Music for "Old Europe"

by Olli Virtaperko

Empty sheet

Olli Virtaperko

Music for "Old Europe"

Music Finland


About the title:I composed Music for "Old Europe" during an intensive work period between January-April 2003. The title reflects the issues that occupied my mind during the time of that compositional process. When I was not writing music, I would switch tv or radio on and witness the cynical and profound preparation of a massive war operation for the sake of securing financial benefits of some of the world's riches countries. As the concepts of "old and new Europe" were introduced to public debate, I wanted to name my piece as a comment to that debate. As my home country politically neither represents "old" nor "new" Europe, I could choose my side without presumptions. The choice was, however, obvious and clear. Premiered at the very heart of Europe (Austria, Klangspuren Schwaz 2003 Festival), the piece serves as a homage for "Old Europe" and it values, which have made it possible for contemporary, creative arts to exist as independent form of expression. That's something worth naming a piece for, wouldn't it?About the music:Music for "Old Europe" is a piece for a 24-piece wind orchestra, supplied with a glockenspiel. The compositional approach for a wind orchestra is chamber musical. Every instrument has an independent part and there is a relatively small amount of dubblings involved in the writing - most of the time each instrument plays its independent part. This results a flow of music where gradual changes of harmony play an essential part. In this sense, the piece is counter pointal all the way through. Harmonically, the piece consists of two completely different kinds of "Satz" types; the first one belonging to modernistic, atonal, tradition and the second being modal in its nature. Creating a way to have a smooth transitions between these two totally different Satz types was the main structural concern in composing this piece.

This was realized by using roughly a structure of A-B-A, where "A" refers to atonal harmonic climate and "B" to modal harmony. In the modal passage the bassoon's and english horn's beautiful duet is accompanied by stable harmony from the rest of the ensemble. The duet, placed in the middle of the piece, utilizes and develops melodic motives introduced in the beginning. As the modal harmony is gradually changed back towards atonal texture, the melodic motives are treated in the boarder scale and used in counter pointal way. The finale is in a passacaglia form, the intensity being grown to the point where ending a piece becomes an obvious conclusion.

© Olli Virtaperko


3343 4331 01 0 [ehn, bcl, cbsn]


Works for Wind Orchestra

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Commissioned by Klangspuren Festival & Windkraft Tirol

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