Luvetus for flute and string orchestra


photo: Minna Leinonen

Flute and string orchestra (4/4/3/2/1)

Harri Mäki, the artistic director of the Crusell Festival asked me to write a piece which would have something to do with the 100th anniversary of independent Finland or with our neighboring countries. I wanted to dig deeper into pre-independence times where I found Karelian laments which are told to be as old as the human kind. Karelian laments turned out to be more diverse than I thought. They consist of all kinds of emotions; besides sighing and weeping grief, and sharp cry of pain they also talked about love and hope. From the laments I picked words, some of which were used as expressions of endearment. Luvetus means Karelian lament, other words used in Luvetus are i.a. sido (best), sadozoi (noble) and kuldu (beloved). The code language of the laments was created because it was believed that this cry-language would be the only one the ancestors would understand, and also because the autobiographical laments needed hidden metaphorical equivalents.

The flute´s solistic position reflects the setting of Karelian laments in this piece so that one can think of flutist as the pre-cryer and strings as the community, which joins into the emotional burst of the flute. I also collected some fascinating musical events from the laments: the rhythm in some laments was surprisingly free, accelerating and complex without common meter or verse. Descending lines and microtones were also charasteristic of some of the laments. Deepening the emotion and becoming sensitized in performing a lament were special skills one could compare to the expertise of a sage or a shaman.

Commissioned by Crusell Festival 2017.

F.p. 29.7.2017 Niamh McKenna (Ireland), Joidy Blanco (Venezuela) as well as Elizaveta Ivanova (Russia) with Jousia Ensemble cond. Janne Nisonen.

Duration 8–9 min.

Other performances


Johannes Gustavsson, kapellimestari

Niamh McKenna, huilu
KPKO & Kokkolan Orkesteri

22.7. 2020 Finnish Broadcasting Company