EERO JÄRVILEHTO, (1972-)
The influence of the family background and musical teachers.
Eero Järvilehto was born in Helsinki 19 May 1972 in Helsinki, but he was raised in Tampere till he moved at the age of 19 to Helsinki for care studies, and since then he has lived in the capital city area. The musically gifted doctor parents of Järvilehto played and sung together arias by, among others, J.S.Bach, and already in the early childhood, Järvilehto listened most preferably St Matthew Passion by J.S. Bach. In addition to Bach’s music, the parent’s Christian upbringing influenced on Christian themes of the production of Järvilehto. Järvilehto started primary studies of music when he was 6 years old , at Tampere Conservatory, guided by Johanna Salminen, playing the recorder,and was transferred, at the age of 10 years, to flute studies with Bill Dyer. The fact that Järvilehto’s siblings were musicians, (Tarmo, piano, Merja, violin, and Varpu, cello and viola da gamba) arouse Järvilehto’s interest, already in childhood, in composing, but the actual enthusiasm in composing arouse at the age of 15, when he by himself sought to private education with the Tampere Conservatory music theory teacher and composer Esko Syvinki. In addition, Järvilehto has received periodically guidance while living in Tampere a little before moving to Helsinki from gospel musician and composer Lasse Heikkilä and, after moving to Helsinki and while care studies from composer Juhani Nuorvala. Mostly, Järvilehto has, however, learned composing through conversations with different musicians self-taught.
The influence of Dmitri Shostakovich and referee Pehr-Henrik Nordgren.
In the mid-1990’s, Järvilehto became friends with composer Pehr-Henrik Nordgren based on the common interest in Dmitri Shostakovich, in whom Järvilehto was interested since 13-year-old. The influence of Shostakovich can be heard in many of Järvilehto’s works, such as in a quite straightforward manner in the Piano Trio no 1, op. 25, but also in a more hidden manner, such as in Violin Concerto no 1, op. 13, as Järvilehto pursues to create original style to his compositions. When the Suite on Finnish Themes by Dmitri Shostakovich became public in 2001, and was premièred in Kaustinen, Finland, then was founded Finnish Shostakovich Society, the chairman of which was Pehr-Henrik Nordgren, and Eero Järvilehto was asked to be the first secretary of the association. Nordgren had familiarised through friendship with Järvilehto’s compositions and appreciated Järvilehto’s early larger works, such as Violin Concerto no. 2, op. 33, Holocaust-Lamentations, op. 63, Tones of comfort for celesta, op. 72. Nordgren was also Järvilehto’s musical referee until his death in the summer 2008. Nordgren, among other things, presented Järvilehto as a composer to musicians and other Finnish and foreign professional composers, and in some Shostakovich happenings praising Järvilehto’s knowledge of Shostakovich. Järvilehto also owned to Nordgren Offer pictures Suite for string orchestra, op. 85, and to Nordgren’s memory, based on Nordgren’s stories, piece for solo cello ”…And Shostakovich bought shoes…”, op. 121, which contains short quotations of Shostakovich’s themes.
Stylistical features, influences and comprehensive flute music works
Beside Shostakovich, Järvilehto has taken musical influences and direct quotations from several other compositors, such as Prokofiev, Khatchaturian and Ravel. Stylistically influences has been especially from neoclassicism and to some extent from impressionism, and Finnish folk music, but in his works there is randomly atonal or amelodic motifs. He has combined with the musical materials of his works also extraordinary musical effects and pursued, from time to time to use exceptional instrumentations. Järvilehto’s musical expression is often simple, even characterised as minimalistic is some estimations. These stylistic elements are to be heard in the Violin Concertos No. 2, op. 33 and No. 3, op. 125. Järvilehto has also considered as an important part of his works, the expression of feelings and sentimentality of music. He also divides his works in partly overlapping themes: 1. Concertos, suites and sonatas, 2. Bible in tones – Christian classical music, 3. The beauty of Finnish nature, and 4. Tones of comfort for helping work. As a flautist, in Järvilehto’s works, music for the flute has a central part, we shall mention, among others, 5 autobiographical suites for flute solo, 5 sonatas for solo flute, 2 sonatas for flute and piano, 2 sonatas for flute and cello, concerto for flute and string orchestra, and 2 alto flute concertos and a great amount of small pieces for flute solo, flute and piano, or chamber music including the flute.
Järvilehto’s periods of creation:
Järvilehto’s works of composition can be divided roughly into three periods, although the borderlines between periods are indeterminate – periods of years of youth (ca. 1987-1992), early adulthood (ca. 1992-2002) and mature adulthood, (ca. 2002-)
Characteristic for the works of youth is small-scaleness of works and childlike simplicity (sometimes monotonousness), to which especially his composition teacher Juhani Nuorvala paid attention, and pursued to improve the formal thinking of Järvilehto’s works. Violin Concerto No. 1, op. 13 represents in its small-scaled simplicity early works of Järvilehto, although the character of the work is explained also by the fact, that the composition was created for a pupil orchestra of small children with its teacher. Other important works of the years of the youth are, among others, Solo Cello Sonata, op. 9, Solo Flute Suite No. 1, op. 14, Piano Trio No. 1, op. 25 and Ballet Deluge, op. 27.
Violin Concerto No. 2, op. 33 was a significant turning point on his way to emerging early adulthood works, when Järvilehto pursued to compose, beside small-scaled pieces, larger works, both compositionally and in duration and stylistically more complicated and more difficult, even to the detriment of playability, as in the composed in the late period Viola sonata, op. 82. Typical for the period was also experimentality, as in full of special effects Solo Flute sonata, No. 1, op. 29, or composed in the end of the period smaller-scaled works the Song of the Dolphin, op. 92, and the Little Angel Suite, op. 93, and the work which got the greatest popularity among the public, the Wind in the Willows, op. 90, which Järvilehto has performed over 40 times, as well as in concerts, weddings, as in other parties, among others, in front of the president’s wife Tellervo Koivisto. During the period were composed Järvilehto’s most large-scaled works, in addition to the mentioned Violin Concerto No. 2, op. 33, such as music to two separate films for orchestra, based on the similarly named war novel ”Hands up, distant patrol”, op. 45 and based on famous Finnish murder mystery from the year 1960, but remained unrealized as film, ”The Nightmare at Lake Bodom”, op. 74, and compiled from them suite for orchestra, op. 88a.
The most succesful out of large-scaled works was the work, which got tour of 10 performances, Holocaust-Lamentations, op. 63, for the memory of holocausts, on the 50th anniversary of the end of holocausts, with which was collected a beneficiary collection for the eldercare for the persons who survived the holocaust. Holocaust-Lamentations, op. 63 also received the most large attention in the media out of Järvilehto’s works, and the work was also a personal and Christian work of apology and penitence.
On the border of the early and mature adulthood was composed, for Järvilehto’s cousin’s wedding, a worth mentioning, chamber work Wedding Feast Trio for alto saxophone, cello and piano, op. 86, which is one of the most successful works of the composer. The beginning of the mature adulthood was a difficult period for Järvilehto because of divorce, during the period compositions were created only one, or none during several years. With new love and marriage and new friends Järvilehto received new inspiration for composition work, and for a start, helped also shared with a new good friend, Eero Lappalainen, enthusiasm on Shostakovich, which inspired Järvilehto to create a few unpublished arrangements on Shostakovich’s works. For the period of mature adulthood, important features were, especially at the beginning, making new versions of earlier works so, that they could be better performed, for example, with the change of instrumentation, combining small pieces into albums or with new arrangements into suites. The symptomatic thought of Järvilehto’s period which started then and continues today is return to more simple expression without childlikeness, and transition from unnecessary difficulty to improvement of performancability, also large-scalness is centered to renunciation of large assemblies and using contacts with musicians which are available to Järvilehto regardless of the length of the work. Järvilehto has, during the last few years, carried out several beneficiary concerts in christian congrecations, among others, in cooperation with pianist Ilkka Vanhamaa, and recitalist Reijo Vähälä. In addition, works of the present period have been performed and recorded in Italy, for example the Lullaby of a little angel, for string quartet, op. 109, and the Lullaby of a bird, for organ, op. 118, and his gambist-sister Varpu Haavisto performed in her solo concerts in Tampere and in famous Villa Lante, Rome, Italy Järvilehto’s work Little passacaglia for viola da gamba, op. 122. Even when Järvilehto has not given up using orchestral assemblies, he has pursued to simplicity in expression in order to improve performancability of works, as in Violin Concerto No. 3, op. 125. The most significant works of the present period, in addition to mentioned above works, are Suite for string quartet, (or string orchestra), op. 114/114a, Concert piece for flute, violin and piano, op. 119, 2 suites for chamber orchestra, on Järvilehto’s own poems, and based on Canticles of the Bible, Poem cantate: My confession of Love, op. 126, Piano sonata No. 1, op. 129, and revised version Tones of comfort for celesta, op. 72-fix., which is also included with poems and added parts to works I cry with the people who cry, op. 134 and the Journey song of the broken one, op.139. Also the works which are under work, 4 psalms of David for contralto and piano, op. 143, and the piano reduction of the Symphony No. 1, ”Moses”, op. 137, which is based on the themes of Moses’s books, Järvilehto considers worth mentioning.
Eero Järvilehto as a musician and organizer.
Although Eero Järvilehto considers himself, above all a composer, he has sometimes performed as a flutist, and he has performed the Flute sonatas by, among others, L. Andriessen, P. Hindemith and F. Poulenc and the Flute concerto by W.A. Mozart No. 2, D Major, K.314, with piano accompaniment, and also French and Finnish flute music. Järvilehto has also performed as young flutist as soloist of a pupil orchestra, for which he composed the Violin concerto No. 1, op. 13, performing in the orchestra’s pupil concert Dmitri Shostakovich’s Spring Waltz, from the ballet the Bolt, op. 27. As orchestral flutist, Järvilehto has performed the 2nd flute part in Lasse Heikkilä’s musical Simon of Cyrene in the spring 1990. Järvilehto has, although, become more famous as a composer, having performed his own works for flute and alto flute, since his youth years until today, and he also acquired a piccolo to his instruments in the 1990’s. In 1992, after seen saw player in care studies graduation, he decided to acquire for himself a play saw for performances. Järvilehto has also used play saw in his compositions, such as the works Kriegsdienstverweigerungsneuordnungsgesetz, op. 53, Play saw concerto, op. 56/56a, Holocaust-Lamentations, op. 63, Wind in the Willows, op. 90, and I cry with crying people, op. 134, and a few solo pieces for the play saw. Järvilehto has also been interested in using percussion instruments and out of the ordinary instruments, such as Nepalese flute, wind chime, or self-realised bird imitations since the beginning of the 21st century, although he has played already in the midst of 1990’s some percussion parts of his works. Järvilehto has also conducted the performances of his works Alto flute concerto no. 1, op. 47, and Holocaust-Lamentations, op.63.He has also arranged the première of Violin Concerto No. 2, op. 33, and also tens of concerts, and recordings of his film music, and participated in musical arrangements of several weddings and familial parties. Nowadays, Järvilehto concentrates mostly on arranging congregational beneficiary concerts with a small and varying group of performers.
Eero Järvilehto’s complete catalogue of compositions can be found on his home page at the adress: http://eerojarvilehto.nettisivu.org/my-compositions/complete-catalogue-and-discography/
Look also Links about Me:
My Biography on Violin Concertos pages by Tobias Bröker: https://www.tobias-broeker.de/rare-manuscripts/g-l/järvilehto-eero/
Tobias Bröcker: THE 20th. CENTURY VIOLIN CONCERTANTE – A Repertoire Catalogue of The Compositions for Violin Concertante written between 1894-2006, 3rd. Revised Edition, (eBook) – on the page 1162 /2847 pages
Scott Pfitzinger: COMPESER GENEALOGIES – A Compendium of Composers, Their Teachers, and Their Students, (Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham – Boulder – New York – London, 2017) – on the pages 262 and 394/628 pages