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Sibelius - Fire on the Island

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Label
Catalogue numberBIS-CD-1889
Release date2012-09-01
Discs1
Orig. sample rate44100Hz

Throughout his career, Jean Sibelius wrote pieces for choir which evince a consistently high standard as well as their creator’s characteristic mode of expression. In spite of this, few of them have entered the international repertoire, largely because of the challenges of the Swedish and Finnish texts to which they are set.
Among the best-known ones are Rakastava (The Lover) and the Six Songs, Op.18, a collection which includes Venematka (The Boat Journey) and the piece which has provided the title of the present disc: Saarella palaa – Fire on the Island. Like so many of Sibelius’ compositions (whether instrumental or vocal), they take their inspiration from the two great national texts of Finland – the Kalevala and Kanteletar collections. The Op.18 songs were originally conceived for male choir, but Sibelius soon made versions for mixed choir of four of them.
These are the versions performed here, by Dominante – one of Finland’s foremost mixed choirs – conducted by Seppo Murto, the choir’s artistic director for more than three decades. With pieces written or arranged between 1887 and 1948, the programme spans the entire active career of the composer, and also includes rarities. Among the more unexpected ones, especially for those who only know the composer from his symphonies, are the two arrangements of what Sibelius himself described as ‘Neapolitan folk songs’: Trippole Trappole and Oje Carulì (Oh Caroline), a light-hearted serenade in which Dominante is joined by the legendary Jorma Hynninen. Hynninen appears elsewhere in the programme, too, along with the mezzo-soprano Monica Groop and with Folke Gräsbeck and Harri Viitanen on piano and organ respectively.
But the great finale of the disc is performed by the choir alone: the hymn section from Finlandia, probably Sibelius’ most famous composition. Reluctant to make a choral arrangement of this orchestral work, the composer finally yielded in his old age: ‘if the world wants to sing, one cannot do anything about it’.
 
Extra material for download
 
01 Rakastava (The Lover), JS160c (1893, rev. 1898) 07:19 $ 1.54 USD
  from Six Songs, Op.18 07:52
02 1. Sortunut ääni (The Broken Voice) 01:39 $ 0.35 USD
03 3. Venematka (The Boat Journey) (1893, arr. 1914) 01:41 $ 0.35 USD
04 4. Saarella palaa (Fire on the Island) (1895, arr. 1898) 01:23 $ 0.29 USD
05 6. Sydämeni laulu (Song of my Heart) (1898, arr. 1904) 03:09 $ 0.66 USD
 
06 Min rastas raataa (Busy as a Thrush), JS129 (c.1898) 01:21 $ 0.28 USD
07 Isänmaalle (To the Fatherland), JS98a (1899, arr. 1900) 02:12 $ 0.46 USD
  Italian Folk Song Arrangements, JS99 (1897–98) 04:57
08 1. Oje Carulì (Oh Caroline) 02:53 $ 0.61 USD
09 2. Trippole trappole 02:04 $ 0.43 USD
 
10 Listen to the Water Mill (fragment), JS122 (1905/06) 03:12 $ 0.67 USD
11 Ej med klagan, JS69 (1905) (Not with Lamentation) 01:31 $ 0.32 USD
12 Män från slätten och havet, Op.65a (1911) (Men from Land
and Sea)
05:28 $ 1.15 USD
13 On lapsonen syntynyt meille, JS142 (1929) (A Child is Born
Unto Us)
02:57 $ 0.62 USD
14 Terve ruhtinatar (Hail, O Princess) (1896, arr. 1913) 01:23 $ 0.29 USD
15 Nejden andas (The Landscape Breathes) 00:43 $ 0.15 USD
16 Soi kunniaksi Luojan (May the Hymn of Honour Now Resound) 01:52 $ 0.39 USD
  Contrapuntal Exercises 15:17
17 Morgonens och aftonens portar (Thou Makest the Outgoings of
the Morning and Evening to Rejoice)
05:08 $ 1.08 USD
18 Der König träumte (The King Saw a Dream) 03:13 $ 0.68 USD
19 Dies ist der Tag des Herren (This is the Day which the Lord
Hath Made)
01:57 $ 0.41 USD
20 Die Wasser sahen dich (The Waters Saw Thee) 02:52 $ 0.60 USD
21 Herr, du bist ein Fels (Lord, You are a Rock) 02:07 $ 0.44 USD
 
  Kolme johdantovuorolaulua, JS110 (1925) (Three Introductory Antiphons) 06:00
22 1. Palmusunnuntaina (On Palm Sunday) 01:56 $ 0.41 USD
23 2. Pyhäinpäivänä tai hautajaisjumalanpalveluksissa (On
All Saints’ Day)
02:33 $ 0.54 USD
24 3. Kristillisissä nuorisojuhlissa (For Christian Youth
Ceremonies)
01:31 $ 0.32 USD
 
25 Finlandia-Hymni (Finlandia Hymn) (1899, arr. 1948) 02:39 $ 0.56 USD
  Album total 01:04:43
Mezzo-sopranoGroop, Monica
BaritoneHynninen, Jorma
ComposerSibelius, Jean
PianoGrasbeck (Gräsbeck), Folke
OrganViitanen, Harri

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