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Toivo KUULA (1883-1918)
Syystunnelma (Autumn Mood), Tuijotin tulehen kauan (Long stared I into the Fire), Aamulaulu (Morning song), Kesäyö kirkomaalla (Summer Night in the Churchyard), Epilogi, Suutelo(the Kiss), Marjatan Laulu (Marhatta’s Song), Sinikan Laulu (Sinika’s Song), Sinipiika (Blue Maiden), Lauanta-Ilta (Saturday Evening), Jääkukkia (Ice Flowers), Vanha Syyslaulu (Old Autumn Song), Yö nummella (Night on the Moor), Tule Armaani (Comer, my Sweetheart), Inamdran Laulau (Imandra’s Song),Purjein kuutamolla (Sailing in the Moonlight). [56.02]
Leevi MADETOJA (1887-1947)

Syksy-sarja (Autumn Song-Cycle) (six songs) Syksy (Autumn), Lähtö (The Departure), Luulit, ma katselin sua (You thought I was watching you), Hyvää yötä (Good Night), Lintu sininen (Bluebird), Ijät hyrskyjä päin (Ever against the Breakers) [18.09]
Kirsi Tiihonen (sop); atu Salminen (piano)
rec. Järvenpää Hall, Järvenpää, Finland, 25-27 Aug 1996. DDD
MARCO POLO 8.225177 [74.11]

Here is a recital of songs by two Finnish late-romantic composers born two decades after Sibelius.
Kuula the out-and-out late romantic was killed in the same Finnish civil war that also resulted in the death of Leevi Madetoja's brother, Yrjo. These two composers are linked in stylistic ways too although Madetoja's songs are, not surprisingly, the more maturely developed and sophisticated.
Kuula left 24 solo songs for voice and piano of which all but eight are here. The sixteen on offer range through a Slavonic gloom typical of the Rachmaninov songs (Sinipiiika - Blue Maiden) to the folksy lilt and Schubertian refrain of Aamulaulu (Morning Song), Vanha syyslaulu (Autumn Song) and Sinikan laulu (Sinika's song). Folksong also soaks the pages of Suutelo (The Kiss) but with operatic overtones which are true to the vibrant damask of Tiihonen's voice. It is no surprise to read that Tiihonen has sung in Verdi's Requiem as well as Sibelius's Maiden in the Tower and Luonnotar. Salminen and Tiihonen end the Kuula sequence with the delicate suggestion of moonlight in Purjein kuutamolla (Sailing in the Moonlight).
Madetoja, like Kuula was influenced by the contours of Ostrobothnian folk song. His song cycle is from 1930 while the Kuula songs are from circa 1910 onwards. The Madetoja cycle of six songs is a more refined but no lessy earthy naturalistic sequence. The first song is very high-lying, in fact most of the Madetoja songs in this cycle are written high in the register. The piano accompaniment is more open, more Gallic, in keeping with Madetoja's Parisian sojourns, less Brahmsian perhaps than the Kuula equivalents. Lintu sininen touches in a lilting piano accompaniment like a Gurney song describing his beloved Cotswold hills; half supplication half joyous hymn. The final song of the six leaves the impression of a gallop across some intensely oppressive inscape - again typically late-romantic.
Tiihonen has a noble, maturely operatic voice with a hint of vibrato which here spells distinction rather than ruin.
The words are not printed in the insert.
These songs will satisfy those who have been attracted to Madetoja by the Second Symphony (the outstanding version of which can be found on Warner Apex) or to Kuula by curiosity about a composer who died young in the Finnish nationalist cause.

Rob Barnett

see also review by Anne Ozorio

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