Symphony No. 1

by Luukas Hiltunen

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Luukas Hiltunen

Symphony No. 1

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General concept of my Symphony No. 1 is a voyage. It is given a freedom to a listener to imagine an unique tale, although the integraled dramatic arc of the work is advocating a musical journey from darkness to light. Moreover, although there are three movements, the work should be understood as a one uninterrupted whole, separated in three progressive scenes.

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The opening movement, Andante espressivo, is full of tenderness, melancholiness and repressed grief, which are seeking for erupting but does not reach it. The chosen 5/4 is the time signature of the Karelian runic singing, emphasizing the already mentioned influences from the Finnish folk music and the importance of the genre’s long tradition. The main lonely melody is introduced by violas alone where cellos and second violins are joining as a canon. English Horn and flute have both significant solo passages, following by an ominous motto rhythm performed by harp and lower stringed instruments, violas, cellos, and double basses. Middle section features an aggressive march. After the recapitulation, an ethereal codetta is underlining a dominating uncertain feeling…

The following relatively short movement, Scherzo: Allegretto grazioso - Trio: Moderato assai e sempre espressivo, is in a traditional three-section form: Scherzo - Trio - repeating of Scherzo - Coda. After the flowing and lyrical opening, more furious section is appearing, featuring a hostile rhythmic pattern by a snare drum. Both sections are present also in the recapitulation in a slightly extended format. Usage of the flute piccolo in the coda is keeping an anxious feeling on the surface and preparing us for the grand finale.

The main core of the work, a musical journey from intense sadness to ultimate bliss and joy, is in the most perceptible form in the finale, to which the preceding movements have been preparations. At the very beginning contrabassoon is presenting alone the chromatic motto theme that will repeat within the movement three times, each time in a bit of a different context. A tone poem inside a symphony without any external source of inspiration, full of constantly developing themes and logical transitions between recognizable states of mind (motifs), metamorphosis. A victorious and affectionate hymn [an original composition, not an arrangement] brings the movement and the whole work to its end, underlining there are always Light and Love present, even in the most desperate and sinister situations.

The composing process started on 22th February 2019 and was finished on 26th June 2020. Urgent projects forced me to put the work aside once in a while, the most productive episodes occurred in the summers of 2019 and 2020. Working process was mostly inner, albeit Scherzo was sketched out in a detailed and careful manner. Melodic influences have been taken from the Finnish folk music tradition; the most audible section is the second Scherzo movement’s ‘Trio’ [the music does not make use of direct quotations from folk music, however].

The world premiere performance took place on 18th April 2022 in Järvenpää Hall given by Sinfonia Vivo, the National Youth Symphony Orchestra of Finland, under the baton of its Artistic Director Erkki Lasonpalo.



2323 4330 13 1, str [pic, ehn, cbsn]


Works for Orchestra or Large Ensemble


Sinfonia Vivo, Erkki Lasonpalo, dir.18th April 2022, Järvenpää Hall, Finland


I. Andante espressivo, II. Scherzo: Allegretto grazioso – Trio: Moderato assai e sempre espressivo, III. Finale: Andante sostenuto – Agitato – Largamente assai


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