interview with Eero Hämeenniemi
has grown through the stages of ‘Modernist to Neo- Expressionist in the
1980s to tradition conscious’ (according to a write-up on the net). How
did you evolve through these styles?
really important? I am not sure I would characterize my work as Neo-Expressionist
in the first place. This is just useless Western musicological jargon.
I concentrate on trying
to put on paper what I have in my mind and what has developed through my
contact with, for example, India. I
am not in the business of self-analysis and explanation that so many artists
make themselves busy doing.
composed for symphonies, jazz, ballets, dance and even chamber music. How
do you approach these varied music genres?
finished my IVth Symphony. In such a work, unity is the main consideration.
I wrote a half-hour piece for 104 musicians on a single theme. There a
composer must try to be imaginative, so that the material will not always
return in the same form, but presents at each re-statement, new and interesting
facets of itself.
and chamber music, the main consideration is the role of the individual
musician, as these are forms, where interaction between the players is
dance tends to emphasize the element of rhythm, as dancers need something
to hang on to.
the blending of Indian elements has become an integral and inseparable
part of your music. What interested you in Indian rhythms?
I was interested
in Karnatic rhythms, because of the very important structural role they
play in Karnatic music. In the West, rhythm is mainly a way for creating
movement, but in Karnatic music, it can also create structural tension
and release as well as a sense of arrival. We western musicians normally
use harmony to achieve these ends.
one of the first Finnish composers to take a serious interest in dance,
western as well as Indian. Has your frequent visits to India prompted this
I was interested
in dance even before coming to India, but Bharatanatyam is such a beautiful
and musically challenging dance form that my contact with India made my
interest in dance stronger than ever.
the fusion music available sounds so repetitive, and is even being marketed
as “lounge music”. Your comment.
genre there is the good and the bad. There is also excellent fusion such
as Shakti-ensemble, for example.
appearance at The Park’s THE OTHER FESTIVAL, your first performance in
India? How do you feel about it?
performed in India many times. I would especially like to mention the numerous
appearances with Guru Karaikkudi R. Mani that I have so enjoyed. I am very
pleased to come to The Other Festival, because I have attended the festival
nearly every time, and I know what a lovely and important event it is.
Variations” specially composed for The Other Festival? A few words on the
world premiere of this work.
was composed specifically for this festival in appreciation of the ground-breaking
work you are doing. I am very interested in trying to write music where
both western and Indian musicians can use all their skills to the full.
I hope this is such a work.