Sonninen, Ahti, Finnish composer; b. Kuopio, July 11, 1914; d. Helsinki, Aug. 27, 1984. Following graduation from the Kajaani training college, he took courses in theory and composition with Palmgren, Merikanto, Ranta, and Funtek at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki (1939–47). He taught elementary school (1936–43), then taught in the school music dept. of the Sibelius Academy (from 1957). He followed the tenets of international musical modernism in his technique of composition, but also adhered to subjects from Finnish folklore.
DRAMATIC: Merenkuninkaan tytär (Daughter of Neptune), opera (1949); Pessi and Illusia, ballet (1952); Ruususolmu (Wreath of Roses), ballet (1956); Karhunpeijaiset (Feast to Celebrate the Killing of a Bear), ritual opera (1968); Se (It), ballet farce (Helsinki, Feb. 24, 1972); Haavruuva (Lady of the Sea), opera (1971); film scores. ORCH.: East Karelian Suite (1942); Violin Concerto (1943–45); Piano Concerto (1944–45); Symphonic Sketches (1947); Preludio festivo (1953); Under Lapland’s Sky, suite (1954); Pezzo pizzicato (1954–55); Rhapsody (1957); 4 Partitas for Strings (1958); Prelude and Allegro for Trumpet, Trombone, and Orch. (1961); Reactions for Chamber Orch. (1961). CHAMBER: Conference for Clarinet, Horn, Trumpet, and Trombone (1954); Theses for String Quartet (1968); Divertimento for Wind Quintet (1970). P i a n o: 5 suites: In the Big City (1954), White Pepper (1970), Black Pepper (1970), Koli (1970), and 3 Characters (1971). VOCAL: 7 Songs to Hungarian Folk Poems for Soprano and Orch. (1939–41); Midsummer Night for Soprano and Orch. (1946); El amor pasa for Soprano, Flute, and Orch. (1953); Smith of the Heavens for Baritone and Orch. (1957); The Karelian Wedding for Voice, Chorus, Flute, Accordion, Percussion, Harpsichord, and Tape (1965); Highway Requiem for Soprano, Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (1970); Forging of the Golden Virgin for Voices, 2 Percussionists, and Tape (1971); Finnish Messiah for Soloists, Mixed and Children’s Choruses, and Orch. (1972); In the Court of the Lamb, suite for Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (1972); about 15 cantatas and 100 choruses; about 70 songs with piano.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire