Ernest Pingoud


"Pingoud was an outstanding phenomenon in Finnish music. In the 1920s and 1930s there was scarcely a composer in Finland who did not write a single work on a theme taken from the national epic, the Kalevala, who did not attempt even a suggestion of a folk song arrangement and who, when the need to compose something in more popular vein came over him wrote shimmies and foxtrots under a pseudonym. In his writings he took exception to narrow national strivings. When, in addition to all this, Pingoud had the effrontery to make cautious criticism of Sibelius his idealistic views were not always welcome. He was a cosmopolitan in Finnish music as a result of which he was to some extent held at a distance.

As Manager of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra he was in a delicate position as regards the Finnish works selected for performance, and it was problems such as these which, presumably, ultimately put an end to the plan of Pingoud, Väino Raitio and Aarre Merikanto to hold a joint concert of their works in 1924. After Pingoud’s death, his works for a time fell into more or less complete oblivion, a quite unreasonable state of affairs. For as a composer he deserves to take his lace as an equal member of the Finnish modernist trio of the 1920s, and through his writings he enriched Finnish culture with his burning European and universal visions."

- Erkki Salmenhaara



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