Male Fantasies in Einar Englund's Symphony No. 1: The Symphony as a Technology of Male Gender Articulation

Article excerpt

THIS ARTICLE ADDRESSES THE CULTURAL and social appreciation linked with Einar Englund's Symphony No. 1 (1946), involving the audience, the composer, and the performers, and particularly how male gender articulation was enhanced by the symphony. Addressing these issues requires a focus on the interconnections between Englund's symphony and Finnish musical culture after World War II. I am interested in understanding why this piece became so popular after the war. Of the four performances between 1947 and 1956, all except the first were also broadcast on the national radio. This frequent performance rate is exceptional. Much more common would have been a single performance, followed by a sinking into oblivion. (2)

(1.) I read earlier versions of this work as papers at the 5th Symposium of the Finnish Musicological Society, Oulu, Finland, 19-21 April 2001, and the 7th International Congress on the Musical Signification Project, Imatra, Finland, 7-10 June 2001. I thank Lucy Green, Marianne Kielian-Gilbert, Pirkko Moisala, Raymond Monelle, John Richardson, and Edith Zack for their helpful comments.

(2.) The following is a complete list of Finnish performances of Einar Englund's Symphony Nr. 1: (1) 17 January 1947, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Leo Funtek; (2) 20 January 1948, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Nils-Eric Fougsted; (3) 22 April 1952, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Simon Parmet; (4) 6 March 1956, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Berglund; (5) 30 March 1967, Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, Paavo Rautio; (6) 21 January 1971, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Jorma Panula; (7-32) Ballet Sports, a ballet choreographed by Heikki Vartsi, The Orchestra of Finnish National Opera, Harry Damgaard: 24, 26, 29, and 30 April 1975, 3, 6, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, and 30 May, 5 and 6 June, 30 August, 3, 12, 22, 26, and 29 September, 1 and 8 October, 1 and 8 November 1975; (33) 18 and 19 February 1982, Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, Pertti Pekkanen; (34) 21 November 1985, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Pertti Pekkanen; (35) 15 and 16 March 1990, Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, Ari Rasilainen; (36) 30 March 2000, Oulu Symphony Orchestra, Cecilia Rydinger Alin. The program notes for each performance have been consulted for this article, except for the first one, which I have been unable to locate, and the 1956 performance, for which the notes were not printed owing to the general strike. (The strike, however, was not so general as to prevent Einar Englund (1916-99) holds an important place in the Finnish art music canon. Particularly his early symphonies acted as catalysts for musical modernism after World War II. But when the Finnish musical avant-garde turned during the 1950s to serialism, integral serialism, and particularly in the 1960s to musical anarchism, Englund withdrew. His comeback took place during the early 1970s, when with the advent of musical pluralism, tonality and classical forms became more acceptable. Englund's musical output is large; it includes seven symphonies (1946-89) and concertos for cello (1954), violin (1981), flute (1985), clarinet (1991), and two for piano, which was Englund's own instrument (1955 and 1974). He also wrote chamber music, choral songs, and two ballets, but no operas or solo songs) Much of his music has been published and released on CD.

Although Englund is for the most part known only in Finland, discussing his music outside his (and my) home country is worthwhile. The methodological standpoint, symphony as a technology of male gender articulation, is of more general relevance, and Englund's Symphony No. 1 provided a particularly delicious opportunity for research. Furthermore, writing about a composer who is not a well-known member of the Western art music canon in practice questions the hierarchies present in canon formation both in musical culture and in musicological scholarship.

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