Erkki Melartin (February 7, 1875 –February 14, 1937)

Erkki Melartin (February 7, 1875 –February 14, 1937)

 Erkki Melartin (born February 7, 1875, Käkisalmi, Finland (now Priozersk, Russia) – died February 14, 1937, Pukinmäki, Helsinki) was a Finnish composer and conductor. He was a key figure on the Finnish musical scene in his day. His extensive output for orchestra includes six symphonies, symphonic poems, a violin concerto, two ballets and music for a dozen or so plays, among them music for the play The Sleeping Beauty. On top of these Melartin wrote chamber music for various combinations of instruments as well as hundreds of piano pieces and songs.



Erkki Melartin studied at the Helsinki Music School with Wegelius (1892-1899) and in Vienna with Robert Fuchs (1899-1901).


Despite chronic health problems he worked unstintingly at the Helsinki Music Institute, first, in 1895-1898 as assistant teacher, then, in 1901-1907, as teacher and finally, in 1911, as director and remained at this post until 1936. In 1908-1911 he worked as a conductor in Viipuri where he founded an orchestra school.

Melartin conducted the first performance of Gustav Mahler’s music in Scandinavia, a movement of the Resurrection symphony in 1909. Although Melartin was chiefly a lyricist, the symphony was central to his musical output. He wrote six symphonies (1902-1924) and was the first Finnish composer to bear Mahler’s influence.

Melartin conducted primarily his own work in Finland and also in Scandinavia, Russia and Germany. His extensive trips abroad took him also to North Africa, India and Egypt. He was given an honorary professorship in 1919.

Melartin’s songs are of rare stylistic diversity, ranging from lyrical, nature-inspired mood pictures to impressionistic and at times even highly expressionistic pieces. His choice of texts reflects his broad education, for he was equally at home in both Finnish and foreign poetry.


Dramatic: Aino, opera (1907; Helsinki, December 10, 1909); Sininen belmi (The Blue Pearl), ballet (1930); incidental music. Orchestral: 8 symphonies (1902; 1904; 1906-1907; 1912; Sinfonia brevis, 1916; 1924-25; 2 unfinished); 3 symphonic poems; 3 lyric suites; Violin Concerto; Serenade for Strings; Karjalaisia kuvia (Karelian Pictures). Chamber: 4 string quartets; Quartet for 2 Trumpets, Trombone, and Horn; Quartet for 4 Horns; Trio for Flute, Clarinet, and Bassoon; 2 violin sonatas;  Sonata for Flute and Harp; piano pieces; violin works. Vocal: Choruses; about 300 songs.


You can find and download free scores of the composer:


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