Coronation and Conferment

I walk into HMV after a long absence, and I see not one but two Sibelius CDs classifiable under the “Unusual But Not Earthshaking (Semi-)World-Premiere Stuff from BIS/Ondine/Finlandia”. It didn’t take me long to decide to try them.

On this beautiful Ondine production is an amiable concert programme consisting of an “overture”, the Academic March, two large-scale cantatas, a short but heavenly interlude, and a rousing conclusion. The menu is unusual, and the pleasure derived great. Continue reading Coronation and Conferment

The Origin of Fire – Works for Male Chorus & Orchestra

Sibelius in 1920

Alongside Sibelius’ a capella choral output are the choral-orchestral works, both which still suffer much undeserved neglect. I mean, if you like Kullervo – you ought to try these as well. The most obvious thing to do for Sibelius was to incorporate the choral hymn of Finlandia into the orchestral tone poem – and yet, I only know of two recordings, one with a mixed choir on Ondine (Sibelius Cantatas ODE 754-2) and this committed performance with the Laulun Ystävät Male Choir, under Järvi’s very experienced Sibelian conducting. But more on that later… Continue reading The Origin of Fire – Works for Male Chorus & Orchestra

Your day has dawned – Works for Mixed Choir a cappella

Finland and the other cultures of the Scandinavian region have a rich choral tradition which I suspect not many realize. These countries can trace their history of song back through the ages in the form of, for example, the Finnish runic songs and the oral transmission of folk poetry. In addition, the composition of music for voice, especially of choral ensembles, remains extremely healthy and diverse today. Continue reading Your day has dawned – Works for Mixed Choir a cappella

Kullervo

Symphonic Poem for Soprano, Baritone, Male Chorus and Orchestra, Op.7

An Inktroduction by the Inkpot Sibelius Nutcase™

Sibelius in 1920

Imagine for a moment you live in a country completely unknown for any significant, original musical culture other than, say, an ancient heritage comprising folksongs passed down through the ages. Then suddenly, within some humble concert hall, a local composer conducts a work which somehow creates a single spark of cultural identity which flares and explodes an entire nation’s soul into the being of cultural self-awareness. Continue reading Kullervo