Chasing Myths on Beethoven


Working on two major chamber music works by Beethoven for upcoming concerts in Helsinki and in New York, the Quintet for Piano and Winds Op. 16 and the Eroica Symphony arranged for Piano Quartet by Ferdinand Ries, I wrote down observations from a couple paths of history opened by these works.

The Eroica Symphony, in some ways the most legendary piece of western classical music, has come to symbolize Beethoven giving the thumbs down to Napoleon Bonaparte and doing so a good decade before history itself came to the same conclusion. Continue reading

Welcome to Hell – Liszt’s musical gates into the netherworld

All hope abandon, ye that enter here! Franz Liszt: Après une lecture du Dante (Alfred Brendel) A known fact among the pianists who’ve studied Franz Liszt’s Dante Sonata, or Après une lecture du Dante (eng. After a Reading of Dante) as the title goes, is that the opening passages of the work depict the opening of the […]


Kontrapunktin kauneutta – Polyphonic beauty (Finnish & English)

Die Kunst der Fuge eli Fuugan taide oli J. S. Bachin (1685–1750) viimeisen vuosikymmenen suurhanke. Urkuvirtuoosi ja polyfonian kruunaamaton kuningas halusi ladata teokseen koko osaamisensa ja luoda koruttoman teeman sisäisistä rikkauksista ennen kokemattoman musiikillisen kertomuksen. Die Kunst der Fuge, the Art of Fugue was to  be Johann Sebastian Bach’s opus magnum in the realm of […]


Ears Open! – once again

I will perform the three Piano Sonatas by Pierre Boulez (1925–2016) this coming Tuesday at the House of Nobility in Helsinki at 7 pm. The concert, Pierre Boulez in memoriam, is a part of the Key Discoveries Piano Festival, which brings to Helsinki such masters of the keyboard as Roland Pöntinen from Sweden and Alexei Lubimov […]


Brahmsin pianot

Työstin erään opettajani johdolla Beethovenin neljättä pianokonserttoa ja hän neuvoi: “aina kun tulet huoneeseen jossa on piano, kävele sen ääreen ja soita neljännen konserton alku, sillä yhtä epävarmalta tuntuu kun kävelet lavalle orkesterin eteen ja joudut soittaman konserton alun koraalin.” Hän tarkoitti, että tuttukin soitin tuntuu yleisön edessä tuntemattomalta, kun konserttitilanteen transkendenssi on kunnolla päällä. […]


Chess on the Keyboard – The Time Curve Preludes

“It’s okay to use rubato.  Think Milhaud.  As sensual as possible.  Sounds great.” Bill While preparing for a performance of some music by William Duckworth (1943–2012) in New York this coming weekend, I want to record some thoughts about the music and relate some experiences I had with the composer. I’ll be playing a selection […]


Väyläfestival – a dream come true

For two years, we’ve been dreaming of it. Actually, even before that I was often discussing casually with friends in the north about a wish to create an arts festival in western Lapland. And since one gorgeous July evening spent with the photographer Jaakko Alatalo in Kätkäjärvi, Muonio in 2015 when the specific idea hit […]


Obsessed with names

I’m performing two recitals for Portland Piano Solo series this weekend. I don’t believe a pianist couldn’t imagine more sublime repertoire: the two concerts feature works by Beethoven and Debussy. Each concert includes a book of Préludes by Debussy and two sonatas by Beethoven, the Moonlight and the Les Adieux on the first, and the Sonata Op. 54 […]



I recently completed a three-concert cycle of these composer’s works in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. By now classics, the three composers could just as well be described as modernists, although both definitions impoverish the perspective. Boulez always insisted on portraying Debussy and Bartók as torchbearers of modernism, but as early as the […]