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Recorded at Air Studios, Hampstead, London, 24-26 January 2011
This remarkable programme presents songs and orchestral music by Finnish composer Toivo Kuula (1883-1918), a pupil of Sibelius who died young. Best-known for his songs and choral music, Kuula’s arresting orchestral music draws heavily on folk legends and Ostrobothnian folksong and constitutes some of the most striking Finnish music of its time. Renowed soprano Susan Gritton and the BBC Concert Orchestra under the inspired baton of Martyn Brabbins give spellbinding accounts of this gloriously colourful repertoire.
Full song text in booklet (both original Finnish and an English translation)
Kuula: Merenkylpijäneidot (The Sea-Bathing Nymphs), Op.12
Kuula: South Ostrobothnian Suite No.2, Op. 20 - 1. Tulopeli (The Arrival Of The Wedding Violinists)
Kuula: South Ostrobothnian Suite No.2, Op. 20 - 2. Metsässä Sataa (It Rains In The Forest)
Kuula: South Ostrobothnian Suite No.2, Op. 20 - 3. Minuee (Minuet)
Kuula: South Ostrobothnian Suite No.2, Op. 20 - 4. Orpolasten Polska (Polka Of The Orphaned Children)
Kuula: South Ostrobothnian Suite No.2, Op. 20 - 5. Hiidet Virvoja Viritti (Daemons Lighting Up The Will-O-The-Wisp)
Kuula: Four Songs With Orchestra - 1. Kesäilta (Summer Evening)
Kuula: Four Songs With Orchestra - 2. Tuijotin Tulehen Kauan, Op.2 (Long I Stared Into The Fire) - Orch. By Aarre Merikanto
Kuula: Four Songs With Orchestra - 3. Karjapihassa, Op. 31a No.2 (In The Cattle Yard)
Kuula: Four Songs With Orchestra - 4. Purjein Kuutamolla, Op.31a No.1 (Sailing In The Moonlight)
Kuula: Concert Suite - Orjan Polka, Op.14b (Son Of A Slave)
Kuula: Impi Ja Pajarin Poika, Op. 18 (The Maiden And The Son Of A Boyar)
Kuula: Prelude And Fugue, Op.10 - Preludio
Kuula: Prelude And Fugue, Op.10 - Fugue
“Susan Gritton's performance is operatically charged, and very effective, as is her involving account of the 12-minute song-story Impi Ja Pajarin Poika...[Hiidet Virvoja Viritti] has a dash of Rimsky-Korsakov about it. The symphonic legend Orjan Poika (Son of a Slave) is a more sombre composition, and is powerfully shared here by Martyn Brabbins.”
“Gritton sings [the Two Songs Op. 31a] superbly well but the pick are the impressive and impressionistic 'The Sea-bathing Nymphs' (1909-10) and darkly dramatic 'The Maiden and the Son of a Boyar', sung with fervour and intensity. Lovers of Ravel and Bax will delight in these…An enthralling disc.”
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