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Kalervo TUUKKANEN (1909-1979)
The Loggers (Tukkijoella) Overture Op. 1 (1934 rev. 1956) [5:58]
Serenata Giocosa Op. 4 (1944) [25:21]
Evening Song Op. 9 No. 3 (1944) [4:32]
Midsummer Dance Op. 9 No. 4 (1944) [2:53]
Little Suite for strings to the play Pilvi (Cloud) (1940 rev. 1960) [8:14]
Romantic Moments for strings (1941 rev. 1960) [10:06]
Tempus Festum (1950) [6:19]
Joensuu City Orchestra/Hannu Koivula
rec. Carelia Hall, Joensuu, 20-25 March 2003. DDD
ALBA ABCD 189 [64.04]


The Finnish company Alba have a splendid and flourishing catalogue that tends to get the cold shoulder outside Finland. In fact their Tubin and Madetoja series merit serious attention. Here the company turns its attention to the romantic-melodic music of Kalervo Tuukanen. The style is light Sibelian, tuneful and sincere. The string writing marks out long singing lines and the woodwind chortles and chuckles gleefully. Heavy-booted folk dances can be heard as for example in the Moderato of the Serenata. A sleepy repose settles over the Andantino con moto which could here have done with more moto and less andantino from Koivola. The Allegro con fuoco chatters along in playfully Karelian spirits as does the freestanding Midsummer Dance. Evening Song harks back to the warm bath of string sound in the Serenata's andantino. A quick approximation of Tuukkanen in playful mood is the Wirén Serenade for strings. The music has a similar bounce.

The Little Suite has a gentle wan poetry typical of Rakastava but sometimes with a misty Gallic touch as in the works of Uuno Klami especially in the impressionistic har of his Sea Pictures. Romantic Moments has two long, slow, faintly melancholic movements framing a sparkling Wirén-like Scherzino. After these works the quasi-Shostakovich tension at the start of Tempus Festum comes as a slight jolt but Tuukkanen soon returns to the sort of writing Madetoja was penning in his Second Symphony in 1915.

This is light music but not in the Coates or Ketèlbey sense. The music evinces a tasteful sensibility with leanings towards national-impressionism and emotional fluency. Madetoja and Klami are reference points. I would welcome hearing Tuukkanen's other orchestral works. There are six symphonies, a cello concerto, two violin concertos and the symphonic tone picture for male chorus and orchestra The Bear Hunt to a text by Alexis Kivi. This latter was recorded as part of the famed Fennica LP recording project (does anyone have a copy they could CDR for me please) also including Tuukkanen’s Character Sketches of The Three Musketeers. The Third Symphony The Sea and his Second Violin Concerto were recorded on Finlandia in the 1990s. That disc was financed from royalty income. That's another CD I would like to track down (available from http://www.jyvaskylasinfonia.fi/sivu.php/levy_thesea. )

Meat and drink to anyone wanting some gently impressionistic, romantic, Scandinavian music. Documentation and recording choices excellent,

Rob Barnett



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