Edvard Armas Järnefelt (1869-1958)

Born Aug. 14, 1869 in Viipuri, Finland (now Vyborg, Russia)
Died June 23, 1958 in Stockholm, Sweden


Instrumentation: Flutes, Oboe, 2 clarinets, Bassoons, 2 horns and 2 trumpets, timpani, percussion and strings.

Armas Järnefelt was born in Finland, but spent much of his professional life as a conductor and composer in Sweden after 1905, where he eventually a citizen in 1909. He conducted at Viipuri (1893–1903), and as director of the Helsinki Opera (1903–07) gave the first performances of Wagner’s operas in Finland. He was also the director of the Helsinki Music Institute for a year in 1906. He was appointed conductor at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm in 1907, principal conductor of the Royal Opera in 1923 and was principal conductor for Helsinki Philharmonic in 1942-43.

Järnefelt’s teachers included Busoni in Helsinki, Becker in Berlin and Massenet in Paris. He enjoyed a close relationship with Sibelius, his brother-in-law, and conducted many of Sibelius’s works.

He composed often for small orchestra, with perhaps Berceuse and Preludium being his best known works.

As its title suggests, the Praeludium is a delightful appetizer featuring jaunty melodies.

Example 1.