Catalog: ODE 1338-5
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Estonian National Male Choir; Polytech Choir, The; Rusanen, Johanna; Rusanen, Ville; Lintu, Hannu
A fresh new recording of Jean Sibelius’ early breakthrough work by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under its conductor Hannu Lintu. This recording with two male choirs, the Estonian National Male Choir and the Polytech Choir, brings up the full drama of this gigantic 70-minute work which during Sibelius’ lifetime was often referred to as a “symphony”. The work tells the story of Kullervo, a tragic hero drawn from the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala. While a student in Vienna, Sibelius started planning to write a large work that would crystallize the rising Finnish national feeling in music. It was in the cosmopolitan surroundings of Vienna where Sibelius finally discovered the Finnish sound for his orchestral works to follow. Until that moment the art music of his country, even works based on folklore characters such as found in the Kalevala poetry, had been largely influenced and dominated by German Romanticism. For his work Sibelius drew inspiration from traditional Finnish folk music and by studying the Kalevala epic on his own. From the 50 songs of the Kalevala, Sibelius chose passages from the most tragic sections of the work telling the story of Kullervo, an ill-fated young man. With the premiere of this work in Helsinki in 1892, Sibelius became a national hero – and also won the favour of his future father-in-law. Although the work was not performed never again in Sibelius’ lifetime after the following year, the work was a milestone for Sibelius himself in his development as a composer and a symphonist. It was the composer’s first serious attempt in composing a large-scale orchestral work. Kullervo is work by a young composer filled with inspiration, ideas, and drama. Conductor Hannu Lintu recently won the Gramophone Award and ICMA Award for his recording of the Bartók Violin Concertos together with Christian Tetzlaff and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.