Track listing Complete description Also recommended...

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Peter Lieberson

Songs of Love and Sorrow

The Six Realms




Sleeve notes in English and Finnish. Lyrics in original languages and in English translation.


September 2020

Catalogue No.:
ODE 1356-2


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Track listing

The Six Realms (2000) for amplified violoncello and orchestra
The Sorrow of The World

The Hell Realm

The Hungry Ghost Realm

The Animal Realm

The Human Realm

The God Realm and The Jealous God Realm

Songs of Love and Sorrow (2010) for baritone and orchestra
Sonnet XLVI (“Des las estrellas que admiré,...”)

Sonnet XII (“Plena mujer, manzana carnal, luna caliente...”)

Sonnet LII (“Cantas y a sol y a cielo con tu canto...”)

Sonnet LXIX (“Tal vez no ser es ser sin que tú seas...”)

Sonnet LXXXII (“Amor mío, al cerrar esta puerta nocturna...”)

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Complete description

This new album by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and its chief conductor Hannu Lintu is dedicated to works by American composer Peter Lieberson (1946–2011). This album features award-winning bass-baritone Gerald Finley as soloist in Lieberson’s song cycle Songs of Love and Sorrow and Lieberson’s close friend Anssi Karttunen as soloist in The Six Realms for cello and orchestra.


Lieberson’s Songs of Love and Sorrow is a deeply personal work. Lieberson had received a commission in 2005 to write a work for his wife, mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. This project was interrupted by Lorraine’s death and soon after also the composer was diagnosed with cancer. The news of being awarded the Grawemeyer Award for his earlier song cycle Neruda Songs (2005) encouraged the composer to write another cycle on Neruda’s poetry, Songs of Love and Sorrow. The work was premiered by Gerald Finley in 2010. The composer wrote in his program notes: “I suppose that my life story of the past three years is not dissimilar to many others. The basic truths of love and sorrow are, I think, experiences that all of us understand very well. To have one without the other is not likely, but certainly it is our capacity to love that makes this human life so poignant.”


Buddhist religion had played a significant role in Lieberson’s life since the early 1970s. This also had an impact on Lieberson’s compositions. According to Lieberson, “When I started writing music again, my style had changed... There was less sense of struggle... the horizon expanded. It’s as if you had tunnel vision, and then you have panoramic vision. Studying Buddhism also affected my approach to composing [in that] I understand there’s a kind of journey that’s made.” Lieberson directed a Buddhist training center for years before devoting his time exclusively to composition since 1994. At the request of Yo-Yo Ma, Lieberson conceived a concerto for amplified cello and orchestra, entitled The Six Realms, that outlines a key Buddhist teaching: that differing states of mind and emotions color our view of the world and shape human experience. This philosophy is reflected in the piece’s formal structure; each of the concerto’s six continuous sections represents a different state of being.


Grammy-award winning Canadian bass-baritone Gerald Finley is a leading singer and dramatic interpreter of his generation, with acclaimed performances at the world’s major opera and concert venues and award-winning recordings with major labels in a wide variety of repertoire. Mr Finley’s career is devoted to the wide range of vocal art, encompassing opera, orchestral and song, collaborating with the greatest orchestras and conductors of our time. Recent signature roles include Guillaume Tell, J. Robert Oppenheimer in John Adam’s Dr. Atomic, and Jaufré Rudel in Saariaho’s L’amour de loin. He created Harry Heegan in Mark Anthony Turnage’s The Silver Tassie. In concert with orchestra, his wide ranging repertoire includes appearances with all the major London orchestras, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra amongst many others. As a devoted recitalist, he works regularly with Julius Drake. Mr Finley’s many solo recital releases have been devoted to songs of Barber, Britten, Ives, Liszt, Ravel, Schubert and Schumann.


Cellist Anssi Karttunen is one of Finland’s most versatile performers of classical music. In addition to the core repertoire for his instrument, he frequently performs rarely heard masterpieces and his own arrangements. Anssi Karttunen is particularly dedicated to contemporary music, having given the world premieres of more than 140 works, of which 28 are cello concertos. His premieres include Magnus Lindberg’s two Cello Concertos and Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Mania. Kaija Saariaho has written several works for Karttunen, including her concertos Amers and Notes on Light. Anssi Karttunen has appeared as a soloist and a chamber musician in most European countries, in North and South America, in Asia and in the Middle East. He frequently visits international festivals and appears as a soloist with prominent orchestras worldwide. His extensive discography ranges from Bach and Beethoven on period instruments to repertoire composed in the 2010s.


Conductor Hannu Lintu was recently nominated for a GRAMMY for his recording of new works by Kaija Saariaho (ODE 1309-2) together with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He also won the Gramophone Award and ICMA Award for his recording of the Bartók Violin Concertos (ODE 1317-2) together with Christian Tetzlaff and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. The same recording was also nominated for the 2019 BBC Music Magazine Awards. Recordings by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hannu Lintu on Ondine have gathered numerous excellent reviews in the international press. Two of their recordings were nominated for Gramophone Awards in 2018. One of them, including orchestral works and songs by Jean Sibelius (ODE 1289-5) also won an ICMA Award in January 2018. The first volume of their Lutoslawski symphony cycle (ODE 1320-5) was chosen ‘Recording of the Month’ by the BBC Music Magazine in February 2019.

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