Content:
Jean Sibelius
Kullervo

Artists:
Soile Isokoski, soprano
Tommi Hakala, baritone
YL Male Voice Choir
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Leif Segerstam, conductor

Genres:
Orchestral
Choral
Vocal

Features:
Hybrid SACD (recorded in DXD; SACD Surround 5.0 / SACD Stereo / CD Stereo - playable on all SACD and CD players); booklet with liner notes written in English, Finnish, German and French and the song lyrics in the original Finnish and in English
Format:
CD / SACD

Released:
April 2008 (Finland)
May 2008 (internationally)

Catalogue No.:
ODE 1122-5

EAN/UPC Code:
0761195112250

Track listing

Disc 77:56
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
Kullervo, Op. 7
1 I. Introduction (Johdanto): Allegro moderato 14:16
2 II. Kullervo's Youth (Kullervon nuoruus): Grave 16:33
3 III. Kullervo and His Sister (Kullervo ja hänen sisarensa): Allegro vivace 24:39
4 IV. Kullervo Goes To War (Kullervon sotaanlähtö): Alla marcia (Allegro molto) 9:47
5 V. Kullervo's Death (Kullervon kuolema): Andante 12:41



Also recommended...

Awards

Diapason d'or de l'année 2008
Diapason d'or
ClassicsToday.com '10/10'
klassik-heute.com '10 • 10 • 10'

Press review

If I had to choose just one orchestral disc from 2008, it would be Leif Segerstam's resinous 'Kullervo' with the Helsinki Philharmonic.
Anna Picard, The Independent, December 28, 2008, The best Classical albums of 2008

Segerstam stirs his orchestra to grasp the length and breadth of the piece and make it live. (...) Soile Isokoski (performs) with penetrating emotion and keening intensity. Baritone Tommi Hakala (...) musters the same directness and intensity (...). The male chorus sings with stern unanimity and atmospheric feeling (...). And the record sound spaciously takes it all in.
John W. Freeman, Opera News, December 2008

(Soile Isokoski) surpasses herself - and, I think, anyone else I've heard - in creating a self-contained scena for her third-movement lament. (...) A contribution to this (...) work which deserves to win currency outside connoisseurs of early Sibelius.
Peter Quantrill, Gramophone, October 2008

(...) this version has to be a candidate for the best yet.
Malcolm Hayes, Classic FM Magazine, August 2008, Opera & Vocal Disc of the Month

(Leif Segerstam) s'installe avec force au sommet de la discographie. (...) Soile Isokoski (est) tout simplement insurpassable dans cette écriture où les irisations de sa voix sont un pur joyeau.
Christian Merlin, Diapason, July/August 2008, Diapason d'or

Beredter kann man dieses Werk nicht musizieren.
Ekkehard Pluta, klassik-heute.com, July 17, 2008, 10 • 10 • 10

(...) the best solo singing the work has ever received. In particular, Soile Isokoski is simply miles away from the matronly mezzos who often take the part of Kullervo's sister.
David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com, May 2008, Disc of the Month, Artistic Quality 10 / Sound Quality 10, Top 10 CDs of 2008

Segerstam displays the fine fabric of this work better than anyone (...) The work's architecture and its hauntingly well built climaxes are Segerstam's forte. (...) In SACD multi-channel fomat, this music sounds overwhelming.
Jukka Isopuro, Helsingin Sanomat, March 29, 2008

This latest wholly Finnish production is up there with the best. (...) Leif Segerstam commands these elements with true authority, and the Helsinki Philharmonic responds with playing, by turns elemental and delicate. (...) The recording, made in Helsinki's Finlandia Hall, captures the epic scale of the work.
Matthew Rye, The Daily Telegraph, March 24, 2007, Classical CD of the Week

Complete description

The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra has a long and triumphant association with the music of Jean Sibelius, having premièred under the composer's baton almost all of his symphonic works. On this release, they perform, under their longstanding chief conductor Leif Segerstam, Sibelius's early choral symphony Kullervo. The work is based on the legend of Kullervo in the epic Kalevala, which tells the mythic history of the ancient Finns. The great success of the 1892 première in Helsinki - Sibelius conducted the Helsinki Philharmonic - turned out to be the breakthrough of the great Finnish composer's career who became a true national hero.

The sung parts in the third and fifth movement are performed by native speakers: the famous Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski whose Sibelius Orchestral Songs album on Ondine (featuring the Helsinki Philharmonic/Leif Segerstam) won both a BBC Music Magazine Disc of the Year Award and a MIDEM Classical Award in 2007; the acclaimed baritone Tommi Hakala, who won the 2003 BBC 'Singer of the World' award; and the internationally reputed YL Male Voice Choir, which in the year of this release looks back on 125 years of history and many commissions of Sibelius's best-known choral works.

Recorded in DXD, this hybrid SACD provides for an ecstatic sound experience of this haunting music. This release completes the acclaimed Sibelius Symphonies Cycle with Leif Segerstam and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, which was hailed as "a major Sibelius event" by ClassicsToday.com.