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Eero HÄMEENNIEMI  (b. 1951)
Sade ja punainen maa (Red Earth and Pouring Rain) (2008) [33:30]
Lintu ja tuuli (The Bird and the Wind) (1994) [35:15]
Bombay Jayashri (voice), Pungkulam Subramaniam (mridangam), S. Karthick (ghatam) Laura Leisma (soprano) (The Bird and the Wind)
Avanti!/John Storgårds;
rec. YLE Pasila, studios M1 and M2, 11-12 August 2009, 22-23 April 2010. DDD
world premiere recordings
ALBA ABCD 320 [69:03]

Experience Classicsonline

In my review of Alba’s CD (ABCD 214) of the Hämeenniemi’s Symphony No. 3 and Viola Concerto I noted that the composer had taken a special interest in Indian culture. It takes a more obvious presence in the first work on this disc. I should also mention a disc I have not yet heard: Ondine ODE 835-2 (1994) which features the Violin Concerto and the first two symphonies (1983, 1988): The Fourth and most recent is from 2004.
Red Earth and Pouring Rain is dominated by the Indian subcontinent and the ululations and vocal undulations of Bombay Jayashri. Her singing role occasionally takes on the patina of commercial romantic music - à la John Barry. There are two native Indian instruments - Mridangam and Ghatam - but the strings tactfully establish a suave bed of sighing sound. The eminent Jayashri is well known in Karnatic music circles - the same culture that also fascinated twentieth century French composer Jacques Charpentier. The heat-haze shimmers in Sempullapleyalnir but such languor is dispelled by the life-coursing Nilattinum which at times sounds like an Appalachian barn-dance. Jayashri's voice is the kingpin here though around it the composer spins a de luxe cloud of sounds, melodies and rhythmic zest.
From a more conventional milieu we also hear The Bird and the Wind. This is a song-cycle of about the same duration as Red Earth and Pouring Rain - for soprano. There are solos from violinist Jukka Rantamaki and cellist Larimatti Punelpuro. The soprano role is very demanding and Laura Leisma meets this in spades. The sound is not that far removed from the world of Sibelius's Luonnotar. The titles of the episodes are for dance and for voice. The penultimate movement is an orchestral climax.
So ends this stimulatingly original collection which explores and presents music that blithely mixes avant-garde touches, with Sibelian style and Indian exotica.
A fine contribution to the national composer catalogue of Finnish hero, Alba.
Rob Barnett
Track List
1 Marai vilaiyaadum (Where the rain clouds play) 5:27
2 Malaiyidaiyitta (He does not live beyond the hills) 2:36
3 Sempulappeyalniir (Once the rain has poured on the red earth) 14:13
4 Nilattinum peridee (Vast is the earth) 3:15
5 Kaamam kaamam (Love, love) 7:59
6 Pääskyläinen päivälintu (The creation of the world) 5:31
7 Tuuli tuo äänen (The wind brings the sound of life) dance 2:44
8 Tuuli tuo äänen (The wind brings the sound of life) song 4:01
9 Jos olet tuska (If, pain, you were brought by the wind) song 4:22
10 Jos olet tuska (If, pain, you were brought by the wind) dance 4:01
11 Juokseeko lapsi (Does the child run to its mother?) song 2:04
12 Juokseeko lapsi (Does the child run to its mother?) dance 2:47
13 Orchestral climax 3:49
14 Nuku, nuku (Lullaby) 5:56  





















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