“Aeterna” is a Double Concerto for bandoneón, décacorde and chamber orchestra, composed by Pekka Jalkanen. This double concerto, carrying an air of a requiem, is based on White Sea Karelian wedding songs and laments, especially on Jussi Huovinen’s song “Etähäll on miun emoni” (My Mother is so afar). The first performance of the concerto was given at the Kokkola Winter Accordion Festival on 20 February 2011, and it was broadcasted live on the Yle 1 Radio Channel. The performers of the concerto were Kristina Kuusisto, bandoneón, and Mari Mäntylä, décacorde, and the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Lauri Pulakka.

Ensemble: Band.& Dc.
Percussion (2 players)
Gran cassa, vibrafono, Glockenspiel, Tubular bells (e1,h)
Strings (44321)

Durata ca 25′

The double concerto Aeterna was composed by commission of the musicians of its first performance, the Duo Dryades. This work is one of my compositions that have been inspired by the ancient music of the peoples of Finnic origin. The concerto is based on some twenty White Sea Karelian wedding songs and laments, and especially on a lament Etähäll’on miun emoni (“My dear Mother is afar”), created by Jussi Huovinen who may be referred to as “the last traditional runosinger in Finland”. Owing to this material, the concerto bears a melancholy air of a requiem.

The bandoneón, which is the other solo instrument in this composition is strongly associated with Argentine and tango. But even the bandoneón declines from its typical Argentine moods, for all in this double concerto is filtered through traditional White Sea Karelian folklore. Almost throughout the work, the music moves in one traditional minor pentatonic scale and evolves only very late, around the golden section, into full diatonic tonality. The same evolution applies to the texture and harmonic tones of the composition. The musical texture of the composition has twofold orientation, as the material written for the solo instruments is based on Karelian lament and orthodox liturgy, whilst the orchestra plays music that forms fan-like motions, resounding like a hundred and one five stringed kantele.

Aeterna is dedicated to Kristina Kuusisto (bandoneón) and Mari Mäntylä (decacorde), Duo Dryades, who commissioned the work and made its first performance.

Pekka Jalkanen