Savon Soitannollinen seura

Savonia Musical Society

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why are you doing this? Is it not obvious that the best compositions are the ones that survived and no longer have to be discovered?
A: The formation of the musical canon is a complex issue - and it was not always there. In the 18th century, practically all music was "modern music" but by the early 19th century the narrative of a singular genius as the composer started to emerge. Establishing some composers as the great masters was a multi-faceted process that not only included the quality or popularity of his (usually not her) works but also the societal need for national figures, politics, pure chance, lobbying and personal preferences of critics and historians. At the society we feel that the assignment of a composer into the classical music canon is not an automatic guarantee of the quality of his works, nor of the inferiority of the works of others. We try to assess each work by its own merits and not based on the person who composed it.

Q: Why are you concentrating on female composers? Is this not biased?
A: While there are lots of male composers, whose music we would like to have performed more often (for example, Rued Langgaard, Alfredo Casella, etc.), the dampening of the voices of female composers was much more systematic - not necessary silencing but dampening. Throughout the 19th and most of the 20th century there were written and unwritten rules about the inferiority of women when it came to harmonic thinking, and it was deemed unsuitable for women to compose symphonies and string quartets that "required the most analytical thought". Songs and small-scale piano works were considered more suitable. Because of this, we concentrate on the large-scale works to bring the female composers also visible and heard by providing the principal works of a concert - a spot mostly reserved for male composers of the classical canon. In addition, the output of female composers remained low because of their inability to concentrate full-time on their work. Due to all this, we're essentially missing 45-50 % of all classical music that we could have now, if the women had been given the means to cherish and advance their profession similarly to men. In the future, once we've covered the important works by women, we are more than willing to take on also dismissed male composers.