Einar Englund

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Sven Einar Englund (born June 17, 1916 in Ljugarn , Gotland ( Sweden ), † June 27, 1999 in Visby ) was a Finnish composer and pianist .


Einar Englund, like his famous composer colleague Jean Sibelius , belonged to the Swedish-speaking minority of Finland. Until 1941 he studied composition with Bengt Carlson at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki . Further teachers were Martti Paavola (piano) and the conductor Leo Funtek , who introduced him to orchestration and who, according to his own statement, owed his high level of craftsmanship to a large extent. In World War II Englund fought at the front. The impressions of this time are partly reflected in his works; The first symphony from 1946 was nicknamed the War Symphony . Its premiere received a lot of attention in Finland. In 1947 Englund won first prize in the competition advertised for the games with his orchestral work Epinikia , which was written for the "Finnish Games" (a sports and cultural festival). On the recommendation of Sibelius, to whom he had also presented his piano quintet among other works, Englund continued his studies in Tanglewood with Aaron Copland from 1948 to 1949 . Around 1950 he was considered the most outstanding among the young Finnish composers.

When more modern compositional techniques such as twelve-tone music and serialism gained ground in Finland from the late 1950s and gradually began to replace him as the leading figure among the more traditionally-oriented composers Joonas Kokkonen , Englund, initially regarded as an innovator of Finnish music and now regarded as backward, largely fell silent as a composer. The death of his first wife in 1956 was partly responsible for this. In order to look after his three small children, he took on various assignments for stage and film music during this time. It was not until 1971 that Englund reappeared in the Finnish musical scene with his Third Symphony, which he himself considered to be his main work.

From 1957 to 1981 Englund worked as a teacher of composition and music theory at the Sibelius Academy, where he was awarded an honorary professorship in 1976. The works composed in later years were often commissioned music, written for special occasions. In the 1990s, Englund's compositional work largely came to a standstill as a result of deteriorating health.

Englund, who had made his way as an entertainment musician and jazz pianist for a while, was a proven pianist in addition to his work as a composer and also played his own piano concertos. His first piano concerto, along with Selim Palmgren's second concerto, is considered the most frequently played Finnish work of this genre.

Audio language

Einar Englund clearly broke with the late Romantic or Impressionist models that had dominated Finland up to now and instead developed a neoclassical style to which he remained lifelong, especially following Dmitri Shostakovich , but also Sergei Prokofjew and Béla Bartók . Most of his music is dominated by a harsh, often harsh, but also elegiac tone, especially in later works. The forms are predominantly based on traditional models such as the sonata movement or the passacaglia ; there is a noticeable preference for contrapuntal design elements, e.g. B. Joints . Although Englund's harmony is heavily enriched with dissonances , it never leaves the framework of an expanded tonality . Englund wrote primarily orchestral works, among which seven symphonies and several instrumental concerts stand out. Only in later years did he become more intensely concerned with the genres of chamber music, and he rarely composed vocal music.

Works (selection)

Orchestral music

  • Symphony No. 1 Sotasinfonia ( War Symphony , 1946)
  • Epinikia , symphonic poem (1947)
  • Symphony No. 2 Mustarastassinfonia ( The Blackbird , 1948)
  • Violoncello Concerto (1954)
  • Piano Concerto No. 1 (1955)
  • Symphony No. 3 Barbarossa (1971)
  • Piano Concerto No. 2 (1974)
  • Symphony No. 4 for strings and percussion Nostalginen ( Nostalgische , 1976)
  • Symphony No. 5 Fennica ( Finnish , 1977)
  • Violin Concerto (1981)
  • Symphony No. 6 for choir and orchestra Aforismeja ( aphorisms , based on Heraklit , 1984)
  • Flute Concerto (1985)
  • Symphony No. 7 (1988)
  • Clarinet Concerto (1991)

Chamber music

  • Piano quintet (1941)
  • Passacaglia for organ (1971)
  • Divertimento Upsaliensis for wind quintet, string quartet and piano (1978)
  • Piano Sonata (1978)
  • Sonata for violin and piano (1979)
  • Concerto for 12 cellos (1981)
  • Sonata for violoncello and piano (1982)
  • Piano Trio (1982)
  • String Quartet (1985)
  • Wind quintet (1989)

Stage works

Choral works

  • Chaconne for mixed choir, trombone and double bass (1969)
  • Hymnus Sepulcralis for mixed choir (1975)
  • Kanteletar Suite for female choir (1984)


Web links