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.