Nordgren, Pehr Henrik


Pehr Henrik Nordgren (19.1.1944-25.8.2008) studied musicology at the University of Helsinki and composition as a private pupil of Joonas Kokkonen. In 1970 he received a three-year stipend to study with Yoshio Hasegawa at the Tokyo University of Art and Music in Japan.

Nordgren’s music possesses a personal voice of great strength and originality, which enabled him to travel through all types of musical fields. He was neither a conservative nor a modernist. He saw composing as an outlet for self-expression which, for him, went deeper than speech. According to him, music operates at a narrative level. Formal development is a natural process, one which grows out of the musical material he is working with.

During the year spent studying in Japan Nordgren composed Turning Point for large orchestra, a dynamic piece demonstrating great clarity and economy of means. He also wrote several works employing Japanese instruments, including the Autumnal Concerto for traditional Japanese instruments and symphony orchestra.

Nordgren’s main works are his symphonies. The third, written in 1993, is an extremely powerful and unusual creation in Finnish music and has an uncommon form. Concertos and works featuring one or more solo instruments occupy a key position in Nordgren’s output and he has composed nearly thirty such works, mostly for stringed instruments. They include the Concerto No. 5 for Cello and Orchestra (2005) and the Concerto for Accordion and Orchestra (2005).

Nordgren was long composer in residence of the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, and his collaboration with conductor Juha Kangas was active throughout the years. The four-movement suite Portraits of the Country Fiddlers was written for the orchestra, and it has been an incredibly successful homage to folk music – elements of which Nordgren included in his early works particularly. His numerous compositions for string orchestra include a Symphony for StringsConcerto for StringsTranse-Choral and Cronaca.

Den svarte munken (The Black Monk, Op. 52) is Nordgren’s chamber opera in 8 scenes. The composer wrote the libretto after the mystic short story by Anton Chekhov. The work was Commissioned by the Royal Swedish Academy of Music and NOMUS and premiered at the Royal Opera in Stockholm on 20 March 1984.

Autumnal Concerto


for traditional Japanese instruments and orchestra

Soloists: shakuhachi, shamisen, koto, jushichi-gen (17-stringed koto) 3333-3221-06-hp-pf-cel-str

Duration: 30

Concerto for Accordion and Orchestra


3(II+picc;III=bfl)22(I+ebcl;II+bcl)2-4221-13-hp-str(*) Percussion: Tenor drum, Suspended cymbals (14"&24"), Tam-tam, Crotales, Xylophone, Triangle, Castanets, Slapstick *Double basses 4-6 need 5-string basses

Duration: 24

Concerto for Alto Saxophone and String Orchestra


str(min.55432*) *2nd double bass with 5-string bass

Duration: 22

Concerto for Cello No. 1


for cello and string orchestra


Duration: 22

Concerto for Cello No. 5


for cello and orchestra

2(II+afl)2(II+ca)2(II+bcl)2(II+cfg)-2200-01-str(87543) Percussion: Timpani, Suspended cymbal, Tam-tam, Gong, Crotales, Tubular bell

Duration: 25

Concerto for Organ and Chamber Orchestra


timp-4perc-hp-str(min.55432) Percussion: 2 sets of Rototoms, Suspended cymbal (large), Cymbals a2 (large), Gong (low C; or Tam-tam), Crotales, Triangle, Wood block

Duration: 27

Concerto for Piano left hand and Chamber Orchestra


perc-str (min. Percussion: 4 Timpani, Suspended cymbal (large), Triangle, Wood block, Two-cord yarn* *Two-cord yarn (or patent-strong yarn, ”karhunlanka”), rosin and rubber dish-washing gloves. Tie a thick natural gut string and connect e.g. a bass drum and double bass bridge. Wipe and pull around the string with rubber dish-washing gloves topped with rosin to produce the sound. The method is known as the devil's fiddle (Waldteufel or ”pirunviulu”).

Duration: 20

Concerto for Piano No. 2


for piano, strings and percussion

perc-str(min.55432) Percussion (1 player): 4 Tom-toms, Crotales, Wood block, Claves, Kameso

Duration: 0

Concerto for Strings



Duration: 22

Concerto for Viola, Double Bass and Chamber Orches



Duration: 32

Concerto for Violin No. 3


for violin and string orchestra


Duration: 18



for string orchestra

I. Adagio 11'00 II. Duo 5'30 III. Agitato 4'30 IV. Epilogo 8'00

Duration: 29

De sole et luna


for mixed chorus and strings

str (

Duration: 24

Den svarte munken

chamber opera (1981)

1(+picc+afl).1( Perc: Timpani, Vibraphone, Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Suspended Cymbals, Tam-Tam, Triangle, Temple Blocks, Claves, Bell Plate

Duration: 0


for cello and string orchestra (1987)

cello solo & string orchestra (min. 44321)

Duration: 17

Koko maailma valittanee [arr.]

[Sales Material]

Hengellinen kansansävelmä Lapualta

str requests for this POD to

Duration: 5

Pictures on Rural Past

Kuvia maaseudun menneisyydestä (2006)

for strings and harp

hp, str (individual parts)

Duration: 15

Portraits of Country Fiddlers [SALES MATERIAL]

Pelimannimuotokuvia (1976)

for string orchestra


Duration: 18

Rock Score for 19 Strings

Kallioon piirretty 19 jouselle (1997)

str[2nd with low b-string)

Duration: 13

Symphony for Strings / Sinfonia jousille

Material for sale! (1978)


Duration: 20

Symphony No 3


for orchestra

3(II+picc.III+alt).3( perc:timpani,xylophone,vibe,chimes,bell plate,snare drum, 2 tom-toms,bass drum,suspended cymbals,hand cymbals,tam-tam,triangle,wood block, slapstick

Duration: 31

Symphony No. 8

for orchestra

2(I+picc,+afl).2(,II+clb).2(II+cfg)- Percussione:Glockenspiel (g-c3), Tubular bells (c1-f2), Castagnette (Wooden Spoons), Slapstick, Wood block, Taburo basco, Tenor drum, Piatto sospeso (grande), Tam-tam, Gran cassa

Duration: 26

The Turning Point


for orchestra


Duration: 13

Transe - Choral


for 15 strings

str ( players)

Duration: 27

String Quartet No. 11 (III Lamentations, Adagio)
Tempera Quartet
Alba Records (ABCD 308)

Symphony No. 3 (VI Epilogue)
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, cond. Sakari Oramo
(Ondine Records CD-92-2

Portraits of Country Fiddlers (I The Plucker)
Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, cond. Juha Kangas
(BIS Records CD-766-2

Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, cond. Juha Kangas
(BIS Records CD-1356)