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Punapaula (Red Ribbon) – A musical journey around the Baltic Sea
Sweden: Om sommaren sköna – In Lovely Summer (3, 17)
Sweden: Slättervisa – Haymaking Song (2.48)
Sweden: Emigrantvisan – Emigrant Song (3.14)
Finland: PseudoYoik (2.10)
Finland: Tuoli on mun kultani – Yonder, my sweetheart (3, 04)
Finland: Herr Olof – Mr. Olof (3.04)
Finland: Verte tuli mun silimihini – Tears came to my Eyes (2, 47)
Estonia: Laulusild - Song Bridge (2, 47)
Estonia: Aiut-taiut, tahtsin laulda – Aiut-taiut, I wanted to sing. (1.46)
Estonia: Mitu halba ilma pääl – How many miseries? (3.32)
Estonia: Maga, maga, Matsikene – Sleep, sleep Little Mats (3.44)
Finland: Laulan ajoitus – First song (2, 41)
Finnish /Swedish: Mieliteko – Urge Suite
comprising:
Punapaula –Red Ribbon ((1.54)
Lintu –The Bird (2.51)
Janiksen joulu – A rabbit at Christmas (1.18)
Iltalaulu – Evening Song (2.48)
Mieliteko – Urge (1.50)
Talla Vocal Ensemble
DDD Recorded at Riihimäki Garrison Church August 2001 and Kulosaari Church, January 2002.
FINLANDIA 2564-61484-2 [47:42]

 

This could be the shortest review I’ve ever written for Music Web, for as David Mellor says on Classic FM, ‘If you liked that, you’ll like this.’ If you liked the King’s Singers that is, then you’ll like Talla. Instead of six young men though, you’ll find eight: two basses, two baritones, two tenors, a counter-tenor and a soprano / counter-tenor, the extraordinary Pasi Hyökki. It’s all terribly good, but kind of samey regardless of which country the music comes from.

Talla was founded in 1991 and its members have excellent musical CVs. They have actually appeared with the King’s Singers (at the AmericaFest Choir Festival in Minnesota in 2000) and they sang the first ever performance of Rachmaninov’s All- Night Vigil by eight male voices in 2003. Pasi Hyökki himself founded the group and is its Artistic Director. He has attended master classes by the Hilliard Ensemble and conducts a number of choirs including the splendid Cantabile chamber choir in Helsinki.

There’s nothing wrong with the music either, a couple of the pieces are arranged by Bo Holten and the Estonian item Laulusild is by Veljo Tormis. The problem is that the songs really are quite similar to one another and after a while it all seems rather much, particularly since helpful key changes between items aren’t very evident. All in all then, given Talla’s capabilities, seventeen tracks of folk (or pseudo-folk) songs don’t seem the best possible selection to show off their undoubted talents. Better perhaps, to listen to Baltic folk song specialists like the excellent Finnish group Värttina or the Finno – Swedish ensemble Gjallahorn. Gjallahorn’s version of Herr Olof is a different kettle of crayfish. (Finlandia 0630-189627-2)

Bill Kenny


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