MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: AmazonUK
Download: Classicsonline

Robert KAJANUS (1856-1933)
Finnish Rhapsody No. 1 Op. 5 (1881) [9:26]
Kullervo's Funeral March Op. 3 (1880) [14:43]
Sinfonietta in B flat major Op. 16 (1915) [25:17]
Aino - symphonic poem for male chorus and orchestra (1885 rev. c.1916) [14:26]
Helsinki University Choir/Matti Hyökki
Lahti SO/Osmo Vänskä
rec. Sibelius Hall, Lahti, Finland, 28-31 May 2002; 14 May 2001 (). DDD
BIS BIS-CD-1223 [65:21]
Experience Classicsonline

Think Finland, think Sibelius. Think Kajanus, think conductor.

As we can see from this CD, Kajanus's reputation can rest on more than the fact that he conducted Symphonies 1, 2, 3 and 5 for the 1930s Sibelius Society project - why not the others, I wonder. Here is a CD's worth of his music. The only pity is that space was not made for the Finnish Rhapsody No. 2. As it is, this collection includes the first commercial recordings of his music.

He has not made much of an impact internationally although within Finland there have been radio orchestra broadcasts of Aino and the two rhapsodies conducted by Segerstam, Berglund and Cronvall. It fell to the wonderfully enterprising Leslie Head to conduct the UK premiere of Aino at St Johns Smith Square, London on 20 February 1975 - a very unusual event. Such a pity that we no longer hear from this fine conductor.

To my knowledge this Bis CD is the first all-Kajanus CD. In fact I am hard put to think of any previous Kajanus recordings. Perhaps there have been recordings issued in Finland - let me know.

The confident Kajanus emerged into a still fairly primitive musical world in the Finland of the 1860s and 1870s. He founded the orchestra that was to become the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in competition with Martin Wegelius. He studied in Leipzig and was a drinking friend of Sibelius's (perhaps a Warlock to Sibelius’s Moeran).

He studied with Svendsen in Paris in 1879-80. Svendsen encouraged him to introduce Finnish folksongs into the First Rhapsody, an inoffensively tuneful work included here. It has a rather lovely, and in this recording tenderly played, hymn-like section at 5.10. It includes the folksong I cannot forget you - which sounds a little like Shenandoah. The work has the innocent playfulness of the music of Dvořák and Smetana. It ends in a Lisztian rumpus.

The Kalevala was a significant source of inspiration to Finnish composers. Sibelius used it extensively but before him Filip von Schantz had written a Kullervo overture in 1860. Madetoja and Sallinen were to explore the Kullervo story in music

The Kajanus Kullervo's Funeral March, with its tragic mien, shows the influence of Wagner as well as Berlioz, Mahler (Symphony No. 1) and Tchaikovsky. The beetling angry cortège broods, thunders and flashes. There is also some tenderness at 2.30 on the entry of the Finnish folk tune My poor mother. The slender vitreous writing for the strings foreshadows Sibelius.

We then leave Kajanus's Leipzig days far behind and move to Helsinki. The four movement Sinfonietta was dedicated to Sibelius and both string and wind writing includes characteristic Sibelian touches. These look back towards the Second Symphony; not towards the contemporaneous Fifth. The Intermezzo echoes some of Sibelius's lighter music including also the bucolic suites of Ludolf Nielsen. The Molto adagio third movement is of quite another order. This is extremely touching and here most sensitively carried off by Vänskä and the Lahti Orchestra. This movement should feature in anthologies in its own right. The final allegro con fuoco has some startlingly vivid string writing even if the wind contribution recalls the Apprentices music from Meistersinger.

Lastly comes the Aino poem which includes a brief part for male chorus singing words from ‘The Kalevala’. Once again Wagner is a clear influence whether in references to brooding funereal music or to Meistersinger. At 2.10 the acceleration sounds Brucknerian, rising to a slow-striding Wagnerian grandeur perhaps mixed with elements from the last movement of Tchaikovsky's Pathétique. It could easily be ranked alongside the 'second rank' Tchaikovsky tone poems such as Fatum and Hamlet and with Liszt works such as Hunnenschlacht, Ce qu'on entends sur la montagne and From the Cradle to the Grave. There is some gloriously raw brass writing - regal and courageous. The last five minutes usher in the warming choral part entering with gentle affirmation like a benediction. The great arching theme is carried high and in victory by choir and orchestra. A touch of the grand tune from Finlandia here.

Good informative notes by Andrew Barnett. The words of the Aino symphony are printed in Finnish and in English translation.

Wagnerian late romanticism with the subtlest Sibelian flavour ... all extremely well done.

Rob Barnett




















Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.