Research projects - Historiafoorumi
Foreign study trips of Finnish organists
The research project Foreign study trips of Finnish organists from the 1860s to the 1950s and their impact on Finnish organ art seeks answers to the following questions: Who were the Finnish organists studying abroad and their teachers? On what grounds were the study places selected? How did the Finnish organists describe their foreign studies? How did foreign study affect their subsequent activities as artists, pedagogues, and organ consultants? What was the larger impact of these trips on Finnish organ art? The project focuses on three centres of organ playing: Leipzig, Paris, and Copenhagen. The primary research material consists of archival documents and publications by the organists studied. The project’s research team consists of Peter Peitsalo (project leader), Jan Lehtola, Olli Porthan, and Ville Urponen.
(Kuva: Maarit Kytöharju)
Correspondence with the past
Elina Saloranta’s research project is Correspondence with the past. Saloranta`s historical pen pal is the Finnish singer Elli Forssell (1871–1943), who moved to Riga in 1903 after having married the Latvian painter Janis Rozentāls (1866–1916). The project consists of essays, video pieces and research events. The first part of the project – a response to Elli’s letter from August 1909 – has been published in the anthology Suo, kuokka ja diversiteetti edited by Markku Eskelinen and Leevi Lehto in autumn 2018.
(Photo: Ellin Forssell`s family. Lauri Forssell 1903)
Music and Sound in the History of Finnish Non-Fiction Cinema
Kaarina Kilpiö’s research project Music and Sound in the History of Finnish Non-Fiction Cinema explores the sonic elements of Finnish documentary and propaganda films in the early decades of sound film, from the 1940s to the 1960s. The two principal corpuses of materials consist of archived films from the Finnish National Audiovisual Institute and the document files of the Finnish copyright organization Teosto.
(Photo: Armed forces regulars listening to field recordings made for war propaganda reels in Porvoo, Finland, 1943. Source: SA-kuva.)
Politics of Equality in Finnish Opera
Liisamaija Hautsalo`s Academy of Finland funded project Politics of Equality in Finnish Opera (2017–2022) explores Finnish opera in the context of the core value of Finnish society, equality. Drawing on political history, sociology, anthropology, art research and opera studies, this study suggests that the vigour of Finnish opera is based on two factors: the Finnish version of European nationalism since 1870s, and the cultural politics of the Finnish welfare society.
(Photo: Jouni Sjöblom`s opera Kustaan sota/Hanne Vainikka)
The Evolvement of the Musical Life in Tampere 1900-1940
The Evolvement of the Musical Life in Tampere 1900–1940 is Markus Mantere`s research project. The musical life in Tampere was built on the financial and ideological support of industry owners, revenue provided by business life, as well as the support of the workers’ movement. No tuition in a musical instrument in any public institution was available. It has gone almost unnoticed that an orchestra functioned in Tampere regularly from 1894 to 1904. Such musical luminaries as Ferruccio Busoni, Teresita Carreno and Jean Sibelius, among many others, gave concerts in Tampere. Apart from these highlights, too little is known about what music was performed in Tampere, who were the performers and what were the institutional predecessors of the musical institutions in Tampere existing today?
The Beautiful past. Rethinking Stradivari Violins
Christina Linsenmeyer's project The Beautiful Past. Rethinking Stradivari Violins in the Aesthetics of European Neoclassicism (c. 1760–1814) is funded by Academy of Finland (finished 2018). The project focuses on the canonization of Stradivari violins. The research traces the “old” and “Italian” aesthetic paradigms during the eighteenth century, focusing on violinmaking in France and England. The project demonstrates how cultural and historical factors, which substantiated neoclassical style outside of Italy, including the preference for old objects, affected violinmaking. The study provides an understanding of what makes “classical” musical instruments “classic”; what is the “secret of Stradivarius”; and how material-culture studies creates value for the benefit of the researchers, musicians than the general public?
The music-related gestures
Assi Karttunen`s research The music-related gestures of the eighteenth-century French keyboard music in the new performing context focuses on studies into musical gestures of eighteenth-century keyboard music, including pieces composed by e.g. François Couperin, Jean-Philippe Rameau and Johann Sebastian Bach. The framework for the research is carnal musicology and historically informed performance. Assi Karttunen’s articles and texts have dealt with music-related gestures and musically rhetoric phenomena like grotesque, carnevalesque, irony, non-chalance, asynchrony, lamento, ’les sons glissés’ etc. The research could be described as artistic research, because it includes artistic projects and practices. Parts of the research have been published in research publications Musiikki and Trio as well as in the research journal Ruukku.
Translocal Cultural Fields
Translocal Cultural Fields. Music as a Cultural and Economic Enterprise in the Four Biggest Cities in Finland, 1900–1939 project explores musical activity in Helsinki, Vyborg, Turku and Tampere between 1900 and 1939 from both cultural and economic point of view. The musical activity will be studied through four core themes: 1) Cultural politics, 2) Music education, 3) Music industry and 4) Musicians, music events and repertoires. The research project group is Vesa Kurkela, Olli Heikkinen, Markus Mantere, Janne Mäkelä, Anne Teikari, Pirjo Ovaskainen and Saijaleena Rantanen. The project is also closely linked to Derek Scott’s (Leeds University) extensive research, which has examined the formation of cosmopolitan musical life, popular music and the music industry in the Western metropolises from the 19th century onwards.
(Photo: Fyren 19.4.1902)
Composers’ political connections in the beginning of the 20th century
Research work done by Veijo Murtomäki concentrates on the Central European composers in the 19th century and on the political connections of the Finnish music scene (amongst others the compositions by Jean Sibelius). The second topic of the research outlines the wider forms of the music from the classism era, and from the early 19th century, forming theory based on the sources of that time.
(Photo: The statue of the composer Heikki Klemetti and Veijo Murtomäki)
Veijo Murtomäki`s blogs:
Aino Kukkonen acts as a researcher in the Kansallisbaletti 100 project, which, for the first time, discusses the history of the Finnish National Ballet for the past hundred years or so. The articles in the non-fiction book that will be published in 2021 are based on new research, and the book is directed at anyone who is interested in dance as an art form.
The project is based on the internationality, inter-art collaboration, and polyphony in ballet. The history of the Finnish National Ballet also covers the history of artists, works of art, styles, techniques, dance education, performance activities, and reception. Kukkonen’s research concentrates on the periods under the direction of ballet master Alexander Saxelin (1935–1954) and George Gé (second period, 1955–1962). The project is funded by the Niilo Helander Foundation, Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, and Finnish Cultural Foundation.
(Photo: The ballet company celebrated its 10th anniversary by performing Swan Lake in 1932. From left: Arvo Martikainen, Lucia Nifontova, director Edvard Fazer, Irja Aaltonen and ballet master George Gé/Pietinen, Finnish Heritage Agency, Historical Picture Collection, Pietinen Collection)
This research concentrates on three opera singers: Emmy Achtén (1850–1924) and her daughters Aino Ackté (1876–1944) and Irma Tervan (1887–1936) and their extensive correspondence via letters. The rich source material, letters mainly in Swedish, reveals several unique points of view on the conventions of opera culture in the 19th and 20th centuries. Additionally, the material on its own is significant from a cultural history perspective and the aim is to publish the correspondence in its entirety. The members of the research project: Anne Kauppala and Ulla-Britta Broman-Kananen. The project has been funded by Svenska Litteratursällskapet i Finland, the foundation of Emil Aaltonen and Oskar Öflunds Stiftelse.
(Photo: K. Reenkola`s home archive)
Aino ja Heikki
Aino ja Heikki -project uses opera singer Aino Ackté’s and Heikki Renvall’s (1872–1955) correspondence letters, written mainly in Finnish. Between the years of 1895 and 1917 Ackté and Renvall wrote about 2000 letter to each other. The letters provide several insights into the behind the scenes information, the writers’ views about the international opera culture and the forming of the Finnish political system. In the center of the letter correspondence is also their long distance romantic relationship, which they tried to keep alive. The members of the research project: Anne Kauppala, Ulla-Britta Broman-Kananen and Kaarina Reenkola. The project has been funded by the foundation of Alfred Kordel.
(Photo: K. Reenkola`s home archive)
Letter correspondence by Jean Sibelius and Aino Ackté
The aim for this project is to copy, edit and to prepare for publication the correspondence letter of Jean Sibelius and the Achté family in their original languages (mainly in Swedish) and as a Finnish translation (from Swedish). This correspondence covers about 60 letters dated between 1899 and 1936. The published version of the letters will be annotated with information found through the research work and with essays that contextualize events described in the letters. The members of the research project: Anne Kauppala, Ulla-Britta Broman-Kananen ja Timo Virtanen. Project is funded by: Svenska kulturfonden.
(Photo: Aino Ackte/Stålberg/Helsinki City Museum)
Music, Nature and Environmental Crises
Juha Torvinen's project Music, Nature and Environmental Crises: A Northern Perspective on Ecocritical Trends in Contemporary Music studies the significance of music to our general ecological awareness. The project is funded by Academy of Finland 2017-2019 (finished).
Nature has been one of the most common topics in music throughout the history. However, this close relationship between music and nature has changed radically in recent decades as our relationship to nature is today strongly affected by consciousness of environmental crises. Different cultural products have a great significance for our general understanding of ecological problems and their consequences, because cultural products address the values, meanings and experiences these problems involve. The present project studies the ways in which music, especially contemporary northern classical music, contributes to the negotiation of environmental values.
At the same time, the project offers an musicological viewpoint to general humanistic study of ecological problems and ponders what is the responsibility of researchers of art and culture with respect to environmental concerns.
The history of playing the piano in Finland
Annika Konttori-Gustafsson is researching the history of playing the piano in Finland based on a research project Pianonsoiton historia Suomessa by Margit Rahkonen. This project outlines the culture of piano playing, its history, conventions and its musical heritage, by looking into the interaction between national and international music cultures through different eras, as the source. The purpose for the symposiums organized by DocMus-graduate school (2014, 2016 and 2018) has been to record the different research conducted on the topic and to bring together researchers, educationalists and performing artists and students, studying piano playing.
The project has created an anthology Kartanoista kaikkien soittimeksi. Pianonsoiton historiaa Suomessa (DocMus-graduate school’s publications 8, copy edited by: Margit Rahkonen, Annikka Konttori-Gustafsson & Markus Kuikka).
(Photo: Piano educationalist Ingeborg Hymander at her home (Snellmaninkatu 15) February 1931. Finnish National Board of Antiquities, collection by Pietinen).
Tallinn 67 -jazzfestival
Heli Reimann`s research on history of jazz festival Tallinn 67 focuses on different modes of manifestation the event evoked during 50 years. The significance of the event relies in fact that it was the first international jazz festival in the closed conditions of Soviet Union with foreign groups from Finland, Sweden, Poland and United States. In global context Tallinn 67 was a unique cultural encounter between Soviet Union and West during the Cold War period. The research is funded by the Koneen Säätiö.
The heritagisation of music in Finland
Antti-Ville Kärjä`s project focusses on heritagisation of music in Finland. In the project, heritagisation is understood as evaluative and active selection of past phenomena and practices for the present cultural, social and economic purposes. Thus cultural heritage is approached as as a process and a practice that is always predicated on current social and societal values. In the construction of cultural heritage, institutionalised national and regional values, artefacts, products and expressive forms accrue pronounced significance, resulting in conceptualisations of a population’s “own” cultural heritage and in distinguishing it from others. Hence, the overall research question in the project is: how is music heritage constructed in Finland, nationally and regionally?
This entails further conceiving music heritagisation as political activity in the sense that it is implicated in socio-cultural power relations and ideologies. The selective and political nature of music heritagisation means that there are always processes of inclusion and exclusion involved, and thus the project is geared towards interrogating the power relations of heritagisation of music in Finland, both nationally and regionally as well as in relation to the cultural expression of ethnic minorities.
The research material consists of official documentation regarding intangible cultural heritage, music historiography and other relevant sources. The analysis aims at unearthing "authorised music heritage discourse" in Finland. This entails focusing also on the musical phenomena and practices excluded from the discourse, to the extent they become conceptualised as "cultural rubbish". Moreover, the project centres specifically on the interrelations between music heritagisation and the history of racism in Finland.
Controls and taxation: A licensing and taxation system for music and musicians in Prague between 1894-1918
Risto Pekka Pennanen's research project addresses the following completely neglected aspects of the music culture of Prague in the last decades of the existence of the Austria-Hungarian empire: music taxation, music licences for restaurateurs and musicians, and the surveillance of music, musicians, and the sound landscape indoors and on the streets.
However, the subject of the research does not cover music that was performed in private rooms or concert halls, or religious or military music, as these places and genres did not require official approval. Of particular interest are plans by the city of Prague’s government authority in 1913 for a truly extensive entertainment tax and instrument tax which would cover even private homes. These tax plans did not materialise, but there was a tumultuous debate around them both within the City Council and in the press.
The research project is funded by the Otto A Malm Donation Fund and the Kone Foundation.
(Photo: Kilián Glückauf, blind flugelhorn and barrel organ player from Prague, circa 1900 / Prague City Museum, Zikmund Reach Collection).
Microhistorical perspectives on female involvement in restaurant music in the late nineteenth century in Europe
In her post-doc project, Nuppu Koivisto studies female musicians who have remained on the margins of music history. Music professionals in cafés, restaurants, and variety theatre will be heard in the project entitled Nimettömät, näkymättömät, unohdetut: mikrohistoriallisia näkökulmia naisten ravintolamusiikkitoimintaan 1800-luvun lopun Euroopassa (‘Anonymous, invisible, forgotten: microhistorical perspectives of women's restaurant music in late nineteenth century Europe).
The project covers the personal histories of female-dominated salon orchestras, female vocal groups, and soloists at a grassroots level. Although the focus of the research is on the Grand Duchy of Finland, the perspective is fundamentally transnational as, in the late nineteenth century, restaurant performers moved effortlessly across state, language, and cultural borders. By looking at their touring activities, it is possible to visualise the multidimensional network of entertainment culture around the Baltic Sea region.
In connection with her post-doc project, Koivisto researches female composers in nineteenth century Finland in cooperation with Doctor Susanna Välimäki PhD. Within the project entitled Sävelten tyttäret (‘The daughters of music’), they will publish, among other things, a non-fiction book, blog posts, and scholarly and popular articles. Another goal is to make music that has been composed by women more visible to the general public, music professionals, and researchers alike.