Erkki Melartinin 5. sinfonian finaalifuuga: taidonnäyte ja sen analyysit


  • Juhani Alesaro


The article analyses the finale of Erkki Melartin’s Symphony No. 5 "Sinfonia brevis", which was premiered in January 1916. In the Finnish music literature the finale, a quadruple fugue, still remains unexampled. Although being Melartin’s most extensive and skilful polyphonic construction, this finale – also including a chorale in one of its sections – has not provoked too many reviews or analyses of it. Furthermore, the perusal of the score reveals that even in this scarce literary material there appear some misunderstandings that deserve to be corrected.

The very first (anonymous) review in the press appeared immediately after the premier in 1916. It contains the most exhaustive and detailed analysis of the symphony. It was long suspected that only the composer could have had such an intimate knowledge of the work. Yet the research of the manuscript of the symphony – which is supplied by an off-print of the critique containing a penciled signature – reveals that the writer of the article was Karl Fredrik Wasenius, the leading critic of Hufvudstadsbladet and at the same time a good friend of the composer. The relation between Wasenius’s analysis and that of mine resembles the relation between Robert Schumann’s analysis on the Symphonie fantastique by Hector Berlioz and Edward T. Cone’s analysis "Schumann Amplified". Thus my analysis mainly focuses on those matters that are discussed in the previous analyses, e.g. diverse contrapuntal techniques and formal design. In determining various sections of the fugue the several doubled bar-lines found in the manuscript are taken into consideration. In addition, the tonal arch of the quadruple fugue is explored and described.






Alesaro, J. (2020). Erkki Melartinin 5. sinfonian finaalifuuga: taidonnäyte ja sen analyysit. Musiikki, 48(3–4), 63–117. Noudettu osoitteesta