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April in Brazil

It has been a busy month this April. Ten days in Brazil, Recife, where we gave the premiere of Tomi Räisänen's new piano concerto "Sublunar Mechanics" with the city orchestra and Osman Giuseppe Gioia. Osman had taken enough time to rehearse with the orchestra, which is generous and seldom the case in these days. Thank that and his engagement, the complex work got a premiere of its worth. What struck me right at the outset is the hard working conditions people have there. We often think of the coldness and hard winters that Nordic countries are subjected to. Not so often regard we how hard life can be when temperatures are over 30°C all the time, the humidity reaches 90% mark daily and the conditions remain so day and night.

The more pleasant was swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, which was first time for me. Porto de Galinhas is one of the most beautiful beaches Brazil has, and Osman took me and my girlfriend as well as Tomi, the composer, with him as he and his lovely wife Karen took a trip there one Saturday. That was the time that I really started thinking about moving to Brazil altogether...

"Sublunar Mechanics" itself is a work of high degree of complexity, although it utilizes repetitions and other minimalistic features. It even has a quotation of Beethoven built in. As I once asked Tomi about this, his answer was remarkable: "You know, I used to be in Prague composing this movement and training for my next Marathon (this fellow is a passionate runner, you must know!). It seemed that a motive wanted to get through... it sounded somehow familiar but I couldn't figure out what it remained me of. Once I realized it was close enough to the 2nd movement of Beethoven's 7th, I thought: let it be Beethoven altogether". So now, there exists a layer of Beethoven in the second movement that eventually remains the listener of a great tradition. Also, his way of composing strikes a sympathetic chord in me. Although a master of structures and composing technique, he never lets his technique roll over the art but rather utilizes it to lend the spirit a voice.

Back home there was of course that jet lag I could have skipped, but who cares – it was a great trip and a great experience. Thank you everybody!

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