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Olli Kortekangas: Sounding a Barbaric Yoik

See my first piece at, a preview of this Sunday's world premiere of Seven Songs for Planet Earth by Finnish composer Olli Kortekangas:

Finland’s Musical Talent Comes to Washington (Washingtonian, May 19):

Finland is home to a prodigious musical life, including in contemporary classical composition. Two local choral groups, the Choral Arts Society of Washington and the Children’s Chorus of Washington, have joined forces to bring a piece of the Finnish phenomenon to the Washington area this week. At a concert this Sunday -- Northern Lights: Choral Illuminations from Scandinavia and Beyond -- in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, the two groups will perform the world premiere of Seven Songs for Planet Earth, a new work by Finnish composer Olli Kortekangas.

The premise of this symphonic cantata, about how “respect and love for nature should be seen as a fundamental element of human life,” falls somewhere between touchy-feely and downright preachy. Four of the texts were written by environmental activist and poet Wendell Berry, a choice that seems to endorse the local food movement and other environmentalist views. [Continue reading]

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