by Luukas Hiltunen

for mixed choir and symphony orchestra

Empty sheet

Luukas Hiltunen


Universal Edition


The underlying concept of Scintillation is an imaginary work for mixed choir and symphony orchestra, which Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) never composed to precede the main work of the opening concert of the 33rd Mikkeli Music Festival on 3rd August 2024, Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 (1824). Direct stylistic imitation rarely leads to a convincing result, which is why Scintillation consists of melodic-rhythmic motifs derived from the Ninth Symphony, although the music is tonal throughout.

Like Beethoven's symphony, Scintillation begins in silence. However, since it is an introductory work, there are no real long-term climaxes into which the growing intensity would be unleashed, both dynamically and musically – those will occur in the Beethoven symphony. Instead, the music progresses like a breath, always towards the next whole. Dickinson's poem, which in its content anticipates Schiller's Ode to Joy in describing the unquenchable joy and desire for life, proved to be central to the structure during the compositional process. The main theme of the poem's words 'Hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul', which appears three times in the work, is a reference to the symphony's hymn theme. Lightness is supported by the material surrounding the theme, which gently envelops the melodic whole. The second verse of the poem, 'And sweetest in the gale is heard', contains, true to the text, stormy climaxes, ending in a startling fortissimo dissonance in F–F-sharp before a halting, melancholy transition towards the atmosphere of the work's opening. However, there is no more powerful climax, and after the main theme's concluding statement, the music merges without pause into the opening measures of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.


2222 4200 10, str, chx (SATB)


Vocal and Choral Works, Works for Orchestra or Large Ensemble




Emily Dickinson


3rd August 2024 at Martti Talvela Hall, Mikaeli, Mikkeli, by Helsinki Philharmonic Choir and Saimaa Sinfonietta, conducted by Aliisa Neige Barriére

Commisioned by / dedications

Mikkeli Music Festival

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