Richard Faltin Helsingin yliopiston musiikinopettajana 1870−1896
Richard Faltin as Music Teacher of the University of Helsinki in 1870−1896
In this article, I examine the musical agency of composer, organist, conductor and music pedagogue Richard Faltin (1835−1918) as music teacher of the University of Helsinki. Faltin was born in 1835 in Danzig (now Gdánsk) and moved in 1856 to Wyborg, Finland, after graduating from the Leipzig Conservatory. After working 13 years in Wiborg as music teacher in the German boy school and pioneer of the art music culture in town, he moved permanently to Helsinki with his family in 1869.
In Helsinki Faltin got to be a versatile musician and a builder of the institutional Finnish music life during the last three decades of the 19th century. One of his main activities was the post of music teacher of the University of Helsinki in 1870−1896. Through this post he was among other things conducting the Academic Singing Society and the Academic Orchestra, not only in academic festivities, but also in national and imperial occasions – Finland’s position as the Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire made Faltin’s post also politically significant. Another outer musical matter influencing greatly on his musical activity was the linguistic dissonance between the Finnish and Swedish speaking people in Finland increasing towards the end of the century.
Previous study has not systematically introduced Faltin’s many-sided agency as music teacher and its significance to the development of the Finnish art music culture. This article illuminates as well Faltin’s activity as music teacher as his penchant for creating permanent structures to promote musical context. A closer look focuses on Faltin’s role as nurturer of the first generation of musicians born in Finland and supporter of their musical professional identity, such as Martin Wegelius, Robert Kajanus, Jean Sibelius and Ilmari Krohn. Additionally the article examines the influence of Faltin’s extraordinarily large international contacts on creating the structure and the models of Finnish musical institutes, such as music schools, orchestras, choirs and opera houses. Methodologically, the article combines the research tradition of musicology and cultural history.