Stormskärs Maja

Lauri Porra

" In a sense, the overall score is both a strong, luminous landscape symphonic work, and an impressive orchestral character study, which is quite simplistic in its approach. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the download only release

Myrskyluodon Maija (Stormskärs Maja, Stormskerry Maja) is a 2024 Finnish film directed by Tiina Lymi, based on the novels by Anni Blomqvist. The film focuses on the desolate life of Maja on the archipelago of Åland, depicting her life through the seasons, through emotional transitions in relation to her growing family bond and her strong self-determination, persistence, love, and kindness. Within this premise lies danger, but the director avoids all of this in a viscerally beautiful film contrasted by a sober depiction of Maja's thoughts and feelings.

Lauri Porra wrote the music. In composing this score, he primarily reflected the inner self of Maja, but also detaches itself from her through the musical depiction of everyday life, nature, its seasons and surroundings, and channels between them. In a sense, the overall score is both a strong, luminous landscape symphonic work, and an impressive orchestral character study, which is quite simplistic in its approach. Regarding both, they go through transitions and change, and how the composer uses a varied, evocatively rich orchestral approach to accommodate this is impressive. Furthermore, there is a fine (musical) tension between everything Maja emotionally can or cannot control, despite her strength, like the seasons or the event of the Åland war. It is all echoed by the original score.

The music was transcribed for a large orchestra, including a cello solo and string quartet, offering moments of lyrical grandeur to low-key musical expressions, but it is never intricate. Some of the music is melodic, but another part is more introvert, or even non-thematic. Arguably, some music is less involving in context, given the contrast between the overall approach of the film and the music, which is evident in unsubtle expressive musical moments, that could as easily warrant an introvert approach or no music at all. In fact, at least one-third of the music presented on the official music release slightly deludes me in context.

However, there is another drawback that comes from the music Lasse Mårtenson originally composed for the 1976 television series based on the same novels. Lauri Porra rearranged music from it, heard at the end of the film, which felt unnecessary.  I must say, some of Mårtenson' music bears distanced resemblances to Porra's, which is evident in the general classical approach, the lyrism, and  a similar nature against character development.

I appreciate Lauri Porra's music, both as an independent body of work, and with concerns regarding subtlety, closely related to its use in the film.

The composer was kind enought to tell something about the end credits:

''For the end credits of the film we decided as a tribute to make an orchestral arrangement of the title track from 1976 Finnish tv-series based on the same books, as this is a very loved song in Finland. Otherwise it was very consciously decided to have a very different approach to the music as well as the film compared to the tv-series.

Some of the themes used in the film were adapted from some of my earlier orchestral works, such as pieces Surrender and Stasis from the album Entropia (2018 BIS Records) These were however rearranged and re-recorded for the films soundtrack.''

1. Inner Worlds 0:58
2. Bonfire 2:32
3. Driftwood 4:05
4. My Life Is Here 3:23
5. Show No Fear 2:09
6. Mikael 3:26
7. Cello Interlude 1:30
8. Building Life 2:04
9. We Are Married Now 2:28
10. Firstborn 2:41
11. Imperial Entanglement 3:37
12. Cello Interlude II 2:07
13. Engagement 2:44
14. Driftwood II 2:07
15. Ice 1:27
16. Perilous Journey 2:12
17. Drowning 1:25
18. Cello Interlude III 2:02
19. Way Home 1:28
20. Myrskyluodon Maija Arr. Lauri Porra, Vili Robert Ollila 5:56

Total duration: 50:21

(click to rate this score)  
(total of 4 votes - average 4.63/5)

Released by

Platoon (download only release 2024)