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Works

  • String Quartet No. 1 ‘Verso l’interno’ (2007)

    Duration: 17’
    Commissioned by the Bellosio String Quartet
    World premiere 4 November 2007, Raahe Classica Festival, by the Bellosio String Quartet.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    The String Quartet Nr.1, commissioned by the Bellosio String Quartet, consists of six movements. The structure of the piece is spiraling around the fourth movement. This melodical and fragile movement forms the center of the piece where the musical nucleus of the string quartet is presented. The bigger the distance is to the core of the piece, the more distant and transformed the material becomes. The fast movements; two, three and five are framing the slow fourth movement, and they are surrounded by a prologue and a epilogue.

    The String Quartet was premiered by the Bellosio String Quartet at the Brahe Classica- festival in Finland on the 4:th of November 2007.

    The String Quartet was composed with generous support from the Finnish Arts Council.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Licht im Licht (2007)

    (Fantasia after Brahms: “Variationen über ein Thema von Joseph Haydn, opus 56”)

    for piano

    Duration: 8’
    Commissioned by Risto-Matti Marin.
    World premiere 13 September 2007, Helsinki, by Risto-Matti Marin.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

  • Cadenza (2006)

    for clarinet (and an instrument with low range)

    Duration: 5’
    World premiere 05 July 2006, Korsholm Music Festival, by Christoffer Sundqvist

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    My collaboration with clarinetist Christoffer Sundqvist resulted in 2006 in a Concerto for clarinet and orchestra. Christoffer’s brilliant, open-minded and virtuotic musicianship served to a great extent as a source of inspiration and left its mark on the musical characters in the concerto.

    After the premiere of the clarinet concerto, the concerto’s solo cadence began to ‘live a life of its own’ as a separate work. In this wild piece, all the musical materials that are presented in the clarinet concerto co-exist in a compressed form. The clarinet is accompanied by a low drone- tone that can be played by any suitable low range instrument and the piece has over the years been performed with numerous instrument combinations.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Breathe (2005/06)

    for clarinet, accordion and violoncello

    Duration: 13’
    Commissioned by the Plus Ensemble.
    World premiere 24 April 2006, Turku, by Plus Ensemble.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

  • Recordanza (2005)

    for tenor recorder

    Duration: 7’
    Commissioned by Sunniva Fagerlund
    World premiere 29 June 2006, Hamburg, by Sunniva Fagerlund

    Publisher: Edition Peters

  • Clarinet Quintet (2004)

    Duration: 11’

    Instrumentation: Cl – 2 vlns. – vla. – vc.
    Commissioned by Nauvo Chamber Music Days.
    World premiere 4 July 2004, Nauvo Chamber Music Days, by Outi Heiskanen (clarinet) and festival musicians.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    I started composing the Clarinet Quintet in spring 2004. This season marked by big changes from dark to light, slumber to  frantic activity to some extent also left  ​​its mark in the music.

    The focus of the one-movement work is gracefully flowing chamber music events where different materials with different characters are presented, developed and changed. Under the various musical flows a shadow of the classical sonata form is present. It should be added that it is mainly the case of a reference to a sonata form. The exposition and the development of the musical material is followed, for example, not by an exact replay of the exposition. The replay is rather a return to the original materials which then again continues to evolve. The Clarinet Quintet was commissioned by Nauvo Chamber Music Days.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Environs (2003)

    for organ

    Duration: 8’
    Commissioned by Pargas Organ Festival
    World premiere 24 June 2003, Pargas Organ Festival, by Markus Wargh.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

  • Reminiscence (2003)

    for violin

    Duration: 7’
    Commissioned by Simo Vuoristo
    World premiere 7 March 2004, Forssa, by Simo Vuoristo.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    The piece for solo violin is in a way a reflection of different aspects of both my relationship to my own main instrument the violin, but also a reflection of my relationship to the works for solo violin by earlier composers.  In the opening sequence of the piece different musical material is presented. Gradually the different characters start to develop and interact. The events grow larger and more expressive and culminate with a return to a version of the original musical statement presented in the beginning. The culmination of the piece is followed by a calm, meditative sequence which in the end of the piece melts into a quotation by Bach.  The piece was commissioned by violinist Simo Vuoristo with whom I studied violin in the 1980s and 1990s.

    Sebastian Fagerlund


  • Short Stories (2002/08)

    6 miniatures for saxophone quartet

    Duration: 11’
    Commissioned by the Finnish Saxophone Quartet
    World premiere at the Sibelius Weeks Festival 2002, by the Finnish Saxophone Quartet

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    The piece for saxophone quartet consists of 6 miniatures wich are linked to each other. The inspiration for the composition has been short films with their often suprising and sometimes fast structural cuts. The piece was comissioned by the Finnish Saxophone Quartet and premiered in Järvenpää at the Sibelius Weeks- festival 2002

    Sebastian Fagerlund


  • Ground (2000)

    for alto saxophone

    Duration: 7’
    Commissioned by Olli- Pekka Tuomisalo
    World premiere 27 May 2000, Helsinki, by Olli-Pekka Tuomisalo.

    Publisher: Uusinta Publishing Company

    The startingpoint for the composition has been a musical gesture and its different possibilities of development in a piece written for a soloinstrument. The gesture functions as a form of a base from wich events with different caracters emerge.

    The piece is dedicated to the Finnish saxofonist Olli- Pekka Tuomisalo.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Flow (1999)

    for clarinet solo

    Duration: 4’
    World premiere 10 September 2000, Helsinki, by Kimmo Leppälä

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    Flow could be described as music making that has been momentarily set free, the flow of sound from the solo clarinet capturing various moods from hectic to gently humorous.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Helena´s Song (2023)

    for Solo Violin and Symphony Orchestra

    Based on themes from opera “Autumn Sonata”

    Duration: 23’

    Orchestration: Violin solo,- 3.3.3.3- 4.3.3.1- 3 perc.-timp.- Pno.- hp.- strings

    Commissioned by Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

    World premiere 13 October 2023 by Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Storgårds.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    Sebastian Fagerlund (b. 1972) was moved to write Helenas Song for violin and orchestra (2023) by that character’s aria in Act II of his opera Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata, Helsinki 2017), and it was commissioned jointly by the FRSO and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. Says Fagerlund of his work: “The most important scene in the opera is, for me, in Act II, when Helena, who until then has been mute, stands up and starts telling of her experience. I’m really pleased with this scene; it became strong and beautiful, and I’d been thinking for a long time of making it the basis for a work for solo violin and orchestra. John Storgårds, who conducted the premiere of the opera, immediately jumped at the idea.”

    Helenas Song is clearly a work in its own right. “At the beginning, the solo violin has a couple of phrases from Helena’s song in the opera, but it then goes off in new directions. It’s like a Stilleben – a still life; the main characters are absent but Helena’s emotions are present. Without words, it’s possible to enter even deeper into Helena’s mindscape.”

    Helenas Song adds a new dimension to Fagerlund’s works with a soloist. Generically, it harks back to a format much favoured in the Romantic era, but there are also examples in, say, Lutosławski’s Chain II (1984–1985) and Partita (1988), both for violin and orchestra. Cast in the role of both soloist and conductor tonight is John Storgårds. Considering that the piece is such a moving scene from an opera, it seems most appropriate for a single musician to crystallise Helena’s emotions.

    Kimmo Korhonen

  • Arcantio (2023)

    Concerto for Double Bass and Chamber Orchestra

    Duration: 20’

    Orchestration: Double Bass solo- 1.1.1.1- 1.0.0.0- Pno.- strings

    Commissioned by Niek de Groot and Lapland Chamber Orchestra.

    World premiere 16 November 2023 by Lapland Chamber Orchestra and Niek de Groot conducted by John Storgårds.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    When I set out to compose a Double Bass Concerto for Niek de Groot, I had in mind a musical atmosphere that would feel like it emerged from some distant archaic time. The concerto structured as a series of variations, begins with a low melody on the double bass. Throughout the concerto the soloist constantly guides the orchestra towards new situations, at times a virtuoso, at times a meditator in a trance. The work is dedicated to Niek de Groot.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Lanterna (2023)

    Seven Settings for Violin, Violoncello, Piano and Symphony Orchestra

    Duration: 23’

    Orchestration: Violin solo, Violoncello solo, Piano solo- 2.2.2.2- 2.2.0.0- perc.-timp.- hp.- strings

    Commissioned by Residentie Orkest The Hague, Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, Kuopio Symphony Orchestra and the Storioni Trio.

    World premiere 5 October 2023 by Turku Philharmonic Orchestra and Storioni Trio conducted by Jac van Steen.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

  • Terral (2021)

    Concerto for flute and orchestra

    Duration: 25’
    Orchestration: Flute solo – 1.1.1.1 – 2.0.0.0 – perc. – hp. – pf. – strings
    Commissioned by the Tapiola Sinfonietta and Sharon Bezaly.
    World premiere 24 September 2021 in Espoo, Finland by Sharon Bezaly (flute) and Tapiola Sinfonietta conducted by Ryan Bancroft.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    Since the Violin Concerto ”Darkness in Light”, which was completed in 2012, Sebastian Fagerlund has given all his concert works titles. These titles almost always refer to the atmosphere and the sound world of the works rather than being specifically programmatic or descriptive.

    So what can we expect of the new flute concerto (2020-21) called ‘Terral’?

     “The word ’Terral’ brings to mind the earth and ground, but it’s also the name for the warm desert wind that occurs in southern Europe,” Fagerlund says. “The name came to mind along with the shaping of the work’s soundworld. I thought of the material’s imagery, in which the soil or sand reveals new surfaces in the wind. It’s about constant change.”

    Fagerlund’s previous concerto was a nearly 40-minute cello concerto ”Nomade” (2018) for large symphonic forces. In this new flute concerto, he wanted to approach the composition from a different perspective, consciously using a smaller ensemble, which suited the main commissioning orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, well. The essential inspiration was also the flutist Sharon Bezaly, at whose request the work was born. According to Fagerlund, Bezaly’s wonderful sound and musicianship influenced the work:

    “We were in frequent contact during the compositional process, and I sent her occasional sketches that we looked at, for example, the small glissands and ‘inflections’ which are more limited on the flute than on the clarinet.”

    According to Fagerlund, the flute concerto represents a step forward in his production in terms of melody. It is also more tonally emphasized in harmony than his earlier works, although it does not follow the paths of traditional harmony. The sounding image is translucent and airy, as you would expect from a work related to the wind, and there are also fast “wind-like” gestures in the orchestra.

    The concerto consists of three movements. The opening movement begins as a slow painting, in which the soloist initially uses an alto flute. The long canon of the strings, starting from the bass, contains the DNA of the musical material and also anticipates the main subject of the third movement. In the middle of the first movement is a more lively, fast- paced episode, which in turn anticipates the second part, from which the expression returns to the slower mood of the beginning.

    The middle movement is a scherzo-like, lively dialogue between the soloist and orchestra. At the end of the movement, the mood stabilizes and leads uninterruptedly to the third movement, where the previous materials and dimensions of the work are combined and which are further complemented by the cadence of the flute. In the background of the third movement a traditional passacaglia structure can be detected.

    Kimmo Korhonen (Translation Edition Peters)


  • Nomade (2018)

    Concerto for violoncello and orchestra

    Duration: 38’
    Orchestration: Violoncello solo – 2.2.3.3 – 2.2.1.1 – timp. – perc.(3) – pf. – hp. – strings
    Commissioned by NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

    World premiere 15 February 2019 at Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg by Nicolas Altstaedt and NDR Symphony Orchestra cond. by Hannu Lintu.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    Watch & Listen in Yle Arena

    The name of my Cello Concerto, Nomade, refers in an abstract way to searching and motion. The concerto begins with an expressive upward moving motif in the orchestral material which is a kind of harmonic-melodic DNA which permeates the entire work. The solo cello tries in its constant movement and search to reach this throughout the course of the piece but it is not until the Fourth Movement that the musical nucleus of the DNA is ultimately revealed.

     The concerto consists of six movements. The First Movement could be described as aphoristic in its musical character. The Second Movement gradually evolves into a duel between the orchestra and soloist. This movement is followed by an Intermezzo that leads to the Third Movement, a short and intense scherzo, where the harmony from the previous Intermezzo returns and interrupts the playful musical events. The solo cello alone begins the Fourth Movement with more and more instruments gradually joining in a gently swaying translucent sound world that alludes to both baroque and folk music. A Second Intermezzo leads to the Fifth Movement which is actually a cadence where the soloist also has the opportunity to improvise. The cadence leads us to the wild, ritualistic and fast Sixth Movement. The musical events are characterized by strong contrasts, which is also evidenced by the solo cello’s climb all the way to high C5 and later descending down to F sharp under the instrument’s low C. At the end of the work, the harmonic-melodic DNA takes shape one last time but then fades out, as a colour dissolving in liquid.

     The work is dedicated to Nicolas Altstaedt whose collaboration on this composition has left its mark. Nicolas’ profound and insightful musicianship has been immensely inspiring and at the same time the (in some way human) character of the cello came to remind me that our search never really ends: We are all nomads in one way or another.

    Nomade was commissioned by the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

    The World Premiere took place on the 15.2.2019 at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany by the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and soloist Nicolas Altstaedt conducted by Hannu Lintu.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Mana (2014)

    Concerto for bassoon and orchestra

    Duration: 19’
    Orchestration: Bassoon solo – 2.2.2.2 – 2.2.2.1 – timp. – perc.(2) – pf. – strings
    Commissioned by the Borletti Buitoni Trust, Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.
    World premiere 6 December 2014 in Lahti by Bram van Sambeek (bassoon) and Lahti Symphony Orchestra cond. by Okko Kamu.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

  • Silent Words (2013)

    Duration: 12’
    Orchestration: Violoncello solo and string orchestra
    Commissioned by the XII Turku Cello Competition.
    World premiere 21 February 2014, Turku Cello Competition, by finalists from the competition and Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. by Jan Söderblom.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

  • Transit (2013)

    concerto for guitar and orchestra

    Duration: 24’
    Orchestration: Guitar solo – 2.2.2.2 – 2.2.1.0 – perc.(3) – hp. – strings
    Commissioned by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
    World premiere 25 October 2013 in Helsinki by Ismo Eskelinen (guit.) and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. by Sakari Oramo.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    Watch & listen in Yle Arena

    Fagerlund says that the title Transit has no particular programmatic background. In the composer’s mind the word is associated with the way the material recurs and is transformed throughout the work, as if in a spiral. Fagerlund identifies three central elements in the piece: a descending line that appears not only thematically but also in condensing harmonies; arpeggio-like material that is typical for the guitar but can also be heard on other instruments; and a syncopated, rhythmically characteristic idea. The participation of the guitar means that the work is quieter and more transparent in expression than is usual in Fagerlund’s compositions.

    Transit has six movements that are played without a break and, in terms of overall form, create a broad, heterogeneous arch. The work’s structural descending line appears straight away in the opening bars of the first movement. At first the music is coloured by a delicately transparent, almost pointillistic sonority, but events gather pace as the movement progresses, and the guitar engages in sometimes intense dialogue with the orchestra. The second movement is dominated by a mood of expectation, and the guitarist has the opportunity to improvise a brief cadenza above a background of sustained notes from the strings. In the third movement a thinned down and extended version of the descending motif is heard from the strings. The mood of the movement intensifies and leads to a powerful orchestral climax. The rhythms are more sharply angular and accented in the fourth movement, in which the guitarist also has percussive effects. The motion starts to level out in the fifth movement, leading to the meditative final movement. At the end of the piece the guitar’s true nature is revealed, as the descending line and arpeggio material are fused together.

    Kimmo Korhonen (Translation Andrew Barnett)

  • Violin Concerto ‘Darkness in Light’ (2012)

    Duration: 28’
    Orchestration: Violin solo – 3.3.3.3 – 4.3.3.1 – timp. – perc.(3) – hp. – pf. – strings
    Commissioned by Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra.
    World premiere 6 September 2012 in Tampere by Pekka Kuusisto (violin) and Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra cond. by Hannu Lintu.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    Sebastian Fagerlund, born in Finland in 1972, is one of the spiritual post-modernist composers who, with their orchestral works, explore the modes of being that are found in the 21st-century world. These composers are receptive ‘earwitnesses’ to modern culture, sculpting our existential experiences into a sounding shape. Fagerlund’s music is characterized by incessantly flowing, layered soundscapes, in which forceful, angular figures and static, brooding motifs trace out strong lines or exist as independent blocks. This results in the impression of inexorable processes, natural or mechanical, indifferent to those who find themselves at the centre of the events.

    His compositions are often shaped like journeys into the inner being, in the course of which we encounter unknown forces, Kafkaesque nightmares and austere contemplations, destructive maelstroms and regenerating tissue. His style can be characterized as ‘magic realism’: elements of surreality are combined with factual narrative. Beneath the surface we perceive a continuous feeling of transformation.  

    By drawing upon the symphony orchestra’s spectrum of colours and extreme range, his music reflects not only the traditions of impressionism, modernism and post-minimalism but also a good ear for timbre-oriented musical genres, from cool jazz to ambient music. Likewise the composer takes into account the more physical elements of music: the beat and the decibel count. We hear incessant motifs, machine-like rhythmic figures and violent avalanches, which hint at Stravinskian primitivism and musical multiculturalism ranging from heavy metal to big band.

    An openness to different musical traditions, musicianly ‘groove’ and an attitude that emphasizes the communality of art unite Fagerlund with Pekka Kuusisto, to whom the Violin Concerto Darkness in Light (2012) is dedicated. Kuusisto’s skill as a violinist and their artistic collaboration fuelled the compositional process.

    The concerto begins with pitch-black motion in the orchestra, making use of – for example – the throbbing of the tuba, bass clarinet and timpani. From within this antimatter the solo violin rebounds into a shaft of light cast by the fluttering woodwinds, cymbals and tubular bells. And thus the soloist’s journey into the orchestra’s cosmic purgatory begins.

    The violin grapples as if in perpetual motion, and descends into the abyss of micro-intervals. Its triple and quadruple stops are like straight and hooked punches aimed at the beats of the bass drum. It reaches impossible heights by means of harmonics, and bounces off the edge of inaudibility. It tunes in to the ratios of the universe and whistles through glissando trills as if electrified.

    The composer has spoken of the soloist’s Don Quixote-like struggle against the orchestra’s different and various-sized machines. The challenge is divided into scenes, punctuated by pings, swishes and ‘exclamation marks’ on one and the same note. The impression is as if the soloist was proceeding from one reality to another parallel one. The journey is an arduous one – but, nevertheless, the violin’s picaresque virtuosity also radiates joy: the irresistible appeal of incomparable mastery.

    The first movement culminates in a cadenza in which the soloist has the opportunity to improvise freely, which Kuusisto takes with enthusiasm. The cadenza begins in a meditative setting, somewhat in the manner of a Japanese garden. Then it flails and grinds in ever stranger sounds, as if the bow were an aerial and the violin a radio, picking up wondrous messages from another star.

    The second movement is the work’s slow centrepiece, a subconscious entity like Tarkovsky’s Solaris, in which we hear strange scales, the desolation of open-sounding intervals and the sound of mysterious brass flying past. The direction is downward, inward, towards the core. The music falls apart into a very quiet state where all that can be heard is the friction between mind and matter – bare existence.

    The third movement returns to earth. The soloist’s abrasive motifs and the orchestral groupings are placed in a broader perspective. The strings’ glissandos and the glockenspiel’s chromaticism wrench up like a film camera moving up and zooming out. The momentum increases, and for a moment the soloist seems to roam through the world’s violin concerto repertoire. The epilogue makes the listener stop and think; it is reduced to the essentials. 

    According to the composer, the concerto’s title refers to the subtle narrative style of the Japanese author Haruki Murakami (b.1949), which mixes reality and the surreal. At the same time the name illustrates the music’s way of transcending distinctions. Darkness and light, tonality and atonality, orchestra and soloist, community and individual, destruction and renewal – there cannot be one without the other.

    Light and darkness are traditional allegorical representations of life and death. As Murakami’s character says in the novella Firefly (Hotaru; 1983): ‘Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.’ Death illuminates life because being reminded of it intensifies the present moment.

    Susanna Välimäki (Translation Andrew Barnett)

  • Stone on Stone (2012)

    for amplified cello and chamber ensemble

    Duration: 16’
    Orchestration: Amplified Violoncello solo – 0.2.3.1 – 1.1.1.0 – perc. – pf.

    Commissioned by Markus Hohti and Chamber Orchestra Avanti!.
    World premiere 14 January 2013 in Helsinki by Markus Hohti (cello) and Chamber Orchestra Avanti! cond. by Hannu Lintu.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

  • Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra (2004)

    Duration: 16’
    Orchestration: Alto-saxophone solo – 1.1.1.1 – 2.1.1.0 – perc. – pf. – strings
    Commissioned by Olli-Pekka Tuomisalo and Chamber Orchestra Avanti!
    World premiere 6 February 2005 in Helsinki by Olli-Pekka Tuomisalo (sax) and Chamber Orchestra Avanti!cond. by Dima Slobodeniouk.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    My Saxophone Concerto consists of two parts. The first one, ‘Arias’, begins with a heavy rhythmic pulse contrasted by the playful, almost cantabile virtuosity of the soloist. As the movement proceeds these contrasting musical elements begin to change and develop. They can be traced both in large and deep musical structures and on the surface level. Quite naturally the saxophone is the main character of the musical drama but its relationship to the orchestra is in perpetual change. Sometimes is rushes up to virtuoso fioriture, sometimes to rhythmic, almost dance-like dialogue with orchestral instruments, and sometimes it plays forth independent, expressive melodies.
    The second movement ‘Nocturne’ is slow and poetic in character. Fragments built up from the previous movement’s musical material sometimes interrupt the surface of the movement; they seem to flow free and separated from earlier musical conncections and concept of time. The expression of the saxophone changes into more fragile, and little by little the music dissolves and leaves the listener in silence.
    The work was composed with the funds provided by the Madetoja Foundation. It is dedicated to Olli-Pekka Tuomisalo.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Clarinet Concerto (2006)

    Duration: 26’
    for clarinet and orchestra
    Orchestration: Clarinet solo in Bb – 2.2.2.2- 2.2.1.0 – timp. – perc. – pf. – strings
    Commissioned by the Korsholm Music Festival, Christoffer Sundqvist and John Storgårds.
    World premiere 5 July 2006 at the Korsholm Music Festival by Christoffer Sundqvist (clarinet) and Vasa Symphony Orchestra cond. by John Storgårds.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    My Clarinet Concerto consists of four movements; In the first movement ‘Entrata’ the clarinet gradually brings the orchestra to life by presenting different musical materials. The first part continues without interuption to the second part ‘Rituale’ where the role between the solo clarinet and the orchestra begins to change. A short intermezzo forms a bridge to the third, slow and intense movement ‘L´ombra muta‘. New layers and perspectives opens up in the music, but at the same time there is a motion inwards in the music towards something unvisible. After the third movement follows a second intermezzo in the form of a cadenza for clarinet. The wild solo leads towards the final and fourth movement ‘Urbana’ which is a minimalist, dancelike scherzo.

    Working together with the brilliant and virtuoso clarinetist Christoffer Sundqvist has inspired me and also left its distinctive mark on the musical characters in the concerto.  The concerto which is commissioned by Christoffer Sundqvist, Conductor John Storgårds and Korsholm Music Festival was realized with generous support from the Madetoja Foundation, The Finnish Cultural Foundation and The Korsholm Music Festival.”

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Emanations (1998)

    for clarinet and chamber orchestra

    Duration 8’
    Orchestration: Clarinet solo in Bb – perc (2) – strings
    Commissioned by Christoffer Sundqvist.
    World premiere 7 April 1998 in Turku by Christoffer Sundqvist (clarinet) and Chamber Orchestra of Turku Conservatory cond. by Sauli Huhtala.

    Publisher: Uusinta Publishing Company

    The title of the composition relates to a almost visual image of a “flow of sound” emanating from a ensemble I had when I started the compositional process. The material of the piece consists of two contrasting motivs wich constantly develop and collide with each other creating situations of both repellation and correlation. This motivistic dualism can be detected in the mikro- as well as the makro- structure of the piece.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Octet ‘Autumn Equinox’ (2016)

    Octet ‘Autumn Equinox’ (2016)

    Duration 21’
    Orchestration: Cl. – bsn. – hn. – 2vlns. -vla. – vc. – cb.
    Commissioned by Delft Chamber Music Festival.
    World premiere 6 August 2017 at Delft Chamber Music Festival by Christoffer Sundqvist (cl.),
    Bram van Sambeek (bsn.), Benoit de Barsony (hn.), Liza Ferschtman (vln.), Joel Puglia (vln.), Lilli Maijala (vla.), Istvan Vardai (vc.) and Niek de Groot (db.).

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    The additional name of my Octet, Autumn Equinox,  comes from the relation the piece has to my new Opera- Autumn Sonata. I worked on the opera over two and half years and during that time I also started working on the Octet.  Some of the moods and musical materials from the opera is therefore distantly present in the Octet- kind of as a reflection.When Liza Ferschtman asked me to compose a Octet, the thought of tackling the traditional ”Schubert Octet” instrumentation felt almost overwhelming but I have been enormously inspired by Liza´s and her colleagues wonderful musicianship and that gave me the impulse for composing this intensive and sometimes almost explosive chamber ensemble piece.

    The Octet  consists of 3 movements. In the beginning of the first movement all the basic musical material for the whole piece is presented. As in many of my latest works (both orchestral and chamber musical) the musical materials are very rhythmically charged and energetic. Overlapping and colliding they constantly create new multilayered situations that emerge and unfold in the music.

    The second movement presents a very static sound world where harmonic and melodic structures from the first movement are slowed down and expanded. The movement ends with a quote from musical material from the opera. In the third movement all the rhythmic and energetic musical material return with force. I feel though, that working with the opera has given me a new insight in to the use of melody and long expressive musical arcs and this is something which I think is present in this composition in general as well.”

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Rush II ‘Aldeburgh Version’ (2011)

    Duration: 6’
    Orchestration: Cl. – cimbalom – pf.(4hands) – vln.
    World premiere 11 June 2012 at the Aldeburgh Festival by Matt Hunt (cl.), Alasdair Beatson / Iiro Rantala (pf.) and Hans-Kristian Kjos Sorensen (cimb.), Pekka Kuusisto (vln.).

    Publisher: Edition Peters

  • Rush (2010/11)

    Duration 6’
    Orchestration: Cl. – cimbalom – pf.(2) – vln.
    Commissioned by Pekka Kuusisto.
    World premiere 1 March 2011 at Dortmund Konzerthaus by Matt Hunt (cl.), Alasdair Beatson (pf.), Iiro Rantala (pf.) and Hans-Kristian Kjos Sorensen (cimb.), Pekka Kuusisto (vln.).

    Publisher: Edition Peters

  • Exhibit (2010)

    Duration: 9’
    Orchestration: Fl. – cl. – bsn. – hp. – vln. – vla. – vc.
    Commissioned by the Danish Chamber Players.
    World premiere 4 June 2010 in Copenhagen by the Danish Chamber Players.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    The inspirational starting point for ´Exhibit´ has been Finnish stone age- rock paintings from ca 7000- 5000 years ago. The piece is not programmatic music describing a certain specific painting or motive. Instead I have been fascinated by the way the paintings tend to melt in to the rock and nature itself, becoming a inseperetable part of a larger picture full of details, shapes and contrasts.

    The rock paintings also added a certain shamanistic emphasis on many of the musical sequences.”

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Sky II (Revised Version 2023)

    Duration: 13’
    Orchestration: fl. – cl.  – hrps. – guit. – 2 vlns. – vla. – vc. – db.
    Commissioned by Sonkajärvi Music Festival.
    World premiere 10 July 2009 at Sonkajärvi Music Festival by Chamber Orchestra Avanti!.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    The work consists of one movement that presents a fast and flowing, almost playful musical idiom. The musical expression combines dancelike rhythms, minimalist continuities as well as a field-like soundscapes which constantly renewing themselves sweep over the listener. The fast flow of the music is interrupted only by a repeated translucent harmony, which also opens and closes the work. This harmony forms the basis of the piece, and has also given the piece its name.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Sky (2008)

    for baroque ensemble

    Duration: 13’
    Orchestration: 2 trav. – hrps  – theorbe – 3 vlns. – vla. – vc. – db
    Commissioned by Kreeta-Maria Kentala & Baroque Ensemble SAMA.
    World premiere 16 April 2008 at the Tampere Biennale by Baroque Ensemble SAMA.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    The work consists of one movement that presents a fast and flowing, almost playful musical idiom. The musical expression combines clear-cut rhythms, minimalist continuities as well as a field-like sound surfaces which constantly renewing themselves sweep over the listener. The fast flow of the music is interrupted only by a repeated translucent harmony, which also opens and closes the work. This harmony forms the basis of the piece, and has also given the piece its name. The work was commissioned by Kreeta-Maria Kentala and the Baroque Chamber Orchestra SAMA and it was realized by generous support from the The Foundation of Promotion of Finnish Music.  (LUSES)

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Imaginary Landscapes (2002)

    Duration: 9’
    Orchestration: Fl. – ob. – cl. – pf. – 2 vlns. – vla. – vc. – db.
    Commissioned by Uusinta Chamber Orchestra.
    World premiere 9 June 2002, Helsinki, by Uusinta Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jani Telaranta.

    Publisher: Uusinta Publishing Company

    The piece could be described as a series of “musical glimpses” who together form an organic structure. In the opening sequence slow melodic material is presented. The opposite for this material is created by fast ostinato- rythms and arpeggios who like the melodic material acts as independent elements throughout the piece. Though the materials undergo several metamorphoses during the piece they are not in a process of continuous development. The music often returns to the original materials but each time they are presented as if in a different light. The piece was commissioned by Uusinta Chamber Orchestra and premiered in Helsinki 2002.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Beneath (2022)

    Duration: 13’

    Orchestration: String Orchestra

    Commissioned by Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra and O/Modernt Festival.

    World premiere 3 February 2023 by Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra and Malin Broman

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    Beneath for string orchestra is an atmospheric work with a relatively slow tempo.

    At the beginning of the work, a solo violin appears and gradually attracts the orchestra with its musical gestures. The first phrase of the solo violin basically contains a kind of musical DNA around which the piece is built.

    The name of the piece refers to a slow, recurring chord sequence rising from the depths that serves as the structural backbone of the work. During the course of the piece other, more active musical materials emerge which try to take over without completely succeeding and at the end of the piece the tranquility returns and the chord sequence fades out to silence.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Chamber Symphony (2021)

    Duration: 26’

    Orchestration: 2.2.2.2 – 2.2.0.0 – perc. – pf. – strings

    Commissioned by Tapiola Sinfonietta and the NAC Orchestra.

    World premiere 4 March 2022 by Tapiola Sinfonietta conducted by John Storgårds.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    All of Sebastian Fagerlund’s many orchestral works to date have descriptive titles referring to the mood or essence of the works, with the exception of Partita (2009) written for string orchestra and percussion. However this new orchestral work is simply titled Chamber Symphony (2020-21). For Fagerlund, the idea for a symphonic work came to mind as soon as the discussions started for his appointment as a residency artist for the Tapiola Sinfonietta and the offer of writing a related commission for a large-scale work. The Ottawa-based National Arts Center Orchestra (NACO) then joined the commission and will perform the Canadian Premiere in 2022/23.

    According to Fagerlund, the concept of a symphony is related to both form and the way material is handled, and he emphasizes the “logically advancing and evolving structure” of a symphonic work. In the chamber symphony, this emerges in the strong internal context of the work, in how each movement reaches deeper into the world of the work, as if the inner essence of the music could be seen more closely. The tension between the long melodic line that starts the work and the faster musical material that interrupts it can also be considered a symphonic feature. Since writing the opera Autumn Sonata(2014-16), melody has taken an even more central role in Fagerlund’s music.

    Fagerlund’s chamber symphony is a three-movement work where the movements follow each other without interruption. The symphony begins with a slow movement that starts with the melodic material that contains the core material of the work, in Fagerlund’s words, its “musical DNA,” which also returns and develops in the second and third movements. Contrasting fast-moving material interrupts the slow music twice before the melodic line really starts to evolve. The first time, this faster material is rhythmically powerful and syncopated, and the second time, an arpeggio-like flowing material. The encounters and developments of these two fast-moving musical materials then rise to the forefront in the fast second movement, which develops into a scherzo episode. According to Fagerlund, “it appears in the middle of the movement like a character that seems to momentarily take shape and then again evaporate.”

    The culmination of the second movement is followed by a slow third movement. Fagerlund has said he is interested in a slow, almost imperceptible transformation, and that comes true in the concluding movement, where music begins to grow from a standstill toward new relationships between the basic musical materials, in Fagerlund’s words, “like musical components floating and rearranging in a new order.”

    Kimmo Korhonen (Translation Edition Peters)

  • Water Atlas (2017–18)

    Duration: 18’

    Orchestration: 3.3.3.3 – 4.3.3.1 – timp. – perc.(4) – pf. – hp. – strings

    Commissioned by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Concertgebouw.

    World premiere 21 April 2018 at the NTR Zaterdagmatinee in Concertgebouw, Amsterdam by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Osmo Vänskä.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    Concert in Yle Arena

    Time was when the Finnish composers in the front line of contemporary music turned their back on the heritage of Sibelius, whom they labelled a ‘national Romantic’ (intended as a pejorative), and out with Sibelius went the idea of drawing inspiration from the vast arcs of the Finnish landscape. Sebastian Fagerlund has no such hang-ups about the stimulus he finds in the natural world. Water Atlas is the final work in an orchestral trilogy that began in 2014 with Stonework (2014) and continued with Drifts (2016–17). ‘Finishing the trilogy’, Fagerlund writes, ‘made me realise how much I have drawn from Nordic nature in my orchestral music. The grand Finnish archipelago and sea with its vast and open views as well as the islands with their raw, primary rock continue to provide me with endless inspiration’.

    Stonework took its point of departure from considerations of the vast rocks that litter the Finnish countryside and seashore and the mythic importance of large stones in human ritual; and Drifts was suggested by the ability of wind and sea to transform huge shapes a grain of sand or a flake of snow at a time. Water Atlas – a joint commission by the Royal Concertgebouw, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra – similarly had as its ‘main inspirational starting point […] the abstract thought of water as an element – its endless and ancient cycle of circulation, evaporation and rain’. 

    The desire to mirror that ‘endless and ancient cycle’ led Fagerlund – naturally rather than through a conscious compositional decision – to a structure that resembles a kind of huge rondo. After its explosive opening, marked Agitato capriccioso,the tempo broadens out in a passage marked Calmo misterioso, where little wisps of the earlier material skitter around like leaves in the eye of a hurricane. Dancing figures in the violas and cellos suggest the consoling presence of rain, but they presage instead another storm, with violent tattoos from the timpani and percussion (Fagerlund’s well-staffed percussion section requires four players). Once again, the violence abates and the music settles into an uneasy calm over a dignified chorale in the brass – a passage that Sibelius would surely have admired. After another surge in energy (where, in the score, the overlapping phrases in the woodwind look surprisingly like monstrous waves), another oasis of calm allows the piano and harp a brief duet – although the roiling of the deeper registers of the orchestra leave no doubt about the immensity of the forces involved. In another passage of what Fagerlund calls ‘austere calmness’, this one marked Misterioso, a series of woodwind solos sing out into the night, with those melodic wisps from the first episode and triplet tattoos from the trumpets helping to provide thematic coherence. Slowly other elements from earlier in the work recur and coalesce, Vivace molto energico, in a powerful and dramatic coda.

    The world premiere of Water Atlas was given on 21 April 2018, by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Osmo Vänskä, in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. The version heard this evening incorporates some changes to the closing pages that Fagerlund made in 2019.

    Martin Andersson

  • Drifts (2017)

    Duration: 11’

    Orchestration: 3.3.3.3 – 4.3.3.1 – timp. – perc.(3) – pf. – hp. – strings

    Commissioned by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, and Galicia Symphony Orchestra.

    World premiere 5 May 2017 by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    Concert in Yle Arena

    Sebastian Fagerlund was already making a name for himself at around the turn of the millennium, but his real breakthrough and stylistic breakaway came with his Clarinet Concerto of 2005–2006. He has since composed concertos for violin, guitar and bassoon, the last of which was nominated for the Nordic Council’s Music Prize. The biggest of his orchestral works is Ignite (2010), which won the coveted Finnish Teosto Prize in 2010. His first opera was the chamber opera Döbeln (2009), tying in with the war of 1808– 1809 between Russia and Sweden (to which Finland at that time belonged). His next opera, Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata, 2014–2016) is to be premiered at the Finnish National Opera in September this year. Singing the leading part in this opera based on Ingmar Bergman’s topic will be star Swedish mezzo Anne Sofie von Otter.

    Drifts, co- commissioned by Finnish RSO, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Galicia Symphony Orchestra, is the middle section of an orchestral triptych. Fagerlund already had it in mind to compose a three-part entity while composing his previous orchestral work, Stonework (2014–2015). The third, biggest and in a way consolidating part of the trilogy is a commission from the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the FRSO to be premiered in Amsterdam in April 2018. The three works have a kind of family affinity and to some extent share basic material, but each is an independent entity in its own right. Fagerlund does not, however, rule out the idea of performing them together as a set.

    The idea of an orchestral triptych having dominated his thoughts while composing the first part, Fagerlund decided to make Drifts a mainly slow movement. And as such it begins, marked Largo misterioso. But like so many composers, Fagerlund had difficulty sticking to too detailed a plan and the musical material began to assume a will of its own. After its slow beginning, Drifts picks up speed in a brisker Energico. These two basic tempos dominate the piece, but although the quick material began, as it were, to force itself to the fore, the feeling of slow music still pervades in that the two tempo zones may overlap or be superimposed.

    Kimmo Korhonen (Translation Susan Sinisalo)

  • Skylines- Fanfare for Orchestra (2016)

    Duration: 4’

    Orchestration: 3.3.3.3 – 4.3.3.1 – timp. – perc.(3) – pf. – hp. – strings

    Commissioned by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra for the 90th Anniversary of the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE).

    World premiere 10 September 2016 by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

  • Strings to the Bone (2015)

    Duration: 13’

    Orchestration: Strings (5.5.4.3.2)

    Commissioned by the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra.

    World premiere 2 February 2016 by the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    Strings to the Bone is an intense and virtuosic, almost shamanistic piece, where the music moves between large expressive sounds worlds and almost minimalistic movement. I have been very inspired by the sound and intense playing of the Ostrobothnia Chamber Orchestra and although the work does not contain direct references to folk music, the region of the orchestra and also my own relationship with folk music have influenced some of the musical events.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Stonework (2014–15)

    Duration: 14’

    Orchestration: 3.3.3.3 – 4.3.3.1 – timp. – perc.(2) – pf. – hp. – strings

    Commissioned by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra.

    World premiere 26 November 2015 by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    Concert in Yle Arena

    Stonework was commissioned jointly by the Bergen and Tampere Philharmonic Orchestras to mark the 250th anniversary of the Norwegian orchestra and it was premiered in Bergen with Edward Gardner conduct- ing on November 26. It was first heard in Finland in Tampere on November 27, with Santtu-Matias Rouvali conducting, and on the same day in Sweden during the Bergen Philharmonic’s tour to Gothenburg.

    Stonework is above all a feast for a large virtuoso orchestra. Its title has made its mark on the music. But while works referring to stone usually concentrate on pounding percussions and monolithic orchestral slabs, Fagerlund does not so much measure the strength of his stone, its weight and permanence. Rather, his orchestra sows the seeds of a myriad hues and features evocative silence just as much as to thunder.

    The opening, with robust yet warbling wind figures serves as a reminder that stone is actually quite a malleable material. Its irregular rhythms suggest the dynamic role of stone in cultural and military history. The Stone Age was a period in ancient history, but in Stonework it is also part of the present

    day and distant worlds. Stone is often thought of as a dead substance, but in the music of Fagerlund it lives and pulses and generates seamless continuity.

    Fagerlund alternates, overlaps and mixes his motifs into a convoluted shape that finally builds up to a wild, fortissimo climax. In the last bars the music dissolves into a void, as if to remind us that geological history is much, much longer than the story of mankind.

    Antti Häyrynen

  • Ignite (2010)

    Duration: 28’

    Orchestration: 3.3.3.3 – 4.3.3.1 – timp. – perc.(4) – hp. – pf. – strings

    Commissioned by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

    World premiere 6 October 2010 by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    The orchestral work Ignite is dark in mood. Here the composer has spoken of his predilection for spiral form. The form circles around a central point that is embodied in the work’s opening eruptions. In the course of the work we confront these materials time and again as if from the point of view of a continually expanding orbit; the direction of the spiral movement can also be reversed. This idea is found in the Violin Concerto as well.

    In Ignite a huge spiral winds from the outer edge (movements I–II) to the middle (III) and then out again (IV). As the composer has explained, the further ‘in’ we travel, the more peaceful the music becomes. Sometimes the music dies away into gas-like, ominous interludes. The spiral can also be heard in the whirling imagery: spinning rolls, rings of repeated figures, whirlpool sounds, twisting scales, rising and falling figures and the dizzying sounds of the harp, marimba, bells and gongs.

    The spiral has fascinated mankind, from ancient religions to modern science. It is a natural phenomenon that is found everywhere: in mussel shells, fingerprints, whirlwinds, DNA, the structure of galaxies and so on. It symbolizes the cosmic power that links everything together, the riddle of the origin of life and of existence. No wonder that it is also an image for dizziness, hypnosis and fainting. And of eternity, death and hell. And of growth, creation and renunciation. Likewise, the many references to other styles and aesthetics in Ignite express a unifying character that is associated with the spiral.

    Ignite begins as if it had already been in existence: a vortex hurls us straight into the middle of frenetic motion. We gain an impression of vast space, hearing sucking swallowing sounds, numbing mechanical noises, bacchanal rhythms and floating ripples. In the second movement we hear images of falling, smouldering fire sounds, an oriental cor anglais, Latin-style galactic dances, chords louder than a human being can produce and other film noir-style science-fiction impressionism – a sort of Blade Runner pastorale.

    The third movement plummets towards a complete halt. Suddenly we hear just the bass clarinet, tuba, timpani, harp and double bass. This moment of darkness is a sounding grave, a tombeau. The emptiness distantly recalls the song Sorrow, come! by John Dowland (1563–1626). We cannot see the centre of the melancholy, in the same way that we cannot actually see a black hole, just observe its influence on its surroundings.

    The noise of the finale cuts off suddenly; the broadening spiral does not end, but is thrown out into the realm of inaudibility.

    According to the composer, the work’s name refers to the constant collision of ideas that ‘ignites’ new energy; on the way we pass the same points various times, but at different angles of incidence. The spiral is the energy’s focus, collector and liberator, always regarded as a healing power.

    Susanna Välimäki (Translation Andrew Barnett)

  • Partita (2007/09)

    Duration: 18’

    Orchestration: Perc.(3) – strings

    World premiere 11 November 2009 by Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Dima Slobodeniouk.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

  • Isola (2007)

    Duration: 16’

    Orchestration: 2.2.3.2 – 3.2.1.0 – timp. – perc. – strings

    Commissioned by Korsholm Music Festival.

    World premiere 3 July 2007 by Vasa Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dima Slobodeniouk at the Korsholm Music Festival.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    Several years ago I visited an island called Själö in the southwest archipelago of Finland. The island has, despite its tranquility and beauty, a dark and tragic history. This feeling of grandness and beauty with underlying dark currents made a deep impression on me.

    The music is not in any way a description of the island itself, though the impression stayed in my mind and came to act as a sort of abstract inspiration for this piece.

    The piece consists of two large movements wich are linked to each other. The first movement; Largamente espressivo starts of with a rhythmical and agressive introduction (Agitato e violento) where the material of the piece is presented. The agressive flow of the music soon changes to the actual slow tempo of the first movement. The musical expression is melodic, intense and expressive.

    The rhythmically agressive musical character which was introduced in the beginning of the piece returns with full force in the second movement; Agitato capriccioso. The music has a wild and flowing character from which ritualistic danslike elements break off.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Preghiera (2007)

    Duration:  8’

    Orchestration: Perc.(3) – strings

    Commissioned by Stavanger Symphony Orchestra.

    World premiere 9 April 2008 by the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra.

    Preghiera forms the III movement of Partita.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

  • Renergies (2002)

    Duration: 11’

    Orchestration: 1.1.1.1 – 1.1.1.0 – perc. – pf. – strings

    Commissioned by Zagros Ensemble and Susanna Mälkki.

    World premiere 29 March 2003 in Helsinki by Zagros Ensemble conducted by Susanna Mälkki.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    My starting point for the composing of ”Renergies” commissioned by Zagros Ensemble was to write dynamic, flowing music that would breath with large, broad musical events. This quite abstract compositional idea lead me towards different musical materials wich I wanted to reflect the characteristics of the instruments and the instrument groups in the orchestra. In other words the instruments own physical properties and the physical reality of the music, the sound event itself have on some level functioned as a point of inspiration. The music of the piece consists of clear musical gestures, minimalist continuances, and broad sound fields continuously changing and creating situations where the musical pace sometimes moves fast sometimes slow. The work was first performed by Zagros Ensemble and conducted by Susanna Mälkki in Helsinki at the House of Nobility on the 29.03.2003.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Dream- Land (2019)

    Duration: 9’
    for male choir
    Text: Edgar Allan Poe
    Commissioned by Polyteknikkojen Kuoro (the Polytech Choir) for their 120-year anniversary.

    World premiere 26 November 2021 by Polyteknikkojen Kuoro cond. by Saara Aittakumpu.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    For the past twenty years, I have played with the idea of composing music to ”Dream-Land”, the multifaceted poem by Edgar Allan Poe, but it was not until the Polytech Choir and Saara Aittakumpu asked me for a new piece for their 120th anniversary concert that the plans went into motion and the composition became reality.

    Poe`s strong and mythical imagery resonated strongly with me. The text surveys the borders of spiritual and physical existence, and it can be interpreted in many ways: What first appears to be a description of a frightening, difficult to discern dreamscape through which the protagonist travels, can also, on the contrary, be seen as a description of the protagonist waking from a dream and the dreamscape into the frightening and threatening real world. For me, this pattern interpretation is highly relevant in the modern flux of information, which is marked by news of ecological destruction and social discord.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Staden (2010)

    Duration: 17’
    three songs for soprano and piano
    Texts: 1. Claes Andersson, 2. Bo Carpelan, 3. Edith Södergran

    Commissioned by Tuula Hällström.
    World premiere 23 March 2010, Helsinki, by Angelika Klas (soprano) and Tuula Hällström (piano).

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    The Suite ‘Staden (The City) ‘ includes three songs which in different ways relate to each other and the name of the Suite.

    The first song that I have given the name ‘Anonym- Anonymous’ is set to music to an insightful untitled poem by Claes Andersson. The selfimage and the subconscious represents for me in this song, a kind of abstract city where you can make big discoveries but also become surprised of what you have lost.

    The second song ‘Staden- The City’, which gave the whole song cycle its name, is set to music to an incredibly diverse and expressive poem by Bo Carpelan. Here entes from a distant a city without limits, a city of mythical proportions in which the focus shifts between diversity and privacy, day and night, security and fear.

    The third song ‘Min framtid- My Future’ to a thoughtful poem by Edith Södergran illustrates a kind of involuntary solitude elected as a city or a castle.

    The Suite is commissioned  by Lied-pianist Tuula Hällström and has been composed with support from Teosto. The piece is dedicated to singer Angelika Klas and Tuula Hällström.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Nocturne (2010)

    Duration: 5’
    for female choir

    Text: Edith Södergran
    Commissioned by Academic Female Choir Lyran.
    World premiere 19 March 2011, Helsinki, by Academic Female Choir Lyran  cond. by Jutta Seppinen.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    During the summer of 2010, I returned to a poem by Edith Södergran that I had long ago become acquainted with and always wanted to compose music to. The text is atmospheric and intense and I was fascinated by the idea and the challenge of describing and exploring how different elements of an imaginary summer night slowly flow into each other. Contours are blurred and familiar shapes change and take on new shapes.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Teckning (Drawing) (2006)

    Duration: 2’
    for male choir
    Text: Viola Renvall
    Commissioned by the Pargas Manskör (Pargas Male Choir) for their 75th anniversary.

    World premiere 12 April 2008 in Pargas by Pargas Manskör.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

  • Sinnlighetens Fest (2002)

    Duration: 5’
    for male choir
    Text: Claes Andersson

    World Premiere 22 May 2004 by Polyteknikkojen Kuoro conducted by Tapani Länsiö.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    When I in 2002 became acquainted with Claes Andersson’s collection of poems “Dessa underbara stränder förbiglidande”, I found a poem that I immediately wanted to set to music. The text is atmospheric and intense and it made me playfully reflect on the relationship between passion and obsession and how sometimes diffuse the boundary between these concepts can be. The music presents moods that oscillate between lyrical musical lines and obsessively repetitive sections.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Revontulet (Northern Lights) (2001)

    Duration: 6’

    for soprano and piano
    Text: Eino Leino
    Commissioned by Anu Komsi.

    World premiere 10 March 2001, Helsinki, Musica Nova Festival, by Anu Komsi (soprano) and Pia Värri (piano).

    Publisher: Edition Peters

  • Liten Svit (2001)

    Duration: 5’
    for baritone and piano
    text: Bo Carpelan
    Commissioned by Vilna Alternative Classical Music Festival.
    World premiere 8 June 2001, Vilnius, Alternative Classical Music Festival, by Petteri Salomaa (baritone) and Ilmo Ranta (piano).

    Publisher: Edition Peters

  • Döbeln (2009)

    Duration: 70’
    Libretto: Jusa Peltoniemi
    Orchestration: 2 sopranos, tenor, baritone, bass – 1.0.2.1 – 1.1.1.0 – perc.(2) – pf. – strings
    Commissioned by Kokkola Opera Festival.
    World premiere 25 July 2009 at the Kokkola Opera Summer by Anu Komsi (soprano), Annika Mylläri (soprano), Lasse Penttinen (tenor), Sören Lillkung (baritone), Robert McLoud (bass) and Kokkola Opera Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo.

    Stage direction by Ville Sandqvist.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    The main character in my opera Döbeln, commissioned by Kokkola Opera Festival, is a controversial Swedish general named Georg Carl von Döbeln, who at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century successfully led the Swedish war troops. During the battles of Porrassalmi in 1789, Döbeln was shot in the head and seriously injured. Despite the differences between General Döbeln and King Gustav IV Adolf, in 1809 Gustav IV Adolf commanded him to lead Åland’s defense against the Russian attack and the retreat of the Swedish troops across a frozen Åland Sea.

    In the opera’s frame story, the plot is set in motion by General Döbeln being shot and the gunshot wound to the head being operated on. This same operation also ends the opera. In an opium intoxication during the operation, Döbeln dreams and hallucinates both about past and future events. In the area between dream and reality, Döbeln begins to question himself and weigh his choices and the consequences of them. As Döbeln sinks deeper and deeper into the world of his own mind, both he, the people he meets, the characters his imagination creates and the events around him become increasingly strange and grotesque.

    Sebastian Fagerlund

  • Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata) (2016)

    Duration: 120’
    Libretto: Ingmar Bergman / Gunilla Hemming
    Orchestration: 2 sopranos, mezzo soprano, baritone, bass, Chorus – 3.3.3.3 – 4.3.3.1 – timp. – perc.(3) – pf. –
    hp. – strings
    Commissioned by the Finnish National Opera.
    World premiere 8 September 2017 at the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki by Anne Sofie von Otter
    (mezzo soprano), Erika Sunnegårdh (soprano), Helena Juntunen (soprano), Tommi Hakala (baritone),
    Nicholas Söderlund (bass) and the Finnish National Opera Orchestra and Choir conducted by John Storgårds.
    Stage direction by Stèphan Braunschweig.

    Publisher: Edition Peters

    My Opera, Autumn Sonata, was commissioned by the Finnish National Opera and the world premiere took place in Helsinki on the 8th of September 2017 with the Finnish National Opera Orchestra and Chorus conducted by John Storgårds. The direction and set design was made by Stéphane Braunschweig and the premiere cast included Anne Sofie von Otter, Erika Sunnegårdh, Helena Juntunen, Tommi Hakala and Nicholas Söderlund.

    The libretto is written by Gunilla Hemming and it is based on the film script by Ingmar Bergman. The two main characters in the opera are Charlotte Andergast– The concert pianist and mother who visits her older daughter Eva after years of absence. Eva lives with her husband Viktor at a vicarage and they also take care of Eva´s younger sister Helena who is gravely ill. The libretto developed into a more illusive form than Bergman’s quite realistic film script.  For instance, the film script only alludes to Leonardo, the recently deceased lover of Charlotte. In the opera I wanted Leonardo to have a stronger presence, so the dead man comments on the life of the living from a distance. I also asked the librettist to include a chorus and this ”Greek chorus” became an extension of Charlotte’s ego, the concert audience that accompanies her wherever she goes. This is because Charlotte needs her audience , it means everything to her. It follows in her footsteps, initially just in her imagination. Later on, little by little, it infiltrates the reality of the vicarage and the other characters, who begin to communicate with the choir, too. Such extensions can become absolutely momentous in an opera, in this case creating interesting time layers between the real and the unreal and also showing the egoism of the mother in both tragic and absurd scenes.

    When the family members converge under one roof, after years of separation, they begin to delve into the past. Despite their good intentions, old wounds are opened but at the end of the opera we are left in a situation where little seems to have changed. This inevitability haunted me through my entire composition process, becoming as important as the protagonists’ actions. Their objectives are noble, but they are chained by inevitability. In the end, their inability to take the last, crucial step makes change and forgiveness more difficult. I was very interested about the parallels this has in the real world. We all have some need to achieve change in ourselves or people around us. The final step, many times however, is an unsurmountable challenge to us, so everything stays the same.

    Opera ”Autumn Sonata” is my most extensive work so far. It combines and develops musical elements from both my previous orchestral- as well as my vocal music. At the same time, the composition of the work did not seem to be an end- point, but rather a new platform that led to new interesting directions and thoughts. I feel that an opera can not be composed before there is a subject and a story that “resonates on the same frequency” as ones own expression and in the early stages of the composition process, it seemed as if the story and its characters were just waiting for me in the shadow of my mind.  As the compositional work progressed, the musical tidal flows of the opera pulled me towards big depths and even though the compositional work is finished I still find myself thinking of the characters and their destinies.

    Sebastian Fagerlund