> Finnish Hymns [GPJ]: Classical Reviews- March 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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21 Finnish hymns:-

1. Einí feste Burg
2. Jesus at the seat of Grace
3. Only a moment in time
4. Alleluia, sing to Jesus
5. When will the morning star
6. From Gethsemane there is a path
7. This is the great day
8. Clasp me, O Holy Spirit
9. Veni, creator spiritus
10. Moon and son
11. Nearer my God to thee
12. The earth is the Lordís
13. May the hymn of honour now resound
14. Hear, O heavenly father
15. Hear whom the master calls blessed
16. Who passes on the road
17 Go Zion, to meet your king
18. The blessed day
19. Abide with me
20. Now the world is in bloom
21. Bless and keep us, Lord

Lahti Symphony Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä
Recorded August 2001, at the Church of the Cross, Lahti, Finland
BIS-CD-1149 [76:29]


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This is a curious disc; its title is a bit misleading anyway, as many of the hymns are not Finnish at all. Einí feste Burg is distinctly German, while Alleluia, sing to Jesus is equally distinctly Welsh. This is nit-picking, though, as many Finns no doubt feel these melodies to be theirs, and identify them with their own religious celebrations. Nevertheless, curious.

What we have then are 21 attractive arrangements, some by Vänskä himself, the rest by six other arrangers. There isnít much more to say, to be honest; the tunes are well played, and some of the arrangements are superb. The final one, Bless and keep us Lord, begins with a stirring passage of

Sibelius-pastiche, and features a fine trumpet solo by Ari Heinonen before the whole orchestra takes up the gravely magnificent tune. Not all the settings are on this artistic level, though many are, making it a rewarding listening experience for anyone interested in the art of the arranger Ė or indeed anyone who simply loves good tunes dressed up imaginatively.

An issue, then, principally for the Finnish market, but well worth hearing, and enjoyable, if untaxing, to listen to.

Gwyn Parry-Jones

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