Touko’s letter to Hely, 22 May 1943

22 May ‘43

Dear Heikkä,

I’m writing another letter to you already. We now have a piano and oh, what a piano! It’s made of walnut and it’s quite low, and makes the greatest sound imaginable. A first-class piece of furniture, all in all. If I were rich I’d buy it right away. It costs 35,150 marks, which means I’ll have to be very careful not to destroy it. That would be costly. But it is heavenly. I’ve been at it all day, like a child with a new toy. And the men have been almost as enthusiastic, each in their own way. Moonlight Sonata (the last movement: Presto agitato) went wonderfully, and I was thrilled to bits (by my own playing, huh), and one man was so excited he sang at the top of his voice: “Two grenadiers were returning to France...”

Usually they listen in reverent silence. In a Persian Market and The Blue Danube are the most popular pieces. You should have heard the boys sing as we rehearsed. The canteen walls almost came down. It’s quite different singing with a piano accompaniment than without it. 

I have too many piano pupils until Hymander comes. He could hurry up. He’ll bring music for Songs for Finnish Youth, Lütsch’s études and my grey-striped, glossy-covered, easy sheet music (I don’t remember its title).

I think our battery is turning into a music school. It feels like it. I teach the boys to play the piano and the mandolin as well as group, solo and choral singing, and I think I’ll also put together an orchestra, because we have the instruments: the piano, seven mandolins, two violins and a radio. Oh, and Lieutenant von Wright’s willow whistle! 

Oh my goodness, you should see how excited the men are. They won’t let me write in peace but keep asking when we can start playing, and will the second lieutenant have everyone at the lesson at the same time or each person individually, and how much is it, anyway. I think I’ll charge just enough to get the rent paid. Though it would be a nice source of funding for my future studies. If only I could keep the piano here all winter (if we’re here all winter), then I could almost think about starting next autumn.

I received an amazing parcel from Hilja yesterday. Lovely buns, pastries and biscuits, and even some butter. So I’m fine at the moment. I eat sweets, play the piano and am enjoying the first really hot summer Sunday. If only I didn’t have my official duties to bother me. But I’d better get some things done now, then I’ll take the rest of the day off. So this is all for now. Please write to me with the latest news when you get a chance. I’m sending you lilac, bird cherry, apple and rowan flowers. 

Your brother, Touko