HELVI LEIVISKÄ (1902-1982): Symphony No. 1, Piano Concerto in D Minor in D Minor, Op. 7. Oliver Triendl (piano), Staatskapelle Weimar; Ari Rasilainen.
Catalogue Number: 09Z001
Label: Hännsler Classic
Description: Helvi Lemmikki Leiviskä was born in 1902 in Helsinki. She studied piano and composition under Erkki Melartin (1875–1937) and Arthur Willner (1881–1959). Despite her extensive studies, Leiviskä’s main occupation was a librarian at the Sibelius Academy between 1933–1968. Her compositions include three numbered symphonies, Triple fugue for orchestra, cantatas, a movie score. orchestral suites, songs, violin sonata, piano works, and chamber music. Leiviskä never married, she died in 1982 of natural causes, never reached real fame but was able to experience happiness with friends and nature, especially during her regular visits to Finnish Lapland. The piano concerto in D minor was composed between 1931–1935 and premiered on November 23, 1935, by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Toivo Haapanen, with Ernst Linko as the soloist. The concerto is preserved only as a piano reduction and instrument parts, but the original score is lost. The piano part contains several cuts and facilitations by the 1935 soloist, while the instrument parts show no omissions. The most probable result was that the orchestra played some passages without the soloist. For this recording, Leiviskä’s original solo part was restored. Several reviews, mostly under pseudonyms, discussed the symphony after its first performance. The reviews were mostly favorable. It was both praised and criticized for its structure and the inclusion of the waltz motive, and comments on the themes and melodies were also ambiguous. After 1948, the symphony was performed three more times until 1951. After 70 years of silence, the symphony was resurrected in 2022.