Obscure Music Monday: Hannikainen's A la fontaine
Toivo Ilmari Hannikainen (Oct. 19, 1892 - July 25, 1955) was a Finnish composer, born in to a musical family. His father Pekka Junani Hannikainen was a composer, as was his brother Väinö Hannikainen. His brother Tauno Hannikainen was a conductor. Ilmari studied music at the University of Helsinki, and went on to study in Vienna, St. Petersburg, and Paris. He taught piano at the Helsinki Conservatory, and was later a professor at the Sibelius Academy.
Many Finnish composers around this time were late Romanticists, but Hannikainen's music was more along the lines of Impressionism. He wrote opera, lieder, film scores, but is most known for his piano miniatures.
A la fontaine is one of those works for piano, and you can certainly hear strong Impressionistic ideas throughout this crisp work, particularly in the ascending and descending figures heard in the beginning, and then later on. Hannikainen's writing is marvelous; in one hand there might be just a two note figure and in the other a simple theme, but the way they come together make it seem very full and rich. He easily jumps from that back to some sparkling arpeggios of sorts with the smoothest of transitions.
Unfortunately, we can't find a recording of this work...but we hope that changes soon!