C0 note (16,35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface
D0 note (18.35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface
C0 note (16,35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface
F0 note (21.83 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface
G0 note (24.50 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface
A0 note (27.50 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface
Harri Vuori (b. 1957) hails from Lahti in southern Finland, a town once best known for producing furniture but since made famous by the activities of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra under the pioneering baton of Osmo Vänskä and their long series of recordings – especially of Sibelius – on the Swedish label BIS. Vuori began his study of music at a relatively late age – he was in his mid-teens – before taking composition lessons with Esko Syvinki at the Päijät-Häme Music Institute in Lahti (1975–78). He then went on to the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and the tutelage of Paavo Heininen, Eero Hämeeniemi and Einojuhani Rautavaara – three very dissimilar composers, as Vuori recalls:
My composing teachers Rautavaara, Heininen and Hämeenniemi had different approaches and methods in teaching. For Rautavaara the important point was dramaturgy. He stressed intuition and asked me to be careful on the question of timing in my pieces. Heininen was interested in the multiplicity of detail and tone colour. Hämeenniemi tutored my diploma work Kri. He taught me how to use an orchestra as an instrument in such a way that the texture is meaningful (playable) for the players without missing the ideas of the music.
Vuori remained a student at the Academy until 1989; since 1993 he has been a lecturer in composition and the theory of music in the Helsinki University Department of Musicology – although he is currently enjoying a part-time sabbatical thanks to a five-year stipend from the Finnish state.
Vuori first came to international attention in 1989 when his Kri for large orchestra won second prize in the Nordic Music composition competition in Gothenburg. The next work to make an impact was Š-wüt (1991), which won first prize in a Finnish government competition to mark the 75th anniversary of the country’s independence; the first performance was given, on 21 August 1992, by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Osmo Vänskä.
Like many of Finland’s modernists, Vuori first adopted a neo-Classical style but began to move towards modernism while still a student at the Sibelius Academy; by the time he graduated, he already had the makings of his own musical language, influenced by the ‘spectral’ school of composers in Paris – who derive harmonies from overtone series – and characterised by a concern for colour and richness of texture. As with many a composer before him, Paris broadened Vuori’s horizons:
Twice I travelled to Paris and lived in the Cité des Arts. As my teacher Paavo Heininen had instructed, I didn’t rush to get lessons from a new teacher but instead spent a lot of time becoming familiar with different arts. I also become acquainted with IRCAM and the projects that were going on there at that time. At IRCAM I learned more about the spectral harmonies that I had used in my earlier works (for example, Kri) and I made new variations of them in the following orchestral works (Š-wüt, Mandelbrot Echoes).
Since 1997 Vuori has been composer-in-residence with the orchestra in Hyvinkää, around fifty kilometres far north of Helsinki; the first work to be written for the Hyvinkää Orchestra was Ylitse kuun, alitse päivän(‘Over moon, under day’), premiered under the baton of Tuomas Pirilä on 20 February 1999. Other Hyvinkää commissions have since included concertos for bass clarinet (2001) and alto saxophone (2004) – contributions to the extraordinary rush of instrumental concertos from Finnish composers since the onset of the 21st century.
Some of Vuori’s contemporaries in the ‘Ears Open!’ group of radical composers formed in the late 1970s (Vuori has always been a sympathetic outsider rather than a card-carrying member) swore in their callous youth never to write a symphony, that most imposing husk of earlier musical forms. Vuori, unconstrained by such youthful promises, was to take the plunge in 2003, and his First Symphony was premiered on 1 December 2004 by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hannu Lintu. But it was not a challenge lightly taken up – just as Beethoven gave Brahms pause for thought, the Sibelian heritage weighed on Vuori, and he honed his skills on a number of scores as he worked his way towards the genre, not least the sinfonietta Myyttisiä kuvia (‘Mythic Images’), composed in 2001–2. Its title points to another of the stimuli of Vuori’s music:
Nature and myths have always inspired me but my works do not describe nature directly, neither is there any mythical programme or story in them. In reality they sometimes wake up musical ideas that can prepare musical materials.
The Second Symphony, a deliberate contrast with the First, followed four years later. It was written to a commission from the town of Hyvinkää to mark the 90th anniversary of its foundation in 1917 and premiered by Pirilä and the Hyvinkää Orchestra on 18 November 2007.