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essay: What’s new on Tolkien

Letters, Recordings and Performances

“… the most overwhelming pleasure
was provided by Finnish …
But … there been another call …
I heard it coming out of the west …
O’Donnell Lecture by JRR Tolkien
Oxford University, 21 October 1955

On the inaugural O’Donnell Lectures at Oxford University Professor Tolkien recalled the country he got acquainted with after reading The Kalevala and the Finnish Grammar by Sir Charles Eliot. Tolkien began writing his The Story of Kullervo when he was a student at Oxford and most likely before the beginning of the “war to end all wars” – eventually he also began to write an essay on The Kalevala before going to France in 1916, less than a month prior to the deadly Battle of Somme. In his essay Tolkien was interested in comparative mythography, specially in the cases of Finnish and Welsh mythologies. On the present occasion I’d like to tell the reader about two stage works based in the writings of Tolkien, one from Wales and another from Finland.

I began my contact with the British composer Paul Corfield Godfrey (now living in South Wales) thanks to the kindness of Simon Crosby Buttle, the awarded British tenor working for the Welsh National Opera since 2009. According to the legend, Mr. Buttle approached Mr. Godfrey and they eventually considered the performance of sections from the latter’s scores after Tolkien’s books: The Professor was still working at the University when Godfrey first read his works. In 1971 orchestral excerpts Godfrey’s The Hobbit were performed in London – and that was before Orson Bean voiced the first Frodo and Bilbo Baggins that appeared in the movies (Bean would also become involved with Reichian psychoanalytic therapy).

Nonetheless, events prior to those in The Hobbit would definitely strike Godfrey. I am of course speaking of The Silmarillion, which is often considered one of Tolkien’s more difficult texts. To avoid confusion, I have prepared a table with a brief timeline of Tolkien’s works (The Silmarillion comprises events from Creation up to the Second Age). From top to bottom, the first row defines the different periods in Tolkien’s Legendarium and the second identifies Tolkien’s works related to each period. Finally, I offer a brief account of each period:


Ages of Lamps and Age of Trees

First Age

Second Age

Third Age

Fourth Age


Quenta Silmarillion


The Hobbit

The Lord of the Rings

Creation of the World and the Gods

Creation and destruction of the Lamps. Creation of the Two Trees.

Destruction of the Trees. Silmarills are forged. Sauron arises after the defeat of Morgoth

The Rings of Power are forged. Sauron is “defeated.”

Bilbo Baggins acquires The One Ring.

The One Ring is destroyed.

Godfrey and Buttle saga continued, they were joined by the Volante Opera Productions -with its headquarters in Cardiff, it was founded in 1999 by Julian Boyce (Buttle’s colleague at the Welsh National Opera). Eventually, Prima Facie Records, which previously released songs and chamber music by Godfrey, also joined the efforts. And thus the Company was formed, little by little, as in the events described in The Council of Elrond.

On July 2023 The Complete Silmarillion was made available to the public. I’ve listened to it all and had substantial discussions with the composer. Allow me please to share a few notes. The whole cycle is being sold in a box with 5 double-CDs accompanied by a 128 pages guide to the listener and the complete libretto – it’s being sold for £65, but one may buy each of the 5 CDs separately for £15 at the official website. The first recording appeared originally in 2018, it was related to The Fall of Gondolin (so it was not the first chapter of the The Complete Silmarillion). In 2023, the fifth, The War of Wrath, was released along with the complete box set.

Godfrey’s The Complete Silmarillion is certainly a great collectible for a die-hard Tolkien fan. It’s a majestic work of musical art that covers the Ainulindalë (The Music of the Ainur”), a section from the Age of Trees, the First Age (in more detail) and brief allusions to the Second Age. It should be remembered that Christopher Tolkien himself (the Professor’s son who edited The Silmarillion and published many of his father’s works) assisted Godfrey in the original stages of his creative process – sadly, Christopher passed away at the age of 75 in 2020.

Godfrey’s Silmarillion-cycle is undoubtedly the largest-ever recording after Tolkien’s works (“now total over ten hours” – the composer told me). And though nowhere close to Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Licht (with 29 hours) nor Richard Wagner’s Ring (with 15) it is surely the largest-ever musical composition created in Wales, a small country but rich in tradition – not only for its early depictions of the Arthuriana, but also as being the homeland of the House of Tudor – including Queen Elizabeth I.

The recordings might not please every listener. They are labeled as Demo Recordings, with no orchestra involved – this made me constantly think on Luigi Pirandello’s Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore but in an somehow inverted situation (and hopefully an orchestra will be found!). Buttle offered what I believe to be but a temporary solution: a sampled orchestra (opposed to synthesised). Even so, other artists from the chorus of the Welsh National Opera joined, including Angharad Morgan as Galadriel (she also offers lessons in singing) and Jasey Hall as Sauron (who is also a skilled tubist). Buttle, by the way, appears in many roles, including Elrond and Ëarendil.

The Ainulindalë (CD1: Fëanor) is of outstanding value – it’s Tolkien’s words turned into music in its most exemplary form. Anyone familiar with Tolkien’s writings will remember that the universe was created in The Music of the Ainur. So now we may hear it, as close as it is allowed by the Tolkien Estate. But do not mistake Godfrey’s Ainulindalë with Wagner’s overture for Das Rheingold – the former’s “water theme first appears definitively in the prelude to Scene Seven of Fëanor … But of course there are also the themes associated with [sea-god] Ulmo [performed by Martin Lloyd, who, among many others from the Welsh National Opera chorus, were residents in 2014 at Savonlinna performing Nabucco and Manon Lescaut]” – so said the composer (further confirmed by Buttle). CD1 continues with the story of Fëanor (Simon Buttle), who have been described as a reinvented Ilmarinen, for they were both skilled forgers.

With Fëanor’s death in CD1 we continue with CD2 where the listener joins the love-story between Beren and Lúthien (with Morgan and Boyce in the main roles). I particularly enjoyed the musical treatment on the song The Promise Fulfilled with its oscillations between somber and soft tonalities. You don’t have to understand or have previous knowledge of the text to feel the essence of the section. I speak of course of the doomed Oath of Fëanor (that led to many sorrows and death) and Finrod’s own oath to Beren which fostered the alliance between elves and men.

Still, I was even more thrilled by Lúthien’s dance. In the composer words: “initially as a light-hearted game in her enticement of Beren.” I understand it as a reminiscence of Herder’s translation of the Danish ballad that eventually became Goethe’s Erlkönig (then turned into music by Carl Löwe and Franz Schubert) – with a plot-twist nonetheless. After losing his hand and dying, Lúthien manages to bring Beren back to life after a plea to Mandos (with, in my opinion, not without influence of the Orphic myth). On a discussion over Lúthien’s dance, the composer told me:

I deliberately avoided any attempt to depict the Elves (or hobbits) as ‘fairy-like’ in the style of Mendelssohn, which I am sure Tolkien would have thoroughly disliked – although I find the incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream enchanting, especially when performed in the context of the complete play with all the melodramas included.

Moving on to CD3 (The Children of Húrin), I was at first absorbed by its psychoanalytic implications (being a trained psychotherapist myself, how couldn’t I?). Renowned Finnish psychoanalyst Tor-Bjorn Hagglund once wrote “Kullervo is a prisoner of his own oedipal hatred of his father and his desire for revenge” (p. 172). In addition: “the Oedipus complex of childhood becomes predominantly that of Väinämoinen, of Ilmarinen, of Lemminkänen or of Kullervo” (p. 174). On top of that, the world as we know today could have been deprived of both The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. Though Allen & Unwin had already published The Hobbit, Tolkien’s new writings were rejected by them. This rejection urged the Professor to write a very long letter to Milton Waldman in the early 1950s. On that occasion the former said: “There is the Children of Húrin, the tragic tale of Túrin Turambar … a figure that might be said (by people who like that sort of thing, though it is not very useful) to be derived from elements in Sigurd the Volsung, Oedipus, and the Finnish Kullervo” (Letter 131) – speaking of which, in November 2023, The Expanded Edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Letters was released, with sections from Letter 131 that were previously excluded from the standard volume of Tolkien’s letters. The new Expanded Edition includes 150 new letters and restored ones (such as Letter 131).

Erik Tawaststjerna studied the incest motive in Jean SibeliusKullervo. It’s recognition appears (as the reader certainly knows) in Scene Two, with an oscillation between A flat major and A flat minor: “This is no Tristan-like meeting … it is an encounter between two primitives who experience all powerful sensations and feelings” (p. 116). “Voi, poloinen, päiviäni” (Sibelius, p. 289) sings Kullervo on his lament “accompanied by convulsive chords … and in it Kullervo longs for death” (Tawaststjerna, p. 117). Eventually, Godfrey told me about his speeches to the Dutch Tolkien Society Unquendor “I have there referred to the quotation in my setting of The Children of Húrin from the Sibelius Kullervo symphony – which in turn dovetails neatly into the whole world of the Kalevala and the influence of Finnish mythology on Tolkien’s legends.” At this point, I should ask the reader to forgive me, for the issue is already known, even outside Finland: Godfrey directly quoted Jean Sibelius in his depiction of Túrin Turambar’s recognition of the incest he has committed (though again with Buttle in the role, “the casting would not happen like this if these works were done live”, emphasized the tenor).

On CD4 (The Fall of Gondolin) we are led to the hidden realm of the elves that was so tied with Túrin’s tale. I felt that the song Man Kenuva in Elvish was particularly interesting – it echoes the motive related to the idea of sailing across the Ocean towards the Blessed Realm with echoes from Ulmo (A minor-seventh). Such song appears in the Epilogue titled The Last Ship, which

was selected largely because I wanted a substantial poem in Elvish to be sung by the voices across the water to act as a counterpoint to the setting of The happy mariners … unlike the earlier Elvish hymn to midsummer in Gondolin, there is no attempt to forge an individual ‘Elvish’ style as I attempted in the earlier setting with its overtones of Russian chant and Tudor polyphony and its close approach to the meaning of the text. The more distant and impersonal setting of The last ship will of course be almost incomprehensible to an audience in performance, even if they understood every word of the text – said the composer.

In a even more musicological tone Godfrey pointed out that its

sense of ‘other-wordliness’ is deliberately underlined by the manner in which it moves harmonically in keys that often move away from the principal tonality (as in the final double chorus) and reflects the way in which sounds moving towards or away from the observer are subject to relativistic changes in pitch … I have sought to underline elements in the narrative by appeals to the subconscious ear of the listener.

In CD5 (The War of Wrath), I was astonished by Galadriel’s dance in the Epilogue. It is certainly a traditional motive in the Arts. Though I’m particularly fond of Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach’s Der Feentanz from 1895, one should not disregard Geofrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (of course written in Medieval English): “The elf-queene, with hir joly compaignye; Daunced ful ofte in many a grene mede” (Wife of Bath, 860-1) nor Henry Purcell’s “Trip it, trip it in a Ring; Around this mortal dance, and Sing” (p. 6, 1693). According to Godfrey:

The music for the Elvish dance at Galadriel’s words in the Epilogue [of The War of Wrath, CD5] … goes back a very long way – in fact to the early 1970s when I wrote my opera on The Hobbit, where the rhythm formed the setting of ‘Dance all ye joyful, now dance all together!’ sung by the elves in Rivendell. I later purloined the theme for use in my description of the Outling dance in my setting of Poul Anderson’s The Queen of Air and Darkness (which can be heard also on YouTube), and it fitted ideally into the music at that point in the Epilogue, adding a lift and lightness to the harmonic texture which is then contrasted with the same rhythm slowed down and given a more mournful form by Círdan immediately afterwards.

Artwork: Ted Nasmith Cover Design: Volante Opera Productions Copyright 2023 - used by permission

Artwork: Ted Nasmith
Cover Design: Volante Opera Productions
Copyright 2023 – used by permission

Furthermore, if The Silmarillion is already recorded, we are still waiting for its performance. Godfrey and Buttle are currently working on the stage design for it. As of today, we know only of stage performances and movies on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit – with the exception perhaps of the Children of Húrin, that was rehearsed in Priscilla Tolkien’s home in a preparation for the Oxonmoot in 1982. Moreover, in early 2023, The Watermill Theatre at Berkshire, England, revived the musical spectacle originally created by Shaun McKenna and Matthew Warchus. The Finnish folk music band Värttinä collaborated with Indian composer Allah Rakha Rahman for the original performance in Toronto back in 2006. A shorter performance was prepared for London West End in 2007, and a recording is available.

Furthermore, as many in Finland know already, Suomenlinna was the stage for the 1988 and 1989 performances of The Lord of The Rings, with Kari Väänänen, who also acted in many movies by Aki and Mika Kaurismäki, including La Vie de Bohème (1992) and A Spice for Life (2019). Väänänen acted as both Aragorn and Gollum (better known as Klonkku in Finland) in the 6 hours live production and in the 9 hours and 30 minutes TV show directed by Timo Torikka (who acted as Pippin in the Suomenlinna production). Later on, in 2002 and 2003 the city of Jyväskylä received a production of the Lord of the Rings once again with Toni Edelmann, who had already created the music for Suomenlinna and the TV show.

More recently, the Turku City Theatre offered a performance of The Lord of The Rings. The Helsingin Sanomat from February 16, 2018 gave an overall positive review, though with criticism on the high influence from Peter Jackson’s movies. Next year, the audiences will meet Sami Keski-Vähälä and Pirjo Liiri-Majava works – they worked respectively in the dramatization/adaptation and with costume design for the Turku 2018 performance, and now will join the crew that is preparing a performance in Tampere (Liiri-Majava was also costume designer for the performance of The Hobbit at Turku back in 2021).

At the Tampere Theatre, Ella Mettänen as Frodo will lead the way against the forces of Sauron. The actress already raised awareness to a serious clinical problem that affects social in life in Kipeä Esitys at the Takomo Theatre, Helsinki. If Mettänen spoke of chronic pain at the Takomo she will apparently be tackling – either directly or indirectly – feminist issues at Tampere. It’s certainly one thing to have one of the hobbits (namely Pippin) being performed by an actress (Amelia Gabriel), as it was the case in Watermill/Berkshire. But if all of the 9 members of the “Fellowship of the Ring” were males in the book, now 4 will be females in Tampere. Following Mettännen, Annuska Hannula will appear as Pippin, and Elisa Piispanen as Merry – Samwise Gamgee will still be acted by a male actor (Antti Tiensuu). The last member that is now a female is the dwarf Gimli (Elina Rintala). But it doesn’t stop there: Mouth of Sauron, Gorbag and Shagrat (all evil male characters) will be performed by the same artist that will act as Galadriel (Arttu Soilumo), Arwen (Henna Tanskanen) and Bilbo Baggins (Eeva Hakulinen), respectively. Not that I want to omit the other members of the crew, but it seems to me that Tampere is preparing a radical move that took place incipiently in Berkshire/Watermill – instead of 1 character with a switch of gender, now there are 7.

Gender studies in Tolkien’s works appeared as soon as other serious scholar approaches. The earliest study is possibly Doris Myers Brave New World: The Status of Women According to Tolkien, Lewis and Williams. Published in 1971, Myers’ study was heavily influenced by civil rights movements in the USA during the 1960s and 1970s. According to Janet Croft and Leslie Donovan: “readers and critics have discussed his Middle-earth narratives as lacking in women, preserving cultural stereotypes of female roles, and reflecting antifeminist tendencies” (p. 14). We should possibly also take The Kalevala into account. Scholar Kaarina Kailo stressed out that women are usually represented according to relational terms and are deprived of proper status. And when failing to abide to patriarchal norm, women are deemed as deviant, such is the case, for instance, of Louhi. For Kailo, Elias Lönnrot deliberately reshaped the tales he collected to fit his patriarchal agenda. Such criticism is something to have in mind after the Tampere production of The Lord of The Rings, specially considering the influence The Kalevala had on Tolkien.

In any case, such a feminist approach to Tolkien should be done carefully. As Croft and Donovan observed, there is a “continuing and alarming tendency among some current Tolkien scholars to remain unfamiliar with or to disregard outright the more positive readings of Tolkien’s female characters and gender politics” (p. 16). The authors remembered that even in 2014, after feminist attacks on Tolkien were already heavily worn-out, the author of a chapter for A Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien insisted on the passivity of Tolkien’s female characters.

Finally, it should probably be correct to affirm that Tolkien himself was the first to switch genders of traditional characters – in his own way. In The Silmarillion, Tolkien tells us:

The song of Lúthien before Mandos was the song most fair that ever in words was woven, and the song most sorrowful that ever the world shall hear … And as she knelt before him her tears fell upon his feet like rain upon the stones; and Mandos was moved to pity, who never before was so moved, nor has been since. (p. 186-187)

As the narrative continues until the end of Beren and Lúthien, we may continue to hear the echoes from the Orphic myth, which I chose here to quote after Claudio Monteverdi’s adaptation:

“Ahi sventurato amante,

Onde qual’ ombra errante

D’insepolto cadavero e infelice

Rendetemi’l mio ben, Tartarei Numi”

(1609, pp. 66-68).

– Daniel Röhe

Useful Links:


Croft, Janet and Donovan, Leslie. Perilous and Fair: Women in the Works and Life of J. R. R. Tolkien. Mythopoeic Press, 2015.

Hägglund, Tor-Björn. “The Forging of the Sampo and its Capture.” The Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 1985, 8:2, 159-180.

Monteverdi, Claudio. L’Orfeo. Favola in Mvsica. In Venetia Appresso Ricciardo Amadino, 1609.

Purcell, Henry. The Fairy-Queen. Tonson, 1693.

Sibelius, Jean. Kullervo. Breitkopf & Härtel, 1961.

Tawaststjerna, Erik. Sibelius. Volume I. 1865-1905. Translated by R. Layton. University of California Press, 1976.

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien: Revised and Expanded Edition. William Morrow, 2023.

____. The Silmarillion. Allen & Unwin, 1977.

Dmitri Bashkirov 1931-2021

Dmitri Bashkirov. Kuva © Melodia.

Dmitri Bashkirov. Kuva © Melodia.

Amfion julkaisee Suomessakin usein vierailleen venäläisen pianotaiteilijan Dmitri Bashkirovin muistoksi uudestaan osan E. Tarastin 3.5.2010 julkaistusta esseeestä ”EPISODEJA ERÄÄN PROFESSORIN ELÄMÄSTÄ, OSA 13”:

13.2.2010 Sibelius-Akatemia järjesti Dmitri Bashkirovin pianokurssin, jossa soitettiin Chopinia. Häntä kannattaa aina kuulla ja etenkin opettajana. Mitä muistoja tulvii mieleeni. Soitin itse hänen mestarikurssillaan Jyväskylässä kesällä 1969, opettajani Liisa Pohjolan kehotuksesta. Jyväskylän kesä oli huipussaan  ja siellä kuultiin ensi kertaa Suomessa monia venäläisen koulun mestareita, Jevgeni Malininia ja muita. Kurssilla soittivat kaikki tuon kauden nuoret pianistilupaukseme mutta myös varttuneempia pedagogeja kuten Anna-Liisa  Virtanen, Sakari Heikinheimo,  Aarno Rousi jne. Kurssien armoitettuna tulkkina oli Dmitri Hinze, maeston seuralainen ja hauska kääntäjä. Kerran he myöhästyivät miltei tunnin ja vihdoin saapuessa kurssille Hinze pahoitteli, kun ’maestro ja minä syödä yksi munuaiset’.  Joka tapauksessa soitin Brahmsin d-mollicapriccion ja a-molli-intermezzon.  Bashkirov  oli kiltti ja sanoi, että se soi kauniisti weil sie musikalisch sind, mutta ranteiden pitäisi olla korkeammalla. Tämä vika sitten korjaantui kun pääsin Pariisiin Jules Gentilen oppilaaksi vuotta myöhemmin. Mutta Bashkirov tunnetaan myös hurjasta temperamentistaan ja kiihkeän päälletunkevasta pedagogiastaan. Aikaa on kulunut, mutta  voi sanoa, että opettaessa hän oli sama, joskaan ei luultavasti enää uskalla noudattaa venäläistä pedagogiaa läntisessä maailmassa. Venäjällähän idea on se, että oppilasta haukutaan niin hirveästi,  että hän alkaa pelätä, jonka jälkeen lavalle meneminen ei tunnu  enää miltään itse pianotuntiin verrattuna.

Aluksi kuultiin Chopinin g-molliballadia nuoren pianistin soittamana, jonka nimi oli muistaakseni Gylling. Bashkirov  neuvoi soittamaan nuo bel canto -koruilut aluksi a tempo ja sitten nopeammin. Kuviot on ikään kuin piirrettävä pehmeällä kädellä. Kvartti-intervalli ennen sivuteeman ajateltava kuin orkestroiduksi puhaltimillle. Laskettava kahteen, ei kolmeen. Aivan alun arpeggio-kuviossa napolilaisella soinnulla, ei jokainen nuotti painokkaasra,  kuin sanan tavuja pai-not-ta-en. ”Meillä on ensiksi korvat eli keho … sitten meillä on  sielu. .. ja viimeiseksi  sormet”.  Ennen huipennusta kahdesti (ensiksi mentäessä  A-duuriin ja sitten g- molliin ollaan urkupisteen ja synkopoidun rytmin vankeina, ne ovat eräänlainen ’memento mori’-

Toisena kurssin numerona Väinö Jalkanen soitti preludeja. Bashkirov sanoi: 1. preludi on kehys koko sarjalle. Se on soitettava heti  hengästyneessä agitatossa. Ylä-äänen soitava lopuissa, käsi  ikään kuin hengittää väärin: paino ja kevennys. G-duuri: iloinen episodi suoran e-mollin sairaan tunnelman jälkeen. Koko sarja on tällä tavalla narrativisotava varustettava juonella,  A-duuri preludin,  joka  fraasi päättyy puolinuottiin joka on pidettävä tarpeeksi pitkään. E-duuri: avoin forte. Gis-mollni  kuvio äärimäisellä karaktäärillä,  mutta EI äärimmäisellä voimalla. Vasen käsi:  ei staccato.  pikemmin kuin orkesterin kontrabassojen pizzicatott. B-molli: onko teema murtosointua  vai melodiaa? Siirtymä e-mollista A-duuriin. Unakorda ei ole ambulanssi.

Mutta loppujen lopuksi  kun musiikissa kaksi minuutta, ’Moi’ ta käyvät dialogia, säveltäjän ja pianistin, niin väliin tulee kolmas ’Moi’  opettaja, Missä määrin on hyvä,  että opettaja puuttuu kaikkeen? Bashkirov kyllä lopulta korosti että hänen  puheensa  ovat vain ehdotuksia, jotka oppilas joko hyväksyy tai hylkää.

Bashkirovin oma pianoilta oli odotettu. Mutta klassismi ei nyt niinkään vakuuttanut. Beethovenin Pastoraalisonaatti toi mieleen, että muodon koossapysyminen vaatii eräänlaista muototahtoa, tahdon prinsiippiä,  joka filosofi Jaspersin mukaan on  Dauer als Kontinuität des Sinnes, kestoa merkityksen jatkuvuutena. On siis kyettävä ylläpitämään merkityksen jatkuvuutta,  harvinaisen hyvin sanottu ja pätee musiikiin. Mutta kaikki romanttinen musiikki oli erinomaista, loistavaa, kuin tuulahdus suurta 1800-luvun perinnettä.  Bashkirovin estetiikka perustuu yllätykseen, hän luo koko ajan jotain yllättävää intonaatiota  jota ei arvaisi. Myös Debussy oli erinomaista, L’isle joyeuse, joskin sen prosessi ei ole teleologista vaan  suorastaan orientaalisen  staattista nopeasta temposta huolimatta;  Debnussy oli jo kuullut gamelania!

Reminiscences of Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016)

Einojuhani ja Sini Rautavaara, 2011. Kuva Ari Korkala/Music Finland.

Einojuhani and Sini Rautavaara, 2011. Photo Ari Korkala/Music Finland.

The news about the passing away of the great Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara a few days ago quickly circulated throughout the musical world, yet it was also received as a surprise. That is, we had already started to consider him an ‘omnitemporal’ person who permanently existed in Katajanokka, Helsinki, but had had time to have many phases and successes in his long life. His departure feels almost the same as Jean Sibelius’s, as Rob Weinberg already stated.

Everyone may now remember the Rautavaara whom one was able to know during his life span. Although rather few met him directly any longer in the last years, memories of him live on.

First, many had him as a teacher at the Sibelius Academy even before he was named professor of composition in 1976. Ten years earlier, he was already a celebrity and had received the Wihuri Prize (the same as awarded earlier to a.o. Stravinsky, Shostakovitch and Messiaen). He was my examiner for my music theory exam. He sat at the piano and played a diminished seventh chord in a certain position. “What is this?” he asked. I recognized it: the opening of the finale of Beethoven’s Appassionata. “Great, you have been accepted.”

Later, Rautavaara classified teachers into the following categories: the famous, the nice and the schoolmasters. He himself belonged to the second category, the nice, and thanks to this, a certain kind of pluralism emerged in the music pedagogy of Finland as its main ideological principle. When I defended my thesis on Myth and Music in 1978, I met him at Finlandia Hall, where he said that he understood my topics. After I had become professor at the University of Helsinki, he came to my reception with his young wife Sini. The problem was that Sini had to get a master’s degree in musicology by studying Einojuhani’s music. My colleague Erkki Salmenhaara said that a composer’s spouse cannot study her husband’s music in a sufficiently objective manner. I disagreed, but then things went in another way.

At that time Rautavaara had already entered his opera period. We were able to be present at the premieres of numerous operas: Thomas, Vincent, Aleksis Kivi, Rasputin, The House of the Sun. In many of them the central roles had been written particularly for such singers as Jorma Hynninen and Sini. These operas formed a brilliant series of Finnish stage music, which received high international acclaim. Fortunately, we published from Rautavaara a diary of the creation of Vincent in the magazine Synteesi (for research in the interrelationships of arts) in a thematic issue on Suomalainen ooppera (Finnish Opera, 3/1987). It opens the door on the composer’s creative process in that period.

I notice that I have compared Rautavaara to Stravinsky in many of my earlier essays, with the Europeanity, the Finnishness, the Russianness and the Americanity as the background. He is of the nomadic composer type (also in the sense defined by Daniel Charles). Even the fact that the name of the young Rautavaara was connected via Olga Koussevitsky to Russo-American circles and hence, via Serge Koussevitzky, also to Sibelius – when considering Rautavaara’s A Requiem in our Time – provides him with a mythical glamour. Cantus arcticus made him a pioneer of zoomusicology in the line of Messiaen – François-Bernard Mâche.

But all these phases were preceded by dodecaphonics, as a result of which many intendents of orchestras started at one point to consider him the composer who emptied concert halls. Yet, an academic dissertation appeared to defend even this direction: the doctoral thesis of Anne Sivuoja-Gunaratnam at the University of Helsinki in 1997, which considered this phase even in the light of semiotics. It is quite crucial and conducive to elevating a composer’s profile when theses about the composer are published. Also, another doctoral thesis appeared about Rautavaara, the one by the Pole Wojciech Stępień at the University of Helsinki in 2010 on the ‘angels’ in Rautavaara’s output. The work was later reprinted by the American publisher Ashgate and achieved international fame.

Rautavaara had entered his ‘angel’ period, which may, after all, have been neither spiritually nor technically so far afield from the Icons, composed long before during his time in New York; behind this piano suite we can note his teacher Vincent Persichetti’s diagrams of modes. They were also used by Eila Tarasti in her study on the Icons; in addition, she pondered Rautavaara as a synaesthete. This analysis has appeared in Synteesi but also in English many times, in, for instance, the anthology Musical Semiotics in Growth (1997) (this article will soon appear online on the pages of

The new meditative angel style expressed Rautavaara’s transcendental world view (see Tarasti 2013: 310 for Rautavaara’s position in the paradigm of musical world views of such composers as Sibelius, Mahler, Kalevi Aho, Erik Bergman, Erkki Salmenhaara, Magnus Lindberg, Harri Vuori).

The titles of his symphonies like Angel of Light and Angel of Dusk reflect this style period. In this manner the angel appears in the first mentioned symphony: “The radiance of light is emphasized by being juxtaposed with an equally strong darkening effect. In the third movement of Angel of Light a dark and somber motif ascends against a thick texture of strings in the upper register, as if rising from the depths of the orchestra” (Tarasti 2012: 325). I recall vividly that passage when Mikko Franck conducted the symphony at St. John’s Church in Helsinki. Furthermore, another conductor, David Pickett, commissioned and conducted one of Rautavaara’s symphonies with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra in Indiana.

Angel of Dusk, a double bass concerto, was performed in turn by the Music Society of the University of Helsinki in a concert at the Solemnity Hall in 2003. As we could not get a full symphony orchestra, a version of the work for two pianos was performed, with Marja Rumpunen and Juha Ojala as skilful pianists. Our young friend, the Polish virtuoso Janusz Widzyk from the Berliner Philharmoniker, played as a double bass soloist. After the music, there was a dialogue with the composer in the darkened hall, the participants in armchairs, illuminated only by a big standing lamp to create the atmosphere. Thankfully, all this was recorded on video (the tape resides in the archives of the Department of Musicology at the University of Helsinki).

Another time I was able to arrange a Rautavaara event in the summer congress of the ISI (International Semiotics Institute) in Imatra, Eastern Finland. This took place in the famous Church of the Three Crosses designed by Alvar Aalto, a place of pilgrimage for all architects, in 1999. The composer himself provided accompaniment when Sini performed his Lorca songs. Eila Tarasti played the Icons. The conductor Kalervo Kulmala conducted the Academic Wind Orchestra, which played A Requiem in our Time. Then Markku Heikinheimo played on organ the concerto Annunciations. This became an impressive and memorable evening for semioticians and the rest of the audience.

But even before that event, we had heard that concerto in Minneapolis in St. Paul’s huge Cathedral as a part of a festival dedicated to Rautavaara. It lasted one week in the late winter of 1998 and was funded by the millionaire Aina Swan Cutler. I have commented on this week and Rautavaara’s speeches there in my diary Minnesota 1999 (see Tarasti 2004, but also the magazine Rondo; this report will likewise appear on the pages of

I was in collaboration with Rautavaara in those years when he still taught at the Sibelius Academy, in, for example, the lecture series on contemporary music, which he chaired. He also visited my Department. Rautavaara’s speeches about music were always incredibly witty, showing a remarkable erudition. He belongs to those writing composers in the line of Wagner, Busoni or Stravinsky. He had always something humorous and unusual but also profound to say. He argued, for instance, about Madetoja, Melartin, Kuula and others that in international comparison they fall in the same category as Sibelius but remain overshadowed by him. He related that he saw the opera Jephta’s Daughter by Väinö Raitio at the Finnish National Opera as a young man but remembered only one line: “Here we have the moon lights/but I have pain in limbs” (an untranslatable pun in Finnish: Täällä loistaa kuun valo/mutta minulla on luuvalo). When he once heard at our home the song Rise, Be Shining (Nouse, ole kirkas) by Helvi Leiviskä, the Finnish woman symphonist, he said: That is unbelievably heavy, to force the singer to rise from the depths in that manner.

Rautavaara was a very well-liked social personality; many were able to experience this. I remember when he moved to Brändö in Helsinki, close to our home, to the home of Armi Klemetti, widow of the famous choirmaster Heikki Klemetti, and Rautavaara changed the interior completely since he did not like any traditional furniture. He attended receptions organized by the Music Society of the University of Helsinki in such places as the Embassy of Japan due to the Japanese Music Week we had arranged. He was a central figure in the legendary dinner at the home of Einari (Kurre) Marvia and Liisa Aroheimo-Marvia in 2003, with his cousins, the soprano Aulikki Rautavaara and Gunnel. He had much to tell about his famous singer cousin, an opera star favoured by Richard Strauss and also a film star in Germany in the 1930s. This party was to remain her last. I also remember Einojuhani and Sini at a dinner at our home in Laajasalo on a bitingly cold winter day, together with the Marvias and professor Matti Klinge and his wife Marketta, when we spoke about European music and its values.

So we have to take farewell from one phase in Finnish music history and, above all, from a person whose impact was so overwhelming and whom we recall with emotion as a charming, intellectual and sensitive man. In all that he composed, wrote or spoke, his identity, his ‘Moi’, and his style were present. Their radiance will not fade in our minds.

— Eero Tarasti


Einojuhani Rautavaara 1987. “Työpäiväkirja (Diary) V/86 – V/87”, Synteesi 3/87: 2-9.

Anne Sivuoja-Gunaratnam 1997. Narrating with twelve tones : Einojuhani Rautavaara’s first serial period (ca. 1957-1965). Helsinki: Suomalainen tiedeakatemia. Suomalaisen tiedeakatemian toimituksia. Humaniora; vol. 287.

Wojciech Stępień 2010. Signifying angels : analyses and interpretations of Rautavaara’s instrumental compositions Helsinki: University of Helsinki, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies ([Tallinn] : printed in Tallinna Raamatutrükikoda, [2010]). Studia musicologica Universitatis Helsingiensis; vol. 20.

Eero Tarasti 2004. “Minnesota 1999”, Pariisin uudet mysteerit ja muita matkakertomuksia. Imatran Kansainvälisen Semiotiikka-Instituutin julkaisuja nr.2. pp. 75-123.

Eero Tarasti 2012. Semiotics of Classical Music. How Mozart, Brahms and Wagner Talk To Us. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.



Review: Émilie – The Female Faust

Kaija Saariaho’s opera Émilie at the Finnish National Opera, Helsinki, Monday, April 6, 2015.

Saariaho’s opera takes the spectator/listener immediately into its network and texture of music, image, colour and stage. To stay 1h 20 min inside this sound bath is pleasant. One is as if floating in an oniric state. Yet, here the narrative is definitely Europe in the 18th century. Amin Maalouf has utilized original texts and sources, but made a dramatic arrangement. The historical time is indicated by a harpsichord from beginning to end, an instrument which the real Émilie du Châtelet played. But as to the stage, it is true what the director Marianne Weems says, namely that the elegant and complex composition of Saariaho calls for a design beyond the boundaries of backdrops and set pieces. This is namely an opera of a human mind, not necessarily woman or man, transgressing the boundaries of the empirically observable world. So it is transcendental.

Saariaho is fascinated by protagonists with some obsessional ‘project’ to be filled – like in Simone’s passion. Here Émilie’s passion is to get immersed into the universe dominated by the beauty of mathematical, geometrical, eternal and rational laws. In the climax of the opera she sings high pitched about Principia mathematica (in monk Latin pronouncing prinsipia and sisero) as an extatic declaration. The feminist rhetoric gesture is less convincing. She is united with the whole macrocosm. Unfortunately her microcosm is limited by and bound with triviality: biological processes of her body. Here is the inner conflict of the whole opera. Is is a great narrative, strong enough to captivate the interest of the audience during the whole performance.

There are not many operas about science and scientists. Oswald Spengler has said that science dies if it does not become an experience to anyone. For Émilie, her science of mathematics is indeed a deeply felt personal issue, even more important than life itself. Of course what comes first to one’s mind is Faust. The Germans never got their dream: a Faust composed by a German composer, a Mozart, Beethoven or Wagner. Faust is at the beginning somewhat in the same situation as Emilie: Habe nun, ach! Philosophie, Juristerei und Medizin und leider auch Theologie durchaus studiert, da steh ich nun ich armer Tor, und bin so klug als wie zuvor! (I have studied all sciences and here I stay as stupid as before.) Then comes Mephisto with his offer which Faust accepts. There is a remarkable difference, however, since Émilie never doubts her science, erudition and wisdom. They remain her major aspiration and belief until the end of the opera. She imagines how her great work would appear posthumously. It is important because she wants to be remembered and ‘eternalized’ . Even at the risk of what Jean Cocteau said later: C’est mieux d’être l’homme vivant et l’artiste posthume que le contraire. Emilie’s Mephistos are Voltaire and thereafter her lover Saint-Lambert. However, she does not abandon herself totally to worldly temptations, but keeps her passion for science.

In music, the comparison points would be Schoenberg’s Erwartung or Poulenc’s La voix humaine. As Émilie sings the tragedy and death always loom in the finale. Yet, if one likes, one could recall Luonnotar of Sibelius, a work about the myth of the creation of the world, not far afield from Emilie’s visions albeit in the Age of Reason. True, Saariaho’s music has a fateful atmosphere as if anticipating a personal tragedy, but it also has an exaltation of orchestral effects apt to portray the universe. If Émilie’s own microcosm approaches its end because the principles of mathematics did not reach it, this is one version of the destiny of the universe. This reminds me of a lecture by Nobel prize winner in physics, professor Saul Perlmutter last November at the University of Aix-Marseille: The universe has three alternatives: 1) if everything started with the Big Bang it will also end the same way: so, not so nice, 2) everything is getting faster and faster and so at the end we will disappear: neither a good idea 3) everything is getting slower and slower and so the universe will never end: this sounds good! Saariaho’s musical universe is somewhat an analogy with the idea of an unending nature. Fortunately so as I said, and so the experience of listening to it is analogous to a Japanese Nô theater. Nevertheless, the music also has its dramatic moments. Variety is created by adding a duetto voice of Voltaire or a child but it more or less duplicates the soprano voice. Visually the most impressive is perhaps the fourth one, Rays. Camilla Nylund mastered her role with much devotion, style and vocal splendour. The orchestra performed skillfully under André de Ridder, who kept the global form in his hands and built dynamic highlights convincingly. The harpshichordist distinguished herself as well.

— Eero Tarasti

Music-space and time

Atso A. Eerikäinen
Professor at Metasciences Academy
Music is the most universal phenomenon. It is sounding everywhere, but what is music? David Butler defines it in Encarta encyclopedia: “Music is artful arrangement of sounds across time.” On the one hand, this definition is obviously very broad, but not sufficiently broad. On the other hand, the narrower one would exclude too much essential, as caricaturist Kari Suomalainen’s definition concerning string music: “It is rubbing of pig’s intestine with horse tail hair.” The concept “time” in Butler’s definition is the most essential in music. Time and its two variables open up us the breathtaking view into music, when we listen to it and when it is performed publicly at concert halls or privately at home for own pleasure.

One cannot progress very far in answering the questions concerning music without considering the riddle of time. Time may be the most enigmatic of all metaphysical, philosophical, and physical problems, and it must be resolved in order to understand reality, which is filled by music.

Time as metaphysical problem

Two opposite views of time have been clashing from the dawn of Western thinking. Heraclites (ca.540-480 B.C.) thought that the basic feature of reality is “becoming,” that is, time is a “flux” or perpetual change. As such, time is something physical: measurable, countable, and computable, that is, a posteriori. Parmenides (ca. 515-445 B.C.), in turn, thought there is no change in the universe, because the permanent forms of reality are motionless and mathematical. The universe is timeless and hence, it is something eternal: immeasurable, uncountable, and incomputable, that is, a priori.

Western metaphysicians have mainly argued in favor of Heraclites. There have been three paradigmatic topics concerning time in philosophical enquiry: change, causation, and modality.

Time as change. It is commonly accepted that only time, not space, is the variable of change. The genuine change involves temporal variation in the properties of things, also sounds, when time “passes.” Time is the changing process, where the future is becoming the present, and the present is changing into the past. It is just the change that goes on in the event while it is occurring. The presentness of an event is its happening, as opposed to its having happened or being about to happen. The present is a factual point in the flux of time or a number of motions, which separates and unifies the past and the future, or earlier and later, as Aristotle (384-322 BC) thought. From the ontological difference between the past and the future follows that the past expands in the flux of time: more facts are added to the totality of facts. Changing time can be very long or very short but never zero. In other words, time t is always > 0.

J.M.E. McTaggart showed in his famous paper concerning the unreality of time (in Mind, 17/1908:457-474) the movement of time consists in the fact that later and later terms pass into the present, or that the present passes to later and later terms. In other words, the so-called “B series” of time is sliding along a fixed “A series” of time, or A series of time is sliding along a fixed B series of time. In the first case, time presents itself as a moment from the future to the past. In the second case, time presents itself as a moment from earlier to later. The events seem to come out of the future, while we ourselves move towards the future. B series of time runs backwards, whereas A series of time runs forwards, that is, the future has been, the present is, and the past will be, and vice versa.

Time as causal relation. The main point in the causal theories of time is that time, as a temporal becoming, is asymmetric, deterministic, and continuous. If A causes or is among the causes of B, then B does not cause or is not among the causes of A, and A is sufficient cause for effect B. The asymmetry of time entails that time has a direction because causation has a direction. Asymmetric time is the variable of causality.

Yet within physical time, we cannot affect the past, because it is determined. The future, instead, is not yet determined. There is no present fact about whether A will exist tomorrow, so anything we do or happens now can make a difference for the future. If there is no ontological difference between the present and the future, then future-tense statements must have a determined truthvalue. Hence, the rejection of temporal becoming means a rejection of indeterminism, that is, free will.

The flux of time seems to be continuous. The changing things in time exist continuously. Kant (1724-1804) proposed in his principle of contradiction that a thing cannot be itself and something else simultaneously. If one state exists, the other cannot exist simultaneously. One cannot be both existing and non existing, or neither existing nor non-existing simultaneously. Reality is a continuity of the temporal states.

Time as modal relation. Finally, time can be described in modal terms. “Necessarily p” means that p is true in all possible worlds, and “possibly p” means that p is true at least in some world. The future is just a set of possible worlds, so the flux of time is the passage from the possible to the necessary.

Kant located time into the mind as a pure form a priori of sensible intuition. As such, time has no physical status. Whereas Euclidean space is the formal a priori condition of outer experiences, time is the formal a priori condition of appearances. If this subjective condition of sensibility were removed, time would be nothing at all. Thus, space and time are given a priori, whereas everything that is given in them is a posteriori.

Time as physical problem

In classical mechanics (CM) of Newton (1642-1724), time is absolute, true, and mathematical, which of itself and from its own nature, flows without relation to anything external. Material bodies move through Euclidean space along predictable paths, subject to forces that accelerate them in accordance with strict mathematical laws. The universe is a gigantic clock-like mechanism, predictable in every detail by universal and absolute time. Time is simply there, and nothing can affect it. Newtonian time is absolute calculus: the precise and continuous succession of the present moments.

Newton’s conception of absolute time was rejected 150 years later by Einstein’s (1879-1955) flexible time. Time became Riemann’s non-Euclidean “metric” space or at least an inseparable part of it. Euclidean and “phenomenalistic” SR needs observers and their time depending on how they are moving, whereas non-Euclidean and “realistic” GR does not need any observers. Strictly speaking, Einstein’s GR does not describe time but gravity, which has some important implications concerning time. On the one hand, gravity is not a mysterious mechanical force operating at a distance but a warping of space-time by the mass and energy on it. On the other hand, it is an acceleration that depends on the curvature of space-time. So to say, mass tells space-time how to curve, and space-time tells mass how to move. In fact, Einstein’s space-time as a Riemannian field is simply there, like Newtonian absolute time, but as relative, because it depends on motion of mass and energy on it.

At the quantum level of reality, there is, however, a basic limit that introduces an irreducible fuzziness to the notions of speed, rate, and time: Werner Heisenberg’s (1901-1976) uncertainty principle. The size of the wave function at a point gives the probability that the particle will be found at that point, and the rate at which the wave function changes from point to point gives the probability of different velocities. One can have a wave function that is sharply peaked at a point. This corresponds to a state in which there is a little uncertainty in the position of the particle. However, the wave function varies rapidly. It means that there is a lot of uncertainty in the velocity. Similarly, a long chain of waves has a large uncertainty in position, but a small uncertainty in velocity. One can have a well defined position or a well defined velocity but not both at the same time. This would seem to make complete determinism impossible. If one cannot accurately define both the positions and the velocities of particles at one time, how can one predict what they will be in the future? Even if time is absolute Newtonian clock-time in QM, there is no absolute clock in QM, because all physical clocks are subject to quantum uncertainty. Hence, also time itself may be subject to quantum effects.

What is Now?

Einstein was seriously worried about the question: “What is now”? He concluded that the “now” has no physical status, and hence, it was a metaphysical question that lies beyond scientific physics. Instead, Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington (1882-1944) thought (in The Nature of the Physical World, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1929, p. 97) that our impression of “becoming” is so powerful and central to our experience that it must correspond to something in the objective world. He thought: “If I grasp the notion of existence because I myself exist, I grasp the notion of becoming because I myself become. It is the innermost Ego of all which is and becomes. It seems that we experience time in two distinct ways: externally through the senses and internally within the mind.”

Although Plato (c. 428-347 BC) was obviously the first discoverer of “self” (soul, mind) in Western thinking, it was Aristotle who first put the mind into the center of changing reality. For him time was a measure of change, and as such, a number of motions in connection with earlier and later. There is no time without motion, and there is no present without the mind who realizes it. In this sense, Einstein’s SR is only a novel variation of Aristotle’s metaphysics. But what is the now? Is it only something physical: changing, measurable, countable, and computable, as Heraclites thought or; only something eternal: unchanging, immeasurable, uncountable, and incomputable, as Parmenides thought; or something physical and eternal absolutely simultaneously?

Physical and eternal time

A German theologian Karl Heim (1874-1958), who’s thinking I have researched in my dissertation Time and Polarity (Yliopistopaino: Helsinki 2000) and its expanded version Two Dimensions of Time (Peter Lang: Frankfurt a.m. 2003) defined time ontologically.

There are two variables of time inseparable from each other: physical and eternal or timeless. In entire reality, there are limitless or infinite objectifiable spaces (Räume). The objectifiable consciousness-spaces of my-, your-, and their combination, our-space construct the objectifiable, physical aspect of reality: G-reality (Geworden). In other words, there is an objective reality constructed by “many worlds.” This objective G-reality is relative, physical time. It is impossible to talk about time in general, but only time of individual observers: “my-time” of my-space, “your-time” of your-space or “our-time” of our-space depending on how we are moving through space-time.

Physical time as temporality is the variable of the measurable, countable, and computable change. It is an ever-changing process. The future of possibility and potentiality is becoming the present of actuality, and the presence is changing into the past of necessity. The relative flux of time as a “secondary becoming” or a process is an irreversible sequence of successive present moments (t1, t2…tn). Thus, physical time does not start at to, but at t1, because physical time can be infinitely long or infinitely short but never zero, that is, G > 0. It means that we can observe only the past of time. The events we observe lie on what is called our past light cone.

Physical time is relative space or at least inseparable from Riemannian metric space and gravity in it. The crucial difference between Einstein’s and Heim’s thinking was the question concerning the now. The “now” was, for Einstein, the mysterious question beyond physics. He was right, but because he did not want to answer this crucial question, his conception of time was like Schubert’s unfinished symphony. According to Heim, this “mysterious something” is W-reality, which as non-objectifiable and eternal time is beyond science, as Einstein clearly understood.

Thus, there are also limitless or infinite non-objectifiable spaces, which are incomputable. The non-objectifiable mind-spaces of I-, You-, and their combination, We-space construct the eternal aspect of reality: W-reality (Werden). It is the absolute “now”: nunc aeternum, that is, W = 0. W-reality is the pure nonobjectifiable, emerging, and energetic state within G-reality. Heim argued that W-reality does not include only human minds but also non-objectifiable “minds” of the whole biosphere and the material world. For example, the core of electron seems to be such a mental property. In other words, eternal Wreality is panpsychic.

Eternal time is the variable of the “primary becoming” or transition. It is a certain “imaginary zero-point,” where the “secondary becoming” or process appears into existence. In other words, “not yet become” potential reality becomes “already become,” that is, logically necessary actual reality. Entire reality is a dynamic interaction and an information exchange of physical and eternal time. Eternal W-reality of the minds or knowing, willing and evaluating subjects (I-, You-, and We-space) is the perspectival and energetic center of physical Greality (my-, your-, and our-space) of the objects. Eternal time is absolutely simultaneous with all moments of physical time, as St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) thought. Or in other words, at its deeper level, reality is a sort of “super hologram,” in which the past, present, and future exist simultaneously, as for instance, David Bohm has proposed.

Even if spaces are limitless, there are boundaries within and between spaces. The boundary of contents prevails within a space. If the number of dimensions in a space is n, then the number of dimensions in the boundary of contents is n-1. Instead, the dimensional boundary is the constant velocity of light = c between spaces of W- and G-realities. It means that within a black hole, from where light cannot escape, or within the singularity of Big bang, G-reality of physical time merges into W-reality of eternal time, and hence, W + G = 0.

Except the boundaries, there prevails also the polarity, that is, the absolute simultaneity between W- and G-realities and their spaces. The law of double polarity: A<>B<>AB (indifference condition), as Schelling defined it, is neither a causal (cause-effect) nor logical (premise-conclusion) relationship but is obvious immediately. Since Aristotle, philosophers have concluded that if there is no entity that is purely “in itself” and “through itself” (AB), then there is no secondary and dependent thing imaginable, and all actuality as a whole dissolves into illusion. The polarity implies that there is no physical time without eternal time, and no eternal time without physical time. The polarity holds physical and eternal time together. In other words, reality is not dualistic but monistic totality combined by objectifiable and non-objectifiable aspects of reality. Practically, the polarity means, for instance, that “here” and “there” is absolutely simultaneous in eternal time of I-space but relative in physical time of my-space. I can be “here” and “there” absolutely simultaneously in the eternal now of I-space (the mind) but not in the physical now of my-space.

Thus, eternal time is bound in certain locations in physical time, which can be described by using Boolean algebra. Eternal time is like the Boolean duration between two measurable “clock-ticks” of clocks. The Boolean non-numerical, uncountable duration and the countable duration in physical time are always in the polar relationship: (?) 1< ?>2< ?> 3…< ?>n (?) ?0. Because eternal time exists within physical time, time as a dynamical unity of physical and eternal must be a continuum. Thus, time is both physical and eternal simultaneously. In physical time, all changes are successive, and in eternal time, all happens at once. Time is in eternity, and eternity is in time

Music-space and two variables of time

If Einstein’s relativity theories are unfinished, also the definitions of music based on them are helplessly unfinished and insufficient. As a harmony of two variables of time, music cannot be only “artful arrangement of sounds across (physical) time.” Music is not but “The W-reality of the composer’s mind becoming the sounding G-reality,” that is, “from eternity into temporality.”

We usually experience reality as a three dimensional space, to where time somehow belongs. Einsteinian odd four-dimensional space-time is more difficult to understand. According to the so-called “super-string theories,” there are not only four dimensions but at least 11 or 12 in reality. Those seven or eight additional dimensions are completely invisible. Also music-space is physically at least 11-dimensional. In other words, the sound can be heard from somewhere (three dimensional places), as a time-duration, as some thickness (strong or weak), as some colorfulness, at some height of brightness and sonority, as some kind of tonality, fullness, and intimacy. We could say that what is invisible in reality is audible. The 11-12 dimensional reality is the vibration of strings in different frequencies. The entire universe is like music.

When I listen to music, the sounds come into my ears as waves of air. With help of the eardrums and hear bones, those sound-waves transfer into the liquid of my internal ear, where they change electro-magnetic waves entering into my brain, and I can hear sounds and their composition, music. In other words, when the artist plays music, it transits from his/her W-reality into my G-reality, from my G-reality into my W-reality, and back into my G-reality as a permanent or soon forgetting memory. The at least 350, 000 different kinds of tones of music-space open up me with many variations or not. Namely, the new space opens up always passively as a paradoxal gift, if it opens up at all. We cannot take it, only receive it. Schubert said in his last words: “Music in my name is not mine but received as a gift from eternity.”

When music is performed, it is the transition from eternal W-reality of the composer into physical and temporal process of G-reality. When a pianist plays the Moon Light Sonata of Beethoven, s/he and Beethoven, who has gone long ago, exist in W-reality absolutely at the same time. The pianist must become Beethoven, if s/he likes to interpret what Beethoven aimed in his music. Regrettably, only very few even famous artists realize that the music they are playing is not their own but some one’s else. If the artist do not want to change or is not able to metamorphose, that is, to become for example Beethoven, it would be better that s/he plays only his/her own compositions than raping other’s ones with peculiar and egoistic manner.

If music were only “artful arrangement of sounds across time,” that is, only a phenomenon in G-reality, a robot could be technically the best virtuoso. Such kinds of robots are constructed in Japan, where there are already lots of socalled “artists,” who play mechanically like robots. As a rhythm of two variables of time, music is, however, completely different: the harmony of W- and Greality, that is, from eternity to temporality, and vive versa.

The metamorphose, that is, the most complete unification of the composer and artist, has been know in Buddhist thinking, especially in Zen, for thousands of years. The meeting of two Zen-masters lets to suspect, what it is:

Ky?zan Ejaku asked Sansh? Enen: “What is your name?”
Sansh? said: “Ejaku!”
“Ejaku!” replied Ky?zan, “that’s my name.”
“Well then,” said Sansh?, “my name is Enen.”
Ky?zan roared with laughter.

In other words, two persons exist absolutely simultaneously and as the same person in eternal variable of time, but they are, however, absolutely different persons and relatively temporal in physical variable of time.

In the Western music world, only very few artists have drawn from the Eastern metaphysical wisdom. Menuhin was one of them, and from Finnish musicians only Ralf Góthoni. If the music heard in concerts were authentically the harmony and rhythm of two variables of time, and not only temporarily onedimensional technical and mechanical performance, it could give the listeners much more broadening and unforgettable experiences for better life. The metamorphose does not change the musicians chameleons whose original egoism gets dressed different kinds of cloths, but on the contrary, less egoistic, altruistic, humble, and really great artists.