Lemminkainen (Score & Parts)-OB&EH/FL/KB/PN
Composer: Serna-Grey, Ben
Publisher: Subito Music (USA)
for oboe/English horn, flute, string bass, and piano
by Ben Serna-Grey- American composer
I wrote this set of songs based off a chapter in the Kalevala, Finland's national epic, with the intentions of making a larger song cycle. In this chapter of the Kalevala, Lemminkainen, young and cocky, has gone off to Northland (Norway), where he sees the daughter of the lord of Northland ad decides he wants to marry her. The Lord of Northland tells Lemminkainen that in order to marry the maiden of Northland, he must first catch (or kill, depending on the translation) hell's horse, hell's elk, as well as the swan of the river of death. The first song comes in while Lemminkainen is hunting for these creatures, eventually coming to Tuonela where he sees the swan in its calm and beauty. While he is gazing at the swan, Dripcap, the blind woodcutter of Northland stumbles upon Lemminkainen, murders him, dismembers him and dumps his body into the River of Death.
In the next song, Lemminkainen's mother grows worried about him, and goes to ask Old Man, the name of God in the Kalevala, where her son is. He tells her to go to Tuonela, the island of the dead.
In the next song, Lemminkainen's mother is weeping at Tuonela, where she sees her son's body parts floating in the river, and the fish of the River of Death swimming below, threatening to eat the corpse. She fishes his body parts out of the river, and sews him back together, then begins to sing a lullaby.
In the final song, Lemminkainen's mother begins a chant to sing Lemminkainen back to life. He's reluctant to get there, moving back towards living slowly before finally rejoinging his mother. She is, however, still terrified of him dying forever.
Oboe doubles English horn