Sibelius - Kullervo; Kortekangas - Migrations | BIS BIS9048

Sibelius - Kullervo; Kortekangas - Migrations

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Label: BIS

Cat No: BIS9048

Format: SACD

Number of Discs: 2

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 3rd March 2017

Contents

Artists

Lilli Paasikivi (mezzo-soprano)
Tommi Hakala (baritone)
YL Male Voice Choir
Minnesota Orchestra

Conductor

Osmo Vanska

Works

Kortekangas, Olli

Migrations for mezzo-soprano, male-voice choir and orchestra

Sibelius, Jean

Finlandia, op.26
Kullervo, op.7

Artists

Lilli Paasikivi (mezzo-soprano)
Tommi Hakala (baritone)
YL Male Voice Choir
Minnesota Orchestra

Conductor

Osmo Vanska

About

‘The Great Migration’ – as it is sometimes called – of Finns to the United States began some 150 years ago. Many of them settled in the Mid-West, and especially in the so-called ‘Finn Hook’, consisting of parts of Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. To celebrate this, the Minnesota Orchestra under its Finnish music director Osmo Vänskä commissioned the composer Olli Kortekangas to compose a work on the theme of migration, of a scale and nature suitable for performance alongside Jean Sibelius’s great Kullervo. Discovering the work of the Minnesota-based poet Sheila Packa, herself of Finnish descent, Kortekangas composed Migrations for mezzo-soprano, male voice choir and orchestra, the same forces as in Kullervo, with the exception of the baritone soloist in that work. An all-star Finnish cast – soloists Lilli Paasikivi and Tommi Hakala and the celebrated YL Male Voice Choir – joined the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä for three concerts in February 2016, and captured by a recording team from BIS the memorable performances can now be enjoyed by a wider audience.

Sibelius began working on Kullervo during his student days in Vienna in 1891, finding his inspiration in the Kalevala, Finland’s national epic. In a letter home to Finland he wrote about ‘a new symphony, totally in the Finnish spirit’ and the work is often regarded as the first successful example of a Finnish national musical language. In spite of what Sibelius wrote in his letter, the five-movement work is usually regarded as a symphonic poem, but with a duration of c.80 minutes Kullervo certainly has the scale of a large symphony, and as such the present performance forms a worthy appendix to the highly acclaimed Sibelius cycle which the orchestra and Vänskä brought to a close with the recent release of Symphonies Nos. 3, 6 and 7. As a fitting close to this two-disc set, and to the concerts in Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall, the orchestra performs Sibelius’s Finlandia, with the YL Male Voice Choir joining in in the famous hymn section.

Reviews

[Osmo Vänskä’s] new account of Kullervo is conceived very much along the same lines as his first, with an absolute command of the 80-minute span, with its elements of symphony, cantata and opera. Tempi are more or less the same as before, though perhaps instrumental detail is highlighted more obviously this time; whether that’s down to Vänskä’s conducting or to the balance of the recording is hard to say.

As on the previous recording, the mezzo soloist in the central scena for Kullervo and his sister/lover is the thrilling Lilli Paasikivi, again with the Helsinki University-based YL Male Voice Choir providing the narration; Tommi Hakala is the baritone this time.  Andrew Clements
The Guardian 23 February 2017

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