Dies Vilho Luolajan-Mikkola, 93
Dies composer Vilho Luolajan-Mikkola (b. Dec 22, 1911) at the age of 93 on Nov 14, 2005.
Luolajan-Mikkola started his studies at the Sibelius Academy in 1937. He studied composing with Aarre Merikanto and Selim Palmgren (among others), and made his composing diploma in 1946.
Luolajan-Mikkola’s oeuvre has been born mainly in three active periods. Large body of his oeuvre is from 1940s, and during that period he composed many songs, solo works like piano sonata in G minor and sonata for violin and piano. In 1945 he wrote his most popular composition 'Häätanhu' (Wedding dance), a classic in Finnish song repertoire.
The criticism against Luolajan-Mikkola’s old-fashioned idiom was harsh after the World War II, and he ceased to compose for many years. His second active period was as late as the end of 1970s, and the third in the beginning of 1980s.
In 1977 Luolajan-Mikkola completed his main work, the song cycle 'Koiruoho, ruusunkukka' (Wormwood, Rose Flower), a work composed in a span of nearly three decades. 'Koiruusu, ruohonkukka' is a cycle of 14 lyrical songs based on the poetry by P. Mustapää. The subtitle of the work, 'songs of the sorrows and joys of the tinsmith Lindblad', defines very well the character of the work. It is a cycle of changing impressions and feelings of a tinsmith, full of poetic moments shifting from bursts joy to deep despair.
Wind suites from the 1980s
In the beginning of 1980s Luolajan-Mikkola worked with woodwind music. Between 1981 and 1985 he completed four suites for woodwind instruments and piano. The scale of the pieces varies from airy and pastoral summer scenes ('Suvella' [Summertime], 1981) and nature-inspired impressions ('Messilän kartanossa' [At Messilä manor], 1984-1985) to the more urbane and stylish pages on Helsinki ('Elokuisessa Helsingissä' [Helsinki in August), 1983). 'Vaeltaja' (The Wanderer, 1983) tells the story of a bassoon player wandering in Helsinki at nightime. In these woodwind suites Luolajan-Mikkola writes music which epitomizes his ideals and style very well: he uses the full Romantic palette with even pathos but he never sounds over-sentimental. Instead the music has very fresh, warm and humorous features.
Luolajan-Mikkola continued to write until old age: his last work was a song 'Hiljentyen' (Calming) form the year 2001.
16 November, 2005