|Kokonainen Festivaali 2018
|Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, (Prepared) Piano
|two ebows, metal plates, Blue-Tack, paper, screws
|8th of June 2018 at Janakkala Church at the Kokonainen Festival 2018
My second piano quintet “Aino” Op.60 is also the second quintet out of a trilogy consisting of three large form works with the theme “Woman’s Destiny”. The trilogy is a three-year commission by the KokonainenFestival in Finland. The first quintet “Minna” was premiered at the festival in 2017 and the last quintet “Helene” will be premiered at the festival in 2019.
The second quintet “Aino – Emotions from the life of Aino Sibelius” will get its world premiere this year on the 8th of June at the Kokonainen Festival 2018. It will be played by the incredible musicians Heli Haapala flute, Pekka Niskanen clarinet, Linda Suolahti violin, Lauri Angervo cello and Tiina Karakorpi piano. As the name says, it is a selection of feelings from the turbulent and fascinating life of Aino Sibelius (1871-1969). She was the sister of three artist (the writer Arvid Järnefelt, the painter Eero Järnefelt and the composer Armas Järnefelt) but she is best known for her being the wife of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.
“Aino Sibelius truly was a wondrous being. The secret of her persona will always remain a mystery to us, no matter how hard we try to get to her core. As a human she was of her own class, a special and contradictional woman, who at the same time was modest and strong, but within her strength very sensitive and sometimes soft, even weak. Her personality is hard to categorise. Even in her time she was considered to have a special character, which was hard to understand for many. From today’s perspective it feels even harder. The women of today maybe find it even harder to identify themselves with her persona than the women of her time. In this sense she was a artist in the same way as her husband.
The easy way out would be to analyse Aino from today’s feminist perspective as a person who sacrificed her own persona for her husband’s music. However she never experienced that she had done so, instead she felt uplifted by her husband’s music and to be part of something infinite and holy, and she saw herself as a privileged person. The persona of Aino Sibelius therefore can’t be put into the context of today’s view of equality. Aino didn’t feel repressed because for her it was self-evident that the woman is a woman and the man is a man, who both live according to their nature. It wasn’t a question of repressing or being repressed, she thought women were meant to use their own strength and men their own, and in this way they would fulfill their own path decided by destiny.”
Even though Aino has been very difficult for me to understand, I still wanted her to be part of my trilogy “Woman’s Destiny” because without her dedication to her husband and to their family we would maybe (most likely) not have so many works by Jean Sibelius. Even Jean Sibelius acknowledged how lucky he had been to marry Aino and said in his speech on Aino’s 75th Birthday “You might have been happier and better off marrying another man, but I could never have been happier with anyone than with you”.
Aino – Listen on Youtube
The braveness and energy which characterised the first piano quintet return this year in a more refined form. Damström has a strong and original composer voice.
-Anna Pulkkis, Hufvudstadsbladet 10.6.2018
8th of June 2016 World premiere – More info
13th of October 2016 Swedish premiere
29th of August 2020 Tallinn Music Week – More info
23rd of May 2022 performance in Gothenburg – More info