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Karita Mattila - Helsinki Recital [CD & DVD]

Duparc / Saariaho / Dvorak / Mattila / Katz
Release Date: 08/30/2010 
Label:  Ondine   Catalog #: 4004   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Henri DuparcKaija SaariahoSergei RachmaninovAntonín Dvorák,   ... 
Performer:  Karita MattilaMartin Katz
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Karita Mattila, soprano
Martin Katz, piano

Recorded live at the Finnish National Opera, Helsinki, 1 and 8 October 2006.

Bonus CD featuring Karita Mattila with pianist Ilmo Ranta performing songs by Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Sibelius, Kuula and Melartin.
Lyrics included in the booklet

Picture format: NTSC 16:9
Sound format: PCM Stereo / Dolby Digital 5.0
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Menu languages: English, Finnish
Booklet notes: English, German, French, Finnish
Running time: 91 mins

Review of CD

The Saariaho cycle is the first recording of a work dedicated to the singer. In keeping with the composer’s general
Read more Francophilia, it sets four poems by Amin Maalouf. “That these instants have to do with the different aspects of love,” comments Saariaho, “must be due to the many experiences I have had with Karita interpreting opera roles of women in love in different ways.” Those familiar with Saariaho’s operas will recognise the intervallic leaps, wide-ranging use of the voice and the fact that this composer’s muse is essentially a lyrical one. It would be no surprise if these miniatures became a popular recital item.

Here they make a potent contrast to the lush Duparc group – five mini-essays in French Wagneriana, or, especially in Théophile Gautier’s gaunt Au pays où se fait la guerre, Gallic contemporaries of Mahler’s Wunderhorn settings. Mattila invests them with weight and drama. Following the Saariaho, passion is torn to tatters in the Rachmaninov group, with perhaps the strongest advocacy of the two Pushkin settings (Oh, do not sing to me and The Muse) since Söderström. Then, instead of making this the final item, Mattila opts for the gentler, even light-hearted, envoi of the Dvorák songs – superbly done, with a real wit and character.

Nothing but praise then for the soprano, with generous, untiring and subtly detailed concentration over a longish time span in heavy repertoire, or for her accompanist (Katz is a real listener to what his singer does). The recording is warm if slightly woolly.

-- Mike Ashman, Gramophone [8/2007]

"[Mattila’s] singing goes straight to the heart, and one doesn’t have to be To the Class Born to appreciate the excellence of her interpretations. She is a master communicator, one of those very rare operatic songbirds who really care about interpretation and communication. One salient feature of the DVD is that the sound, though somewhat imperfect in terms of reproducing her voice, brings out better than many others its power and that delicious combination of silk and dark metal in her voice. I personally didn’t feel that she controls the soft passages well enough in L’Invitation au voyage or Phidylé to bring out their most haunting quality (Janet Baker is my gold standard in these)—the same is true of Rachmaninoff’s O Do Not Sing to Me, Fair Maiden—but at least she tries and she comes close. By contrast, every single moment of Kaija Saariaho’s brief song cycle Quatre Instants is stunningly perfect for Mattila, probably because it was written specifically for her (this is its premiere recording). The harmonic language is bitonal yet still lyrical, sort of a Finnish twist on Poulenc. I was very happy that the lyrics were included in the DVD’s booklet, since there are no accessible subtitles on the disc. Dvo?ák’s Gypsy Songs are right up Mattila’s alley, music that sounds as tailor-made for her as Saariaho’s song cycle, and in them you can visibly see her (metaphorically) letting her hair down and really getting into them. And here’s something else: By the time she finishes her encores, Golden Earrings and Minun kultani kaunis on (My Gal Is So Pretty), she’s barefoot, down on the floor, and enjoying every minute of it. An interesting visual journey, that, from bejeweled splendor to just getting down and being herself.

Martin Katz’s accompaniment is nothing short of breathtaking: well phrased, emotionally intense, technically flawless, and smoldering with an undercurrent of intensity. He draws no attention to himself by his actions at the keyboard, but the sounds he produces burn themselves on the mind."

-- Lynn René Bayley , Fanfare

This recital, live from Finnish National Opera in 2006, is a thrilling crescendo of the performance art of one of the greatest living sopranos. You can now watch the fine detail of how Karita Mattila gives her physical all in recital as much as on the operatic stage. (...) a real treasure trove of delights!

-- Hilary Finch, BBC Music Magazine [Christmas 2010] Performance *****
Picture & Sound ****
Extras *****
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Works on This Recording

1. L'invitation au voyage by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Karita Mattila (Soprano), Martin Katz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1870; France 
2. Romance de Mignon by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Karita Mattila (Soprano), Martin Katz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1869; France 
3. Au pays où se fait la guerre by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Karita Mattila (Soprano), Martin Katz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: ?1869-70; France 
4. Chanson triste by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Karita Mattila (Soprano), Martin Katz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1868; France 
5. Phidylé by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Karita Mattila (Soprano), Martin Katz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1882; France 
6. Quatre Instants by Kaija Saariaho
Performer:  Karita Mattila (Soprano), Martin Katz (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: 2002; Finland 
7. Songs (6), Op. 4: no 4, Sing not to me, beautiful maiden by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Karita Mattila (Soprano), Martin Katz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Russia 
8. Songs (12), Op. 21: no 3, Twilight by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Karita Mattila (Soprano), Martin Katz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Russia 
9. Songs (12), Op. 21: no 6, Loneliness by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Karita Mattila (Soprano), Martin Katz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Russia 
10. Songs (14), Op. 34: no 1, The muse by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Karita Mattila (Soprano), Martin Katz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1912; Russia 
11. Songs (14), Op. 34: no 12, What happiness by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Karita Mattila (Soprano), Martin Katz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910-1912; Russia 
12. Zigeunermelodien (7), Op. 55/B 104 by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Karita Mattila (Soprano), Martin Katz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Bohemia 
13. Golden Earrings: Golden Earrings by Victor Young
Performer:  Karita Mattila (Soprano), Martin Katz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947 
14. Minun kultani by Traditional
Performer:  Karita Mattila (Soprano), Martin Katz (Piano)
Written: Finland 

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