Composer: Rainer Kuisma
Instrument: Percussion Sextet
In April 1990 SON gave a concert in Hedvig’s Church in Norrköping with Franz Welser-Möst as conductor in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Unannounced they also performed Kuisma’s Three Galaxies, which was very well received, and since then listeners have requested this piece. Three Galaxies has been performed yet a couple of times, for instance in London by Welser-Möst, when he was principle conductor of Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. It was also performed at the celebrations for Kuisma’s 90th birthday at the Royal Academy in Stockholm under the baton of Joakin Anterot and also in Norrköping by SON’s present percussionists: Anders Dahlstedt, Lars Gärd, Martin Orraryd and Petter Svensson. Rainer Kuisma died a year later, at the age of 91.
On January 20, 1988, a very beautiful day, Kuisma had an idea while he was free from his obligations leading a percussion master class in Räyskälä, Finland. And before evening he had composed Three Galaxies. He actually wrote the piece on top of another work, since he had no blank sheet of music paper.The premiere took place the very next day!
Three Galaxies is played by three groups of players, heading in different directions. The magic number of 7 is essential: 7 tam-tams are needed, and the piece has 49 bars. Andante religioso is the initial character, unfolding in a vast space, densifying more and more and finally collapsing at the pinnacle. The epilogue simply dies away…
Player 1: 3 Tam-Tams (64,40 and 25 cm)
Player 2: 1 Tam-Tam (71 cm), Large Suspendad Cymbal, Little Bells on a String
Player 3: Tubular Bells
Player 4: 1 Tam Tam (100 cm), Gran Cassa
Player 5: 1 Tam-Tam (50 cm), Large Suspended Cymbal, Metal Wind Chimes
Player 6: 2 Tam-Tams (120 and 30 cm)
The size of Tam-Tams can vary in limited scales.
About the composer +
Rainer Kuisma was born in Helsinki, Finland, in 1931. He trained to be a percussionist and was engaged as timpanist by the Helsinki City Orchestra and later by the Symphony Orchestra of the Swedish Radio, where he soon became a legend. He was recruited by Norrköpings Symphony Orchestra, SON, where his terms were so good that they gave him possibility to pursue a career as a soloist. Among the orchestras he has performed with are the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Helsinki, the Symphony Orchestra of the Swedish Radio and SON. He has taught at Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm.
In his rich oeuvre percussion holds an important position, with works such as Etyd (1971), Hommage à Béla Bartók (1973), Improvisations for six percussionists (1981) and Three Galaxies (1990). But there are also concerts for timpani (1996), bass trombone, Flores pueritiae meae, (1999), double bass, The Yellow Chair, (2002) and bass tuba (2005).
His arrangement of Darius Milhaud’s Saudades do Brazil was made in collaboration with the composer. It was praised by Aulis Sallinen who also dedicated his second symphony to Kuisma, a work which he premiered and also recorded. When the symphony was performed at the festival Music on Gotland, the press wrote: “Rainer Kuisma’s contribution was of world-class (…) an achievement, musically with brilliant nuances and a dazzling show”. His orchestral works have been performed by conductors such as Göran W Nilsson, Michael Bartosch, Daniel Harding, Michail Jurowski, Jin Wang and Franz Welser-Möst.
With support from Koda’s Cultural Funds.
A special thanks to Daniel Berg, Joakim Anterot, Anders Dahlstedt, Anders Holdar and Stig J for making this edition possible
Front Cover Design: Ronni Kot Wenzell
Translation: Björn Nilsson
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
Copyright © Edition SVITZER