the wilderness of the sun-burned deserts, the canyon scenery and the mountains of the Sierra Nevada impressed me forever.

My perhaps clichéd experience of feeling very small affected me strongly in the Giant forest of the Sequoia National Park, near to the southern end of Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. This rather small area of around 1880 acres is the home to five of the world's ten largest trees. The famous inhabitants of the forest, the Giant sequoias, are among the oldest surviving trees on earth. While wandering around the Giant forest and standing at the foot of these trees, which reach up to the heights of a 14-story building, time disappeared.

I felt as if these old giants were peacefully watching us in their sanctuary almost two kilometers above the sea level. The experience was tremendous, and absolutely sacred. These giants have survived many ordeals during their lives spanning over 3000 years, and they may well continue to live for another 1000 years, if we people allow them to do so.

into the deep peace is my humble tribute to the nature, its endless diversity and beauty – a terrestrial eternity, as John Muir so aptly writes in his travel memoir.

The title of the work is derived from a sentence in Muir's travel memoir, dated July 11, 1869: ”Sauntered up the meadow about sundown, out of sight of camp and sheep and all human mark, into the deep peace of the solemn old woods, everything glowing with Heaven’s unquenchable enthusiasm.”

Oi surkaa

Composed: 2010

8-part vocal ensemble or choir a cappella (SSAATTBB)

Text: Poem by Risto Oikarinen

Duration: 3'30"

First performance: Vocal ensemble of Helsinki Chamber Choir, cond. Eric-Olof Söderström, Concert hall of Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, December 5, 2010

night signal

Composed: 2009

Male choir a cappella divided in four groups (TTBB TTBB TTBB TTBB)

Phonetic text (by the composer)

Duration: ca. 3'

Commissioned by the Polytech Choir

First performance: Polytech Choir, cond. Juha Kuivanen, The 5th International Leevi Madetoja Male Voice Choir Competition, Tapiola Church, Espoo, April 16, 2010

Premiere recording: "Kuunteletko sinä", The Polytech Choir, cond. Juha Kuivanen (2013). The album received the Vocal Album of the Year Award in 2014, given by the Society of Finnish Choir Conductors and Sulasol Society.

Listen to night signal on:

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night signal: review of the album Kuunteletko sinä by the Polytech Choir

Klami has not included any text in his miniature night signal: the succinct, captivating work replaces lyrics with the vocal variations and the use of overtones.

– Lauri Kilpiö, Suomen Kuvalehti

night signal: levyarvostelu Polyteknikkojen kuoron levystä Kuunteletko sinä

 

Markku Klami taas ei miniatyyriinsä night signal ole ottanut tekstiä lainkaan: ytimekkäässä, kuulaan vangitsevassa teoksessa sanojen virkaa toimittavat vokaalien vaihtelut.

– Lauri Kilpiö, Suomen Kuvalehti

eikä merta enää ole

Composed: 2007

Boys' choir a cappella (SSAATTBB). May also be performed by a mixed choir

Text: Revelation 21: 1-4 (in Finnish)

Duration: 7'

Commissioned by Chorus Cathedralis Iuniorum for their 20th anniversary

First performance: Chorus Cathedralis Iuniorum, cond. Heikki Rainio, Turku Cathedral, Turku, September 15, 2007

First performance outside Finland: Dufay Ensemble, cond. Wolfgang Fulda, Würtzburg and Nürnberg, Germany, April 17 & 18, 2010

eikä merta enää ole: concert review in English

 

Markku Klami, whose career as a composer is well on its way, has himself sung in Chorus Cathedralis Iuniorum at a young age. eikä merta enää ole is a demanding work for young singers. The motifs of minor and major seconds that bubble over the pedal point at the beginning burst into a smoothly flowing harmonic texture that, despite its chromaticity, remains very airy and clear-sounding.

 

The bass and soprano voices are often situated quite far apart, which poses challenges in terms of intonation and balance. In spite of some uncertain moments, the choir survived the performance with honor. Klami's work is a great addition to the contemporary music repertoire for boys' choir.

 

– Timo Lehtovaara, concert review in Turun Sanomat, September 2007

 

eikä merta enää ole: konserttiarvostelu suomeksi

 

Säveltäjänä hyvässä nousussa oleva Markku Klami on nuorempana itsekin laulanut CCI:n riveissä. eikä merta enää ole on vaativa teos nuorille laulajille. Alun urkupisteen päällä kuplivat sekuntimotiivit puhkeavat vuolaasti virtailevaksi harmoniakudokseksi, joka kromaattisuudesta huolimatta säilyy hyvin ilmavana ja kuulaasti soivana.

 

Basso ja sopraano kulkevat usein melko kaukana toisistaan, mikä antaa haasteita virityksen ja balanssin suhteen. Joistain epävarmoista hetkistä huolimatta kuoro selviytyi teoksesta kunnialla. Klamin teos on oiva lisä aikamme musiikkia poikakuorojen ohjelmistoon.

 

– Timo Lehtovaara, konserttiarvostelu Turun Sanomissa, syyskuu 2007

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