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Sibelius: Fire On The Island / Murto, Dominante Choir

Sibelius / Dominante Choir / Seppo Murto / Groop
Release Date: 09/25/2012 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1889  
Composer:  Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



SIBELIUS Rakastava 1. Four Songs, Op. 18. Min rastas raataa. Isänmaalle. Two Italian Folk Song Arrangements 2. Listen to the Water Mill. Ej med klagan. Män från slätten och havet. On lapsonen syntynyt meille. Terve ruhtinatar. Nejden andas. Soi kunniaksi Luojan. Five Contrapuntal Exercises 3. Three Introductory Antiphons 4. Finlandia Hymn Read more Seppo Murto, cond; 1 Monica Groop (mez); 1,2,4 Jorma Hynninen (bar); 2,3 Folke Gräsbeck (pn); 4 Harri Viitanen (org); Dominante Ch BIS 1889 (64:57)


Sibelius wrote choral music throughout his career. There is a great deal of music for chorus and orchestra (in Volume 3 of BIS’s Sibelius Edition); the music here is a cappella or with instrumental accompaniment. These 25 short pieces (the longest, Rakastava , lasts 7:13) represent about a third of Sibelius’s music for mixed chorus; these recordings all appeared in Volume 11 of the Sibelius Edition, with the exception of the Introductory Antiphons , which appeared along with the other religious music in Volume 13. The title of the CD, “Fire on the Island,” is taken from that of one of the op. 18 songs—the Finnish title is Saarella palaa —but the most substantial work here, both in duration and in character, is Rakastava (The Lover), the second version of what would much later become the better-known suite for string orchestra, op. 14. (The original version was for male choir with solo tenor.) This version adds star power in the persons of soloists Monica Groop and Jorma Hynninen. Despite the relative rhythmic and harmonic straightforwardness of the setting, at least in comparison with the string-orchestra version, BIS’s project advisor Andrew Barnett (whose notes I borrow from liberally in the following paragraph) tells me that early performers had a good deal of trouble with it. The present performance features perfectly pure intonation and distinguished solo work from Groop and Hynninen.


Sibelius arranged four of his six male-chorus songs, op. 18, for mixed chorus; the original works date from the years 1893–98. Like most of Sibelius’s choral music, they are predominantly homophonic. Isänmaalle (To the Fatherland) was a patriotic response to Czar Nicholas II’s 1899 crackdown on the Finns, in the “February Manifesto”; originally for male choir, it was arranged for mixed voices a year later. The fragment Listen to the Water Mill is a rare setting in English, apparently from around the time of Sibelius’s first visit to England. Ej med klagen (Not with Lamentation) was written at more or less the same time (1905) on the death of Sibelius’s friend, the painter Albert Edelfelt. Män från slätten och havet (Men from Land and Sea) is from 1911, the year of the Fourth Symphony, and is a mature, substantial work. The latest work here, On lapsonen syntynyt meille (A Child is Born Unto Us), was composed in 1929 for the Finnish Lutheran Evangelical Society, and is one of Sibelius’s last compositions.


In addition, there are contrapuntal exercises written in the 1880s for Sibelius’s teachers Martin Wegelius (in Helsinki) and Albert Becker (in Berlin). These bear little resemblance to Sibelius’s mature music, which almost entirely eschews imitative counterpoint, and thus represent a road not taken. The Three Introductory Antiphons are among Sibelius’s few religious pieces, written in 1925. Soloist Hynninen is thoroughly admirable here. Finally, there is the inevitable Finlandia Hymn.


The Dominante Choir is outstanding in all of this music, and BIS’s sound is beyond reproach. If you’re curious about Sibelius’s choral works but not intrepid enough to buy the six-disc volume (which, however, sells for the price of three), this CD’s for you.


FANFARE: Richard A. Kaplan
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Works on This Recording

1. Rakastava, Op. 14 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: Finland 
2. Partsongs (9), Op. 18: no 6, The song of my heart by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893-1907; Finland 
3. Partsongs (9), Op. 18: no 3, Fire on the island by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893-1907; Finland 
4. Finlandia, Op. 26: Hymn by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899-1900; Finland 
5. Introductory Antiphons (3) by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: Finland 
6. Men from Land and Sea, Op. 65a by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Finland 
7. Nejden andas by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Finland 
8. Soi kunniaksi Luojan by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Finland 
9. Terve ruhtinatar by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Finland 
10. On lapsonen syntynyt meille by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Finland 
11. Not with lamentations "In memory Albert Edelfelt" by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1905; Finland 
12. Listen to the Water Mill by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Finland 
13. Italian Folk Song Arrangements by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Finland 
14. Isänmaalle by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Finland 
15. Min rastas raataa by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Finland 
16. Partsongs (9), Op. 18: no 9, The journey by boat by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893-1907; Finland 
17. Partsongs (9), Op. 18: no 7, The broken voice by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Seppo Murto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominante Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893-1907; Finland 

Featured Sound Samples

Rakastava (The Lover)
Min rastas raataa (Busy as a Thrush)
Finlandia: Hymn

Sound Samples

Rakastava (The Lover), Op. 14, JS 160c (version for choir)
6 Partsongs, Op. 18 (text of Kanteletar, Kalevala and Aleksis): No. 1. Sortunut aani (The Broken Voice)
6 Partsongs, Op. 18 (text of Kanteletar, Kalevala and Aleksis): No. 3. Venematka (The Boat Journey)
6 Partsongs, Op. 18 (text of Kanteletar, Kalevala and Aleksis): No. 4. Saarella palaa (Fire on the Island)
6 Partsongs, Op. 18 (text of Kanteletar, Kalevala and Aleksis): No. 6. Sydameni laulu (Song of my Heart)
Min rastas raataa (The Thrush's Toiling), JS 129
Isanmaalle (To the Fatherland), JS 98a
Costa - Oje Caruli (Oh Caroline), JS 99
Cottrau - Trippole trappole, JS 99
Listen to the Water Mill, JS 122
Ej med klagan (Not with lamentation), JS 69
Man fran slatten och havet (People of Land and Sea), Op. 65a
On lapsonen syntynyt meille (A Child is Born Unto Us), JS 142
Cantata for the Coronation of Nicholas II, JS 104 (text by P. Cajander): Cantata for the Coronation of Nicholas II, JS 104: Terve ruhtinatar (Hail, O Princess)
Islossningen i Ulea alv (The Breaking of the Ice on the Oulu River), Op. 30: Nejden andas (The Landscape Breathes)
Cantata for the Helsinki University ceremonies of 1897, JS 106: Soi kunniaksi Luojan (Hymn in Praise of the Lord) (version for choir)
Morgonens och aftonens portar (Thou Makest the Outgoings of the Morning and Evening to Rejoice)
Der Konig traumte (The King Saw a Dream)
Dies ist der Tag des Herren (This is the Day which the Lord Hath Made)
Die Wasser sahen dich (The Waters Saw Thee)
Herr, du bist ein Fels (Lord, You are a Rock): (version for choir and piano)
Kolme johdantovuorolaulua (3 Introductory Antiphons), JS 110: No. 1. Palmusunnuntaina (On Palm Sunday)
Kolme johdantovuorolaulua (3 Introductory Antiphons), JS 110: No. 2. Pyhainpaivana tai hautajaisjumalanpalveluksissa On All Saints' Day)
Kolme johdantovuorolaulua (3 Introductory Antiphons), JS 110: No. 3. Kristillisissa nuorisojuhlissa (For Christian Youth Ceremonies)
Finlandia-hymni: (Finlandia Hymn)

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