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Sanat & Sävelet [Words & Music] is a concert programme designed as an interaction between an author, his novel and top-quality musicians. Author Kjell Westö is himself involved as a performer and meets readers on tour: autographed copies of his novel Tritonus are available at the concerts. Tour stops in Tampere, Helsinki and Turku, 28 November to 2 December 2020.
Tritonus is a thematically rich novel where Kjell Westö addresses multiple universal and always relevant topics such as the importance of friendship and music; the greatest fears of people today, from pandemics to eco-disasters and terrorist attacks; the idealisation of physically strong men; the need for withdrawal and solitude on the one hand and the need for healing as part of a community and a circle of friends on the other. And we must not forget the sensual aspect of human existence, the desire for love and physical intimacy.
The novel is equally rich in musical content, with hundreds of inspiring references sprinkled throughout the narrative. Both the publisher of the Finnish version (Otava) and the publisher of the Swedish original (Förlaget) have posted music playlists on their website, complete with expansive commentaries by Westö. It is from these elements that the ‘Words & Music’ tour was born. The concert venues are Tampere Hall, the Savoy Theatre in Helsinki and Turku Concert Hall.
The programme features mezzosoprano Jenny Carlstedt, pianist Tuomas Turriago, flautist Anna Aminoff, clarinettist Mark Reding, pianist Marja Rumpunen, the FinesTRE string quartet, guitarist Mikko Kosonen and author Kjell Westö, interviewed by Paulina Ahokas, managing director of Tampere Hall.
“We are keeping the musical programme a secret, but what we can say is that we will visit the musical worlds of both conductor Thomas Brander and cover band leader Reidar Lindell [the main characters of the novel] in performances by some of Finland’s finest musicians,” says Paulina Ahokas.
For some years now, Tampere Hall in its role as an event producer has been developing a new kind of concert concept built around the musically rich creative work of Finnish authors, philosophers and other writers.
“The publication of Kjell Westö’s stunning and topical Tritonus coinciding with the coronavirus pandemic made it a no-brainer for us to create this programme at this particular time. Never before have we had such a need to surround ourselves with beauty, with safe shared experiences and with a dialogue helping us to understand everything that is going on around us,” Paulina Ahokas concludes.
Authors also miss being in touch with their readers.
“Being an author, I feel that I cope quite well with solitude and often even need it. Nevertheless, I have always had a huge appreciation for encountering and exchanging opinions with the public, with readers. Now, however, I realise with increased clarity how vital these encounters are. Thinking is starved if there is no interaction. Music is also important for me, and I am pleased to be able to hear the performances of these fantastic artists,” says author Kjell Westö.
“Although the Book Fair is not going ahead in its traditional form in Finland this year, it is important for there to be public discussion about reading and about books, and for readers to be able to share their thoughts. There is a demand in Finland for a concept like this. The various branches of the arts are siblings, and there are many authors who have a second spiritual home in music, so to speak. Combining literature with music is an excellent vehicle for engaging with audiences,” says Kjell Westö.
“We are really pleased to be able to bring this programme based on Kjell Westö’s best-selling novel to Turku. We would like to thank Kjell Westö, Paulina Ahokas and Tampere Hall for this very timely project. The Turku Music Festival has been working with partnerships like this for a few years now, in keeping with our new strategy. Our audiences are already familiar with productions linking quality literature with quality music. Westö has promised that he will increase the number of extracts he reads in Swedish at the concert in Turku, as befits our bilingual city,” says Liisa Ketomäki, managing director of the Turku Music Festival.
Sanat & Sävelet [Words & Music] concert tour
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