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Release Date: 09/25/2001 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1277   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jean SibeliusPehr Henrik NordgrenJoonas KokkonenUuno (Kalervo) Klami,   ... 
Performer:  Folke Gräsbeck
Conductor:  Astrid RiskaJuha KangasHermann BäumerOsmo Vänskä,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Jubilate ChoirOstrobothnian Chamber OrchestraBrass Partout,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Length:  1 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Here we have an almost completely unhackneyed Finnish music sampler drawn from the Bis back catalogue. It's the sort of thing handed out by embassies and at Finnish international conferences. It is certainly a good ambassador for Suomi even if its dominance of soothing music might strike some as too much of a good thing.

There are nine Sibelius tracks out of 21. The first has the Jubilate Choir ringing out the Finlandia chorale as revised by the composer in 1948. Nordgren's The Whole World will lament is an string arrangement
Read more of an earnest and soulful South Ostrobothnian chorale. It’s just a shade away from a Hovhaness hymn. Kokkonen's Hades of the Birds is represented by the song In the world of Perfection. This strange waltz tempo scena is sung by Monica Groop. Sibelius and Jubilate returnwith May the Hymn of Honour Now Resound which is graciously curved rather than assertive. Sibelius's Andantino for brass is steadily intoned at first but soon suggests a cafe band dance. The Marche Militaire from Klami’s Suite for Small Orchestra is flighty and vivacious - a cracking piece of light music from 1946. Sibelius's A Song for Lemminkainen is for male choir and orchestra and manages to be both stern and sensitive with a touch of Karelian cheeriness about it. Rautavaara's haunting Fiddler suite for string orchestra is his op. 1. It's in five concise movements and at times sounds like a gently discordant nostalgic Capriol Suite touched with turbo-baroque at one moment and Shostakovich the next. The Foxtrot and Tango of the Butterflies from Aho's Symphony No. 7 Insect Symphony is a rowdy and scatty metropolitan jazz tango - Bernstein in Helsinki. Sibelius's 1915 Romance for cello and piano is a suave and smoochy salon piece written for an undemanding bourgeois mass-market. Just once or twice does one catch a wraith of the Humoresques but that's it. There’s the bonus of lovely sustained tone from Torleif Thedéen. In the same way you can hear Thedéen's intakes of breath so you can hear the mechnical action of Osmo Vänskä's clarinet - yes he is also a clarinettist - in the Romanze from Crusell's Clarinet Quartet No. 1. It's very Mozartean - a poised serenading cantabile. Folke Gräsbeck was the pianist in the Sibelius Romance and he also plays the Three Pieces of 1885 on a somewhat clangy piano. Again these are creatures of the salon though the limping dotty Menuetto is fun. Kokkonen's 1981 Requiem is represented by its Sanctus and Benedictus. The first is powerfully iterative and has the rhapsodic grandeur of vocal Tippett but more melodically lush - even ecstatic. Vänskä reappears for the penultimate track - the Poco vivace from Sibelius's Symphony No. 6. This is part of his fine Sibelius cycle. His reading is irate and muscular. We end with Vänskä and the Lahti orchestra again but this time in Uuno Klami's sparkling folk overture Suomenlinna. It's a cracking piece with some patriotically stirring writing in the outer sections of this substantial item - it would not be surprising if you found yourself thinking of Sibelius's Karelia Suite. In the centre Klami's writing is lusciously Straussian mixed with the Sibelius of the first two symphonies. This is Klami before the stultifyng influence of his Parisian sojourn bit deep into his originality and nationalistic impressionism.

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

Finlandia, Op. 26: Hymn by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Astrid Riska
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Jubilate Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899-1900; Finland 
Koko maailma valittanee, Op. 26b (The Whole World Will Lament) by Pehr Henrik Nordgren
Conductor:  Juha Kangas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra
Period: Modern 
(The) Hades of the Birds: In the world od perfection by Joonas Kokkonen
Written: 1958 
May the hymn of honour now resound by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Astrid Riska
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Jubilate Choir
Written: 1897, rev 1913 
Andantino, Menuetto for Clarinet, 2 Cornets, 2 Horns, Baritone and Tuba: Andantino by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Hermann Bäumer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brass Partout
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890-1891; Finland 
Choral Songs (3), Op. 31: no 1, A Song for Lemminkäinen by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Osmo Vänskä
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lahti Symphony Orchestra,  Helsinki University Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1894; Finland 
Fiddlers, Op. 1 by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Jean-Jacques Kantorow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Sinfonietta Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952/1972; Finland 
Pieces (4) for Violin/Cello and Piano, Op. 78: no 2, Romance by Jean Sibelius
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1915-1919; Finland 
Pieces (3) for Piano by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Folke Gräsbeck (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; Finland 
Requiem: Sanctus & Benedictus. Allegro moderato by Joonas Kokkonen
Written: 1981 
Symphony no 6 in D minor, Op. 104: 3rd movement, Poco vivace by Jean Sibelius
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1923; Finland 
Suomenlinna, Op. 30 by Uuno (Kalervo) Klami
Conductor:  Osmo Vänskä
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lahti Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1940 rewtitten 1944 

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