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Merikanto: Elamalle, Etc / Jorma Hynninen, Ilkka Paananen


Release Date: 04/22/2008 
Label:  Ondine   Catalog #: 1111   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Jorma HynninenIlkka Paananen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



MERIKANTO Songs Jorma Hynninen (bar); Ilkka Paananen (pn) ONDINE 1111 (60:48 Text and Translation)


Omenankukat. Linnule kirkkomaalla. Suvi-illan vieno tuuli. Muistellessa. Miksi laulan. Kullan murunen. Merellä. Myrskylintu. Laatokka. Iltakellot. Haudoilta-sarja. Hyvästi. Hyvää yötä. Hämärissä. Elämälle. Annina. Illansuussa. Nocturne. Balladi. Read more Nuoruuden ylistys. Soi vienosti murheeni soitto. Ma élan


I hardly know where to begin. Is it the beauty of Oskar Merikanto’s songs that makes this disc so appealing? Or is it the astonishing singing of Jorma Hynninen, who recorded this in April 2007, when he was 66 years old? Okay—it’s both. And as a bonus we get inspired piano-playing from Ilkka Paananen, whose accompaniments are much more than accompaniments.


Merikanto (1868–1924) would have been the first to admit his debt to Sibelius, and anyone who finds the Finnish master’s music appealing will almost certainly enjoy this disc too. Merikanto wrote in a number of forms, and was known as a pianist and organist throughout Finland. He was, in fact, a sought-after accompanist for singers, which makes clear why his songs are thoughtfully written for both the voice and the piano. While groups of songs of his have appeared on recitals by Scandinavian singers in the past (Isokoski, Hynninen himself, and others), this is the first CD I am aware of that is devoted solely to Merikanto’s songs—a total of 25 of them. For anyone who loves the Romantic song literature, this is a must.


The overwhelming quality one hears in this music is its lyricism, much of it truly inspired. Not for Merikanto the tortured psyche of Hugo Wolf, for instance. But don’t think that means these are uniformly “pretty” and little else. The cycle Haudoilta-sarja (or “From the Grave”) is a deeply felt attempt to come to terms with death, and with triumph over death in the end. After the first half dozen quite lilting songs on the disc, we are suddenly shaken by the drama of Merellä (“At Sea”) and Myrskylintu (“Stormbird”). There is a very wide range of feeling explored in these songs, and the level of inspiration never flags.


I was certain that this must be a reissue of some old recording that I had missed, so young did the singing sound. But that is not the case, and whatever Hynninen is taking, I want some too. There is virtually no wear on the voice at all, despite 37 years of singing professionally, and his feel for this music clearly comes from deep within. He inflects the songs with imagination and complete conviction, all while singing with beautiful tone. Paananen, who has worked regularly with the baritone, also feels Merikanto’s music deeply and naturally. Ondine’s sound is wonderfully balanced, not unnaturally favoring the singer (as song recordings often do), and the notes, texts, and translations are very helpful. This is recommended with complete enthusiasm.


FANFARE: Henry Fogel
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Songs, Op. 53: no 1, Apple blossoms by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Jorma Hynninen (Baritone), Ilkka Paananen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
2.
Songs, Op. 52: no 2, To a bird in the churchyard by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Jorma Hynninen (Baritone), Ilkka Paananen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
3.
Songs (3), Op. 87: no 2, Summer evening's breeze by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Jorma Hynninen (Baritone), Ilkka Paananen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
4.
Songs, Op. 11: no 2, Remembering by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Ilkka Paananen (Piano), Jorma Hynninen (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
5.
Songs, Op. 20: no 2, Why do I sing? by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Jorma Hynninen (Baritone), Ilkka Paananen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Finland 
6.
Songs, Op. 20: no 1, Thou art a nugget of gold by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Jorma Hynninen (Baritone), Ilkka Paananen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
7.
Songs, Op. 47: no 4, At sea by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Jorma Hynninen (Baritone), Ilkka Paananen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Finland 
8.
Songs, Op. 30: no 4, Myrsklintu by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Ilkka Paananen (Piano), Jorma Hynninen (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
9.
Songs, Op. 83: no 1, Lake Ladoga by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Jorma Hynninen (Baritone), Ilkka Paananen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
10.
Songs, Op. 106: no 1, Evening bells by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Jorma Hynninen (Baritone), Ilkka Paananen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
11.
Songs (3), Op. 87: no 3, Farewell by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Jorma Hynninen (Baritone), Ilkka Paananen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
12.
Songs, Op. 75: no 1, Good Night by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Ilkka Paananen (Piano), Jorma Hynninen (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
13.
Songs, Op. 93: no 4, To life by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Ilkka Paananen (Piano), Jorma Hynninen (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
14.
Venetian Songs(3), Op. 51: no 2, Annina by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Jorma Hynninen (Baritone), Ilkka Paananen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
15.
Songs, Op. 69: no 2, In late afternoon by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Jorma Hynninen (Baritone), Ilkka Paananen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
16.
Nocturne by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Jorma Hynninen (Baritone), Ilkka Paananen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Finland 
17.
Songs, Op. 69: no 4, Ballade by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Jorma Hynninen (Baritone), Ilkka Paananen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
18.
Songs, Op. 69: no 3, In Praise of Youth by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Ilkka Paananen (Piano), Jorma Hynninen (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
19.
Songs, Op. 71: no 1, I Live by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Ilkka Paananen (Piano), Jorma Hynninen (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
20.
Songs, Op. 36: no 3, Play softly, thy tune of my mourning by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Jorma Hynninen (Baritone), Ilkka Paananen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
21.
From the Graves, Op. 74 by Oskar Merikanto
Performer:  Jorma Hynninen (Baritone), Ilkka Paananen (Piano)

Sound Samples

Finnish Song Compositions VI, Op. 53: No. 1. Omenankukat (Apple Blossom)
Finnish Song Compositions V, Op. 52: No. 2. Linnulle kirkkomaalla (To a bird in the churchyard)
Yksinlauluja (Solo Songs), Op. 87: No. 2. Suvi-illan vieno tuuli (Summer evening's breeze)
Finnish Song Compositions II, Op. 11: No. 2. Muistellessa (Remembering)
3 Songs, Op. 20: No. 2. Miksi laulan (Why I Sing)
3 Songs, Op. 20: No. 1. Kullan murunen (Thou Art a Nugget of Gold)
4 Songs, Op. 47: No. 4. Merella (At sea)
Finnish Song Compositions IV, Op. 30: No. 4. Myrskylintu (Stormbird)
Songs, Op. 83: No. 1. Laatokka (Lake Ladoga)
Songs, Op. 106: No. 1. Iltakellot (Evening bells)
Haudoilta (From the Graves), Op. 74: No. 1. Valkeat ristit (White crosses)
Haudoilta (From the Graves), Op. 74: No. 2. Laulaja taivaan portilla (A singer at the gate of Heaven)
Haudoilta (From the Graves), Op. 74: No. 3. Kay kirkkomaata illoin vanhat mummot (In the churchyard at eventide)
Haudoilta (From the Graves), Op. 74: No. 4. Paivannousu kultaa kirkkomaan (Sunrise gilds the churchyard)
Yksinlauluja (Solo Songs), Op. 87: No. 3. Hyvasti (Farewell!)
3 Songs, Op. 75: No. 1. Hyvaa yota (Good night)
3 Songs, Op. 96: No. 1. Hamarissa (In the twilight)
4 Songs, Op. 93: No. 4. Elamalle (To life)
Venezianska visor (Venetian Songs), Op. 51: No. 2. Annina
Finnish Song Compositions VIII, Op. 69: No. 2. Illansuussa (At nightfall)
Nocturne
Finnish Song Compositions VIII, Op. 69: No. 4. Ballaadi (Ballad)
Finnish Song Compositions VIII, Op. 69: No. 3. Nuoruuden ylistys (Praise of youth)
Lauluja pianon saestyksella (Songs with piano), Op. 36: No. 3. Soi vienosti murheeni soitto
2 Songs, Op. 71: No. 1. Ma elan (I Am Alive!)

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