Remembering Kalevi Kiviniemi: Organ Music of Jean Sibelius

Kalevi Kiviniemi, the renowned Finnish concert organist, passed away on April 3 at his home in Lahti after suffering a heart attack. He was 65.

Kiviniemi’s international career blossomed in the late 1980s, with recitals throughout Europe, the United States, Asia, and Australia. He was at home among the world’s greatest organs, and performed frequently at Notre-Dame in Paris. Kiviniemi was the first to record the complete organ works of Jean Sibelius.

Intrada, Op. 111a

Sibelius’ first piece specifically for the organ, Intrada, Op. 111a, was composed in 1925 for the visit of the King and Queen of Sweden. It has been called “one of the grandest of Finnish organ works,” with a “monumental and orchestral” quality that makes it “a little sister to the seventh symphony, a kind of Olympian wood-shaving from the larger block.” As with so much of Sibelius’ orchestration, Intrada embraces the dark lower register of the instrument. Warm and majestic, it is music which culminates in thrilling harmonic transcendence.

Surusoitto, Op. 111b

Composed in 1931, Surusoitto (“Mournful Music”) is said to be Sibelius’ last instrumental work. It was written for the funeral of Sibelius’ friend, the Finnish artist, Akseli Gallen-Kallela. Haunting and desolate, it is the fleeting musical farewell of a composer who, unable to complete his eighth symphony, would drift off into compositional silence for the final decades of his life.

Finlandia, Op. 26

Kalevi Kiviniemi’s spectacular performance of Finlandia is filled with colors and emotional power. It was recorded in 2015 in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Sibelius’ birth. We hear the main organ at Tampere Cathedral, one of Finland’s largest with 68 stops.


About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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