JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Lemminkäinen in Tuonela, Op. 22/1 (1897 version - First Recording), LEEVI MADETOJA (1887-1947): Kullervo, Op. 15, TAUNO PYLKKÄNEN (1918-1980): Kullervo Goes to War, UUNO KLAMI (1900-1961): Karelia Suite, Op. 23.
Catalogue Number: 11X037
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Finnish composers from later generations all had to find a way out from under Sibelius’s shadow – especially so when composing works based on the Kalevala. The portraits of Kullervo which bookend the disc, by Madetoja and Pylkkänen, are both compact works in contrast to Sibelius’s large-scale ‘choral symphony’ on the same theme, and when Klami used bold and primitive colors in his five-movement Kalevala Suite, he was looking towards Stravinsky rather than his countryman. The most obscure of these is that by Pylkkänen. This was composed during the Second World War, and in its defiance the work reflects the mood in Finland at the time of its composition. The ten-minute work was inspired by Axel Gallén’s fresco depicting the same subject (1901). Both the subject matter and musical material are typical of a young composer. It is a traditionally Romantic and exuberantly effervescent work, and does not yet exhibit the tonally freer style to which Pylkkänen would progress in many of his operas. The themes with their galloping rhythms and the work’s energy emphasize Kullervo’s warlike character, but the lyrical middle section, enriched by a cor anglais solo, brings with it melancholy and, in the end, tragically concentrated emotions. Lahti Symphony Orchestra; Dima Sobodeniouk.