Spring Hymnal

The Tampere Vocal Music Festival 2021 opens with a commissioned piece celebrating nature in spring with images and music. Media artist Arttu Nieminen from Rovaniemi has illustrated Keväthymni (Spring Hymnal), a movement from the song cycle Cathedral of Spring written by Alex Freeman and recorded by the Somnium Ensemble.

Spring Hymnal touched something in me with its lucid sensitivity that escalates into a powerful experience of flow towards the middle. I saw ice dams breaking and immediately gained a focused insight into approaching the work,” says Nieminen.

“Spring is the artistically most interesting season in my own cycle of creativity. The confluence of the Ounasjoki and Kemijoki rivers at Rovaniemi is the stage for an epic show every spring as the ice breaks and the floods come. I am always enchanted by the sight, and now I was happy to have the opportunity to pair the experience with this choral work.”

Runtime 6 minutes

Spring Hymnal

‘Spring Hymnal’ is the final movement of Alex Freeman’s Cathedral of Spring. ‘Epithalamion’ by e.e. cummings, which appears in the first movement of this four-movement work, returns in the final movement, where Freeman sets cummings’s sparkling paean to May as an anthem.

O visible beatitude sweet sweet
intolerable!silence immaculate
of god’s evasive audible great rose!

Cummings’s lyrical repetitions and soaring language are at first carried on a unison melody. Almost a murmur. This tune grows into an almost bombastic blooming of spring exuberance. The music then recedes into a kind of primordial cloud and collapses into a long-suspended, slow-motion sigh.

Arttu Nieminen

I am a film director and media artist. I live in Rovaniemi, and my works explore the natural environment of the Arctic. Sometimes it seems to me to be a sentient creature in its own right, while at other times I view it as a mystical interface between the visible and the invisible. Surrealism, intuition and chance guide my work.

I have been polishing my formal language, which has a lot to do with playing around with symmetry and the horizon, for many years. With new technology, I have added drone and macro footage to my palette. I take the path less travelled, my mission is to make Lapland Surrealism a household name in video art.

In my video works and films, nature breathes hypnotically. It invites the viewer in and reveals surprising aspects of itself while stunning us with its beauty.

My works are hallucinations driven by isolation, mysticism and flow. They are feverish odes to the mystical qualities of nature in Lapland. They invite you to go to the forest and see it with new eyes.


Video and editing – Arttu Nieminen
Music – Alex Freeman
Choir – Somnium Ensemble (cond.Tatu Erkkilä)

Commissioned by

Tampere Vocal Music Festival
Tampere Film Festival
Tampereen Art Museum