On a String
On a string, the first collaboration between Minna Tervamäki and Kaari Martin, is an interpretation of the Sibelius Violin Concerto. A work of many contrasts, it juxtaposes Finnish and international, tradition and modernity, the sensitive and the demonic. The women approach Sibelius via the musicality and sensitivity of flamenco and the expressive means of contemporary ballet. According to them, the Sibelius Violin Concerto conveys its message with directness and honesty, and it has a timeless, rebellious attitude.
Finland’s Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was one of the leading composers of the Romantic era in the arts lasting over 100 years. His influence on the history of Western music does, however, extend beyond the borders of stylistic periods. The Sibelius Violin Concerto has been recorded and performed more than any other Violin Concerto of the 20th century. Almost every violinist of distinction has performed it. The moods and tempos of the dramatic, subtle music swiftly change, and the tensions are strong. At the beginning of the present decade there were over 50 recordings available. On a string uses the highly rhythmic version of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra recorded under Leif Segerstam with Pekka Kuusisto as the soloist.
Choreography & dance: Kaari Martin, Minna Tervamäki
Music: Jean Sibelius, Violin concerto in d-minor, opus 47. Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Leif Segerstam, soloist Pekka Kuusisto
Assisting choreographer: Ángel Rojas
Costume design: Erika Turunen
Light design: Mikko Linnavuori
Make-up: Kaisu Hölttä
Costume sewing: Tipi Taskinen
Photography: Janne Mikkilä / Studio Blick
Premiere: 1st December 2010 at Savoy Theatre, Helsinki
Duration: 34 min
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Dance. Dancer étoile Minna Tervamäki and eminent Finnish flamenco dancer Kaari Martin have pooled their different dance backgrounds to create the new, vibrant, visually impressive yet slightly one-dimensional On a String to the Sibelius Violin Concerto.
The first-night audience was in ecstasy over the encounter of the two dynamic stage personalities, and it is, for the most part, easy to go along with this feeling.
Erika Turunen’s dark, flamenco-hued costumes and Mikko Linnavuori’s clear and simple lighting elevated the performers to a breathtaking level of dance expression, but in terms of movement, the work was not quite on a par with Sibelius’s magnificent richly-shaded concerto. The second movement of the concerto, in particular, floated along in the fantastic musical world of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leif Segerstam with Pekka Kuusisto as its soloist, leaving the dancers and movement in their shade.
The choreography and presence of the opening and, especially, the closing sections raised the dance to the level of the music and did full justice to the often-performed Violin Concerto.
The earlier works on the programme, the flirting It Sax frolics of Minna Tervamäki and the superb sax of Timo Lassy, and Kaari Martin’s kinetically extremely interesting Korppi ja kello demonstrated their performers’ virtuosity and exceptional musical precision.
Helsingin Sanomat 3rd December 2010, Mika Saarelainen
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DANCER DIVAS INTERPRET SIBELIUS
The first joint work, On a String, by dancer étoile Minna Tervamäki and flamenco virtuoso Kaari Martin is a visual and expressive interpretation of the Sibelius Violin Concerto.
Martin combines flamenco temperament with the sensitivity of contemporary dance, while Tervamäki adds high leg lifts and her classical command of point work. The contrast and interplay are interesting, and the artiste cousins are both dramatic and expressive. But it is Martin who is the eye-catcher and the great interpreter.
The aesthetics are built to a great extent round Erika Turunen’s bata de cola skirts with their long trains and lavish flounces. When the dancers make their entrance onto the dramatically lit stage, and Tervamäki pulls Martin’s train, the lighting creates an optical illusion. For as only the light upper half of the costume is visible, it looks as if Martin is struggling and flying in the air.
The evening is, as a whole, an impressive co-performance by two mature and musical star dancers with a feel for aesthetics and a strong stage presence.
Hufvudstadsbladet 5th December 2010, Jenny Jägerhorn