Kolme laulua ikävästä is an anthology of three songs, the texts for which were written by Kirsi Reinikka, a talented Finnish artist, photo journalist and writer who, along with her family, now lives in Brisbane. She was my first Finnish language teacher when I began my studies here in Australia. The overall feeling behind all the texts is one of sadness and longing.
The three poems that make up the anthology are:
- Kun hän lähtee (When he goes)
- Sydän hiljenee yöksi (The heart calms for the night)
In 1, I have played on the alternation of major/minor tonality to give an unstable, questioning sense. In 2, at times the harmonies are stark without the satisfaction of musical resolution. In 3, there are two ideas: the single/unison tone (the becoming of one, melded together by pitch and rhythm but speaking with an individual timbre) and harmony (two separate/independent entities that forever move in either consonance or dissonance as the creator chooses).
The following translation was developed in conjunction with the author.
Kun hän lähtee
When he goes
his kannel jingles and plays
the last tone
as it clings to the wind
stretching the longing
Sydän hiljenee yöksi
The heart calms for the night,
is as still
as a January morning.
In the gloom it lies
empty of words,
Why so like alone
Why so like the night,
Why so like totally alone,
Why so like together,
Why so like still,
Why so like still together, totally alone in the night.
This last poem began as play on “Y”, being alone but together in the physical sense. Is it together that we make beautiful music or is it in being alone, that creates a beauty of its own?
I completed these compositions whilst on a relaxing weekend holiday in the mountains near Montville, just to the west of Queensland’s famous Sunshine Coast.