The ballet The Snow Queen, based on a fairy tale by H. C. Andersen, was composed for the 90th anniversary of the Finnish National Ballet in 2012. The work, with choreography by Kenneth Greve (Artistic Director of the FNB) and Pirjo Toikka, was an immediate success. Obviously this was much thanks to Kantelinen’s accessible music, written clearly with people of every age and background in mind.
Skilful and established film-music composer that Kantelinen is, he really knows how to compose music for a multi-media art work. While strongly figurative music could seem too underscoring (in the sense of tone-painting) and corny in a movie, it is hardly ever like that in a ballet setting. One cannot resist visualising strong images of, say, a market square, national stereotypes, a snowstorm or bathing in sauna simply by listening to Kantelinen’s rapidly changing musical genre scenes.
I must admit that I didn’t see this work on stage. But the music is obviously exactly what the commissioners hoped for.