Finnish composer Toivo Kuula (1883-1918) above, on his deathbed, dying from a bullet which hit him in the last days of the First War of Finnish Independence. He was close to the battle front, but the shot hit him by accident as he was celebrating in a restaurant when a fight broke out nearby. The brightest hope of new Finnish music was silenced, long before his time. Kuula was a close friend of Leevi Madetoja (1887-1947), and mixed in Finland's avant garde artistic circles, a younger and more radical set than hung out with Sibeliius and his mates. When Madetoja first set eyes on Kuula, he was impressed by his "air of self-confidence, of triumph about him that obviously reflected a fast-flowing emotional undercurrent - everything about him seemed to say: here is a man who knows what he wants and who has confidence in his own powers!"
Kuula’s views on music were liberal and unconventional, and he impressed the leading musicians of his time – Jean Sibelius took him on as one of his few pupils.
mainstream of the time. For example, Eino Leino (1887-1926), a free thinker
and believer in free love, who lived a bohemian life in Rome with another
equally wild spirit, the poetess L. Onerva – who was later to marry Leevi Madetoja. Kuula wrote a lot of chamber music and, memorably music for choir, a great Finnish phenomenon,and was particularly drawn to song during his marriage to the soprano Alma Silvantionen, with whom he toured Europe, playing as her accompanist. Please also see my other pieces on early 20th century Finnish culture, including the film Anna-Liisa 1922. HERE