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Arts in Finland Nature and Forest Myths in Finnish Arts. Vesa Matteo Piludu. Semiotics University of Helsinki. Lotman, Universe of Mind Symbols: otherness and archaic features. Symbols are a special kind of sign Symbols are always connected to signs of other orders or languages

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Arts in Finland Nature and Forest Myths in Finnish Arts

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arts in finland nature and forest myths in finnish arts

Arts in FinlandNature and Forest Myths in Finnish Arts

Vesa Matteo Piludu


University of Helsinki

lotman universe of mind symbols otherness and archaic features
Lotman, Universe of MindSymbols: otherness and archaic features
  • Symbols are a special kind of sign
  • Symbols are always connected to signs of other orders or languages
  • The content of symbols are generally highly valued in culture
  • A symbol is for example a religious sign used in a non-religious situation as art: novels or painting
  • There is always something archaic in symbols
  • Sometimes symbols go back to pre-literate or oral cultures (fairy tales)
  • Symbols preserves long and relevant texts in a condensed form (image, icon)
the vertical cut
The vertical cut
  • A symbol never belongs to one synchronic section of a culture
  • It always cuts across that section vertically
  • coming from the past
  • And passing on into the future
  • A symbol’s memory is always more ancient than the memory of its non symbolic text content
texts heterogeneous
Texts: heterogeneous
  • Every texts of a culture is heterogeneous, it form a complex plurality of voices, coming from different ages and times
  • Symbols, as powerful symbols, as condensed elements of cultural memory, can transfer texts, plots outlines, from one level of memory to another
  • The symbols activated cultural memory
  • The symbols prevent the disintegration of culture in isolated layers (no communication between classicism and romanticism)
duality of symbols
Duality of Symbols
  • Symbols reveals their duality
  • By one hand the symbol is conservative, it has elements of repeatability and invariance
  • The symbol is a seed, it exists before the text, it comes from the depths of cultural memory
  • The symbol is like an emissary from other cultural epochs
  • A reminder of the ancient foundation of a specific culture
  • To the other side
  • A symbol actively correlates with the cultural context of the text, transform it and is transformed by it
  • So there are many variant of the same symbol, that could have different meaning in different texts of different ages or places
  • In Finland the nature is a relevant aristic symbol
  • Nature isn’t ”biolgical” but cultural and mythological
  • Many natural symbols derivates from mythology and in particular the national epic poem Kalevala
kalevala and finnish arts
Kalevala and Finnish Arts
  • The Finnish Epic Poem Kalevala: Old Kalevala 1828 - New Kalevala1849 by Elias Lönnrot (Ethnographer-Poet)
  • In English on the web:
  • The Kalevala
  • by Elias Lönnrot
  • Translated by John Martin Crawford
  • [1888]
sibelius finlandia
Sibelius- Finlandia
  • Sakari Oramo conducts "Finlandia”
  • Sibelius:FinlandiaYle Radion Sinfoniaorkesteri (Finnish radio symphony orchestra)conducted by Sakari OramoOctober 22, 2005NHK Hall, Tokyo
finlandia talo finlandia hall
Finlandia Talo – Finlandia Hall
  • Arcitect: Alvar Aalto
  • Project: 1962
  • 1967-71 and 1973-75
sibelius tapiola opus 112 1925
Sibelius - Tapiola opus 112 (1925)
  • Commission from Walter Damrosch for the New York Philharmonic Society.
  • The London Philharmonic OrchestraSir Adrian Boult (1889-1983)Recorded in 1956
  • Tapiola is the realm of Tapio, the God of the forest
  • When asked by the publisher to clarify the work's program, Sibelius responded by supplying a quatrain:

"Widespread they stand, the Northland's dusky forests, Ancient, mysterious, brooding savage dreams; Within them dwells the Forest's mighty God, And wood-sprites in the gloom weave magic secrets.“

  • Kuvat: Oulanka
kalevala based on finnish folk poetry
Kalevala: based on Finnish Folk Poetry
  • No Kalevala in Finnish Folk Culture, but a many differents epics songs, spells, marriage songs … disconnected to each other
  • The context was the village culture
  • The message was musical-lyrical performance of a skilled singer
  • The code was musical – mnemonic (kalevalaic octosillabic metre):
  • Nu-ku nuku nur-mi li----ntu
  • Two melodic lines (ab ab ab)
  • Modal incipit … incipit sol in g (sol-la-do-re-mi)
  • Rhythm: 2/4 or 5/4
Kalevala ”manipulated” the signification processof Finnish Folk Poetry for a new social and cultural context
  • Elias Lönnrot wrote down the songs (change on the code: (from oral to written – from music to literature)
  • He joined toghether different themes and choosed the principal myth (Sampo) as a red line: from fragnetation to unity
  • Social context: from village culture to ”national culture”
  • Message’s contex: from oral performance to reading
  • Adresser: from Oral poets (anonimous) to a ”Poet” Lönnrot
  • Adressee: from other villagers to intellectuals, scholars, teachers, artists, politics …
  • Meaning of the kalevalaic signs: from rituals and village entertainment to the building of Finnish national identity and literature
sprawl of kalevala in finnish arts
”Sprawl” of Kalevala in Finnish Arts
  • From the literary text to:
  • Symphonic, opera, Classical Music (Sibelius, Rautavaara)
  • Visual Arts: painting (Gallen-Kallela), sculpture, architecture, comics
  • Military propaganda in the Winter and Continuation Wars
  • Jazz, rock and ”Contemporary folk music” (Värttinä, Gjallarhorn)
  • Media and advertizing (Sampo)
  • Multimedia art, Modern Dance: Kimmo Pohjonen, Tero Saarinen
  • Again we have complete redefinitions of the signification of the Finnish Folk poetry using differents codes and languages
akseli gallen kallela
Akseli Gallen-Kallela
  • Axél Waldemar Gallén 1865 - 1931
sibelius op 70 luonnotar 1913 karita mattila tampere 2000
Sibelius – Op. 70 Luonnotar, 1913Karita Mattila, Tampere 2000
  • Karita Mattila sings Jean Sibelius' tone poem "Luonnotar" (Nature Goddess) in the 2000 Millenium Eve concert in Tampere, Finland. "Luonnotar" tells, according to the Finnish national epic "Kalevala", how the world was created
  • Olipa impi, ilman tyttö,Kave Luonnotar korea,Ouostui elämätään,Aina yksin ollessansa,Avaroilla autioilla.Laskeusi lainehille,Aalto impeä ajeli,Vuotta seitsemän sataaVieri impi veen emona,Uipi luotehet, etelät,Uipi kaikki ilman rannat.Tuli suuri tuulen puuska,Meren kuohuille kohotti."Voi, poloinen, päiviäni.Parempi olisi ollutIlman impenä elää.Oi, Ukko, ylijumala!Käy tänne kutsuttaissa."
  • Tuli sotka, suora lintu,Lenti kaikki ilman rannat,Lenti luotehet, etelät,Ei löyä pesän sijoa."Ei, ei, ei.Teenkö tuulehen tupani,Aalloillen asuinsijani,Tuuli kaatavi,Aalto viepi asuinsijani."Niin silloin veen emonen,Nosti polvea lainehesta.Siihen sorsa laativi pesänsä,Alkoi hautoa.Impi tuntevi tulistuvaksi.Järkytti jäsenehensä.Pesä vierähti vetehen,Katkieli kappaleiksi.Muuttuivat munat kaunoisiksi:Munasen yläinen puoliYläiseksi taivahaksi,Yläpuoli valkeaista,Kuuksi kumottamahan,Mi kirjavaista,Tähiksi taivaalle,Ne tähiksi taivaalle.
robert wilhelm ekman v in m inen luo valon 1859 v in m inen creates light
Robert Wilhelm Ekman Väinämöinen luo valon, 1859.Väinämöinen creates light
mansi music on the sangkvyltap instrument finnish music with kantele
Mansi music on the sangkvyltap instrumentFinnish music with kantele
  • Mansi (obsolete: Voguls) are an endangered indigenous people living in Khantia-Mansia, an autonomous okrug within Tyumen Oblast in Russia. The Mansi language is of the Ugrian branch of the Finno-Ugric family of languages.
  • The Finnish people has a similar instrument: the Väinämöinen’s kantele, still used to accompany kalevalaic songs in contemporary folk music:
  • Karoliina Kantelinen is a singer and an ethnomusicologist from Helsinki who specializes in different ethnic singing styles
amorphis my kantele acoustic reprise
AMORPHIS - "My Kantele" (Acoustic Reprise)
  • Ensiferum - Kalevala Melody
  • AMORPHIS - "My Kantele" (Acoustic Reprise) taken from the album Elegy
sibelius op 49 pohjolan tyt r pohjola s daughter 1906
Sibelius Op. 49 Pohjolan tytär - Pohjola's Daughter 1906
  • Ormandy Conducts Sibelius Pohjola's Daughter, Op. 49 - Part ½
  • Composer: Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)Conductor: Eugene Ormandy (1899-1985)Performer: Philadelphia Orchestra
  • Ormandy Conducts Sibelius Pohjola's Daughter, Op. 49 - Part 2/2
  • Composer: Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)Conductor: Eugene Ormandy (1899-1985)Performer: Philadelphia Orchestra
sibelius op 22 lemmink inen four legends 1895 1900 1939
Sibelius Op. 22 Lemminkäinen (Four Legends) 1895 – 1900 – 1939
  • Lemminkäinen and the Maidens of the Island, Part 1
  • Sibelius: Lemminkainen and the Maidens of the Island, Part 2
  • Erotic natural atmosphere, Nordic Don Juan
sibelius lemmink inen in tuonela
Sibelius: Lemminkäinen in Tuonela
  • Sibelius: Lemminkäinen in Tuonela, Part 1
  • Sibelius: Lemminkäinen in Tuonela, Part 2
sibelius tuonelan joutsen the swan of tuonela
SibeliusTuonelan joutsen – The Swan of Tuonela
sibelius lemmink inen s return
Sibelius: Lemminkäinen's Return
  • Sibelius: Lemminkainen's Return
sampo films
Sampo - Films
  • Sampo - based on the Finnish epic Kalevala
  • The Sampo (1959) 1/6
valkoinen peura den vita renen the white reindeer das weisse ren 1952
Valkoinen peura / Den vita renen / The White Reindeer / Das Weisse Ren (1952)
aulis sallinen rauta aika 1982
Aulis Sallinen: Rauta-Aika 1982
  • Rauta-aika 1982
  • Director : Kalle HolmbergMusic : Aulis Sallinen
gjallarhorn suvetar
Gjallarhorn - Suvetar
jean sibelius kullervo op 7 1892
Jean Sibelius - Kullervo, op. 7 1892
  • Jean Sibelius - Kullervo, op. 7III. Kullervo and His SisterPart 1 of 3Swedish Radio Symphony OrchestraEsa-Pekka SalonenMarianne Rorholm, mezzo-sopranoPeter Mattei, baritone

Helsinki University Men's ChorusBerwaldhallen, Stockholm, SwedenJanuary 1995


CHORUS.Kullervo, Kalervo's offspring,With the very bluest stockings,And with yellow hair the finest,And with shoes of finest leather,Went his way to pay the taxes,And he went to pay the land-dues.When he now had paid the taxes,And had also paid the land-dues,In his sledge he quickly bounded,And upon the sledge he mounted,And began to journey homeward,And to travel to his country.

Jussi Mäntynen (1886 - 1978) - Hirvi / The Elk - 1923. Pohjoinen rautatienkatu 13, In front of the Zoological Museum, Etu-Töölö
  • Mäntynen later revealed that `The Elk' was inspired by the Demon Elk in Kalevala.
  • Tuotamme metsäammattilaisille ratkaisuja metsän- ja metsäluonnonhoitoon, metsävaratietojen hallintaan sekä metsänomistajien palveluun.
tursas ja vedenneito seamonster and the mermaid sakari tohka 1911 1958 1940 yrj nkatu 24 kamppi
Tursas ja vedenneito / Seamonster and the Mermaid Sakari Tohka (1911 - 1958) 1940. Yrjönkatu 24, Kamppi
yrj liipola 1881 1971 tellervo tapion tyt r kolmikulma dianapark kaartinkaupunki 1928
Yrjö Liipola (1881 - 1971) Tellervo, Tapion tytär Kolmikulma (Dianapark), Kaartinkaupunki 1928