ROBERT KAJANUS (
Helsinki , 2 December 1856 – Helsinki, July 6 1933)
was a Finnish conductor, composer and teacher. In 1882, he founded the
Helsinki Orchestral Society , Finland's first professional orchestra.
As a conductor, he was also a notable champion and interpreter of the
Jean Sibelius .
* 1 Life
* 2 Family
* 3 Selected works
* 4 Kajanus and Sibelius
* 5 References
* 6 External links
Kajanus studied music theory with Richard Faltin and violin with
Gustaf Niemann in
Helsinki , with Hans Richter ,
Carl Reinecke and
Salomon Jadassohn in
Leipzig , and
Johan Svendsen in
Paris . His
music drew on the folk legends of the Finnish people.
He worked in
Dresden in the years immediately after his graduation,
and returned to
Helsinki in 1882. He founded the first permanent
orchestra in Finland: the
Helsinki Orchestral Society (later to become
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra , Finland's national orchestra).
He brought the orchestra to a very high performance standard very
quickly, so that they were able to give quite credible performances of
the standard late classical/mid-romantic repertory. Kajanus led the
Helsinki Philharmonic for 50 years, and among the milestones of that
history was the first performance in
Finland of Beethoven 's Symphony
No. 9 in 1888.
Kajanus was appointed director of music at the University of Helsinki
in 1897 and remained in the post for the next 29 years, a period in
which he had a major impact on music education in his native country.
He was also the founder of the Nordic Music Festival in 1919. He
received many decorations, including the French Légion d\'honneur .
Kajanus's parents were Georg August Cajanus (1812-1888) and Agnes
Ottilia Flodin (1824-1902).
Robert Kajanus was the father of the
harpists Lilly Kajanus-Blenner (1885-1963) and Aino Kajanus-Mangström
(1888-1951) and the violinist Kaj Kajanus (1908-1994); the grandfather
of Johanna Kajanus , an award-winning Finnish/Norwegian sculptor; and
great-grandfather of pop musician and composer
Georg Kajanus , who was
famous for a while in Great Britain with his band Sailor which enjoyed
chart success in the mid-1970s.
Kajanus composed over 200 works, of which Aino and the Finnish
Rhapsodies are enduringly popular. He also orchestrated the Finnish
national anthem ,
Maamme (Our Country) and Christian Fredric Kress 's
Porilaisten marssi (March of the People of Pori), the honor march of
the Suomen puolustusvoimat (
Finnish Defense Forces
Finnish Defense Forces ) and thus,
effectively, the Finnish presidential march.
* Aino, symphonic poem for male chorus and orchestra (1885)
* Suomalainen rapsodia (Finnish rhapsody) No. 1 in D minor, Op. 5
* Suomalainen rapsodia (Finnish rhapsody) No. 2 in F major (1886)
* Huutolaistytön kehtolaulu (The Pauper Girl's Lament)
* Kullervon surumarssi (Kullervo's Funeral March), Op. 3 (1880);
contains the folk tune "Velisurmaaja" ("The brother-slayer")
* Lyrische Stücke (1879)
* Overtura sinfonica for orchestra (1926)
* Piano Sonata (1876)
* Sechs Albumblätter (1877)
* Sotamarssi (War March), with lyrics by A. Oksanen - arr. by Arvo
Kuikka as an honor march of the Suomen ilmavoimat (
Finnish Air Force )
* Sinfonietta in B flat major for strings, Op. 16 (1915)
* Suite ancienne for strings (1931)
* Violin Sonata (1876)
KAJANUS AND SIBELIUS
Kajanus had a decisive impact upon the development of the career of
Jean Sibelius . He was considered an authority on the interpretation
of Sibelius's music, and he and Sibelius were close friends; but this
was compromised in 1898 when Sibelius was appointed to a university
post for which Kajanus was himself a candidate. Kajanus appealed, and
the decision was overturned. But they reconciled for the orchestra's
tour of Europe in 1900, where they appeared at the Exposition
Universelle at the invitation of the French government.
Sibelius's epic masterpiece, was written in the wake of Kajanus'
symphonic poem Aino although Sibelius denied any exertion of influence
of this piece over his own work. Additionally, as a conductor, Kajanus
was responsible for commissioning one of Sibelius' most popular and
En Saga , following the success of Kullervo.
Pohjola\'s Daughter was dedicated to Kajanus. When Kajanus took the
Helsinki Orchestra on a tour of Europe in 1900 both he and Sibelius
conducted, including what proved to be the first performances of
Sibelius's music outside of Finland. This ensured the spread of the
young composer's reputation far beyond the borders of his homeland,
the first Finnish composer to receive such attention.
Kajanus was the first to make recordings of Sibelius's First , Second
, Third and Fifth symphonies and Tapiola. They were recorded in the
early 1930s, with the
London Symphony Orchestra
London Symphony Orchestra . The relationship
between Kajanus and Sibelius was such that his interpretations of the
composer's music are usually regarded as authentic.
In 1930, the Finnish government and Britain's EMI-Columbia label,
perceiving a potentially wide audience for the composer's work,
jointly arrange to record Sibelius's first two symphonies, and Kajanus
was selected to record both at the insistence of the composer. In 1932
Kajanus recorded Symphonies Nos. 3 and 5, along with orchestral suites
and tone poems. This was a massive recording project for the work of a
living composer, and the recordings have been considered definitive
for many years and are regarded as necessary listening in the study of
Sibelius. Only his death in July 1933, at the age of 76, prevented
Kajanus from recording all of Sibelius' works.
* ^ A B Finnish Music Information Centre
Robert Kajanus biography
page; accessed 29 March 2011.
* ^ Yrjö Kotivuori, Ylioppilasmatrikkeli 1640–1852: Georg August
Kajanus. Verkkojulkaisu 2005 . visited 22.3.2015.
* ^ http://www.geni.com/people/Agnes-Flodin/5500561413610117694
* ^ BIS Records : Finlandia : A Festival of Finnish Music
* ^ fi:Porilaisten marssi
* ^ Puolustusvoimat: Ilmavoimat
* ^ Finnish Music Information Centre
Robert Kajanus in Profile by
Kimmo Korhonen, 2000; accessed 29 March 2011.