Kuula: Works For Violin & Piano

Album cover art for upc 761203514823
Label: CPO
Catalog: 555148-2
Format: CD

Karmon, Nina; Triendl, Oliver

Although Toivo Kuula was one of the few pupils taught by Sibelius, he never really had to struggle to emerge from his teacher’s shadow into his own independent light. His oeuvre focused not on symphonic music but on areas that were only of peripheral interest to Sibelius: the song with piano accompaniment, choral music, and chamber music. Kuula originally had wanted to be a violinist and continued to favor the violin even after the playing of this instrument had receded into the background and his activities as a composer had come to occupy the foreground. It is thus not surprising that works for violin and piano form the core of his chamber oeuvre and run like a red thread through his entire compositional career. The Sonata Movement of 1906 already attests to the composer’s remarkable mastery in the design of musical processes. The essential difference between this piece and the Violin Sonata op. 1 composed during the following year, when Kuula was a student in Helsinki, is that in the latter work his own voice is present from the very beginning. As a press report demonstrates, its premiere at the Music Academy in Helsinki in 1907 turned out to be a great success for the composer, who was not yet twenty-four years old. The critic Karl Flodin (1858-1925) found: “The sonata is not a pupil’s composition but the product of a mature, independent, and brilliant talent […]. [It] has atmosphere, imagination, poetry, and power, with a strong expression of will.”

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