Sibelius: Karelia, Kuolema & Valse Triste


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Sibelius: Karelia, Kuolema & Valse Triste



Catalogue No:




Release date:

1st Oct 1997




75 minutes


CD (download also available)
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Sibelius: Karelia, Kuolema & Valse Triste




Kuolema, Op. 44

Incidental music to the play by Arvid Järnefelt

Valse Triste, Op. 44 No. 1

(revised concert version)

Kirsi Tiihonen (soprano), Raimo Laukka (baritone)

Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä



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Jean Sibelius: Karelia, JS 115 (completed and reconstructed by K. Aho)


Tableau 1 - A Karelian home. News of War

Tableau 2 - The founding of Viipuri Castle

Tableau 3 - Narimont, the Duke of Lithuania, levying taxes in the province of Kakisalmi: Allegro

Intermezzo (I)

Tableau 4 - Karl Knutsson in Viipuri Castle

Tableau 5 - Pontus De la Gardie at the gates of Kakisalmi in 1580: Moderato, ma non lento

Intermezzo (II)

Tableau 6 - The siege of Viipuri

Tableaux 7/8 - The reunion of Old Finland (Karelia) with the rest of Finland

The Finnish national anthem

Jean Sibelius: Kuolema, JS 113

Scene I

Scene II - Paavali's Song: "Pakkanen puhurin poika" (Jack Frost, son of the icy north wind)

Scene III - Elas's Song: "Eilaa, eilaa"

Scene IV

Scene V

Scene VI

Jean Sibelius: 2 Pieces from Kuolema, Op. 44

Valse triste, Op. 44, No. 1

Gramophone Classical Music Guide


“This is a disc which will be of great interest to Sibelians. The original score of the Karelia music was discovered in the conductor Kajanus's library after his death in 1933 and his widow returned it to Sibelius three years later. The music extended to eight tableaux which portrayed various episodes in Karelian history. In the 1940s Sibelius destroyed the score, about which he had had second thoughts since its premiere in 1893, sparing only the overture, the movements familiar from the suite and the first number, 'A Karelian Home – News of War'.
Fortunately for posterity, a set of orchestral parts came to light, albeit incomplete, and were put into shape by Kalevi Kuoso. It was these that the composer Kalevi Aho used in preparing the edition on which this recording is based.
In all there are some 40 minutes of music, over half of which is new. Those familiar with the 'Ballade' from the Op 11 Suite will no doubt be slightly disconcerted to hear the familiar cor anglais melody taken by a baritone and will find the piece too long in its original form. The opening of the fifth tableau, 'Pontus de la Gardie at the gates of Käkisalmi [Kexholm Castle] in 1580', is highly effective and leads into the famous 'Alla marcia'. It's fascinating to hear what the piece is like, and what Sibelius was prepared to lose. Listening to this reaffirms and illumines both the sureness of his artistic judgement and the vitality of his creative imagination. Sibelius's incidental music to Kuolema, the play by his brother-in-law, Arvid Järnefelt, dates from 1903. The most familiar music from it is the Valse triste, which Sibelius revised the following year, adding flute, clarinet, horns and timpani and making it altogether more sophisticated harmonically and melodically.
Osmo Vänskä and his Lahti players prove reliable and responsive guides in this atmospheric music and it's hard to imagine their performances being improved on. Wide-ranging and expertly balanced recorded sound.”

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