Related Links

Recommended Links

Give the Composers Timeline Poster

Site News

What's New for
Winter 2018/2019?

Site Search

Follow us on
Facebook    Twitter


In association with
Amazon UKAmazon GermanyAmazon CanadaAmazon FranceAmazon Japan

CD Universe



Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale

CD Review

Northern Highlights

The Ultimate Finnish Orchestral Favourites

  • Heino Kaski: Prélude, Op. 7 1
  • Erkki Melartin: Festive March 1
  • Jean Sibelius:
  • Suite mignonne, Op. 98 a 2
  • Presto 2
  • Valse triste 3
  • Finlandia, Op. 26/7 4
  • Einojuhani Rautavaara: Suite for Strings 5
  • Einar Englund: 3
  • Ouvertura
  • Masquerade in a Chinese Garden
  • Rumba
  • March à la Shostakovich
  • Uuno Klami: Karelian Rhapsody, Op. 15 6
1 Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/Leif Segerstam
2 Tapiola Sinfonietta/Tuomas Ollila
3 Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra/Tuomas Ollila, Eri Klas
4 Finnish National Opera Orchestra/Sakari Oramo
5 Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra/Juha Kangas
6 Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Sakari Oramo
Ondine ODE991-2 DDD 69:04
Find it at AmazonFind it at Amazon UKFind it at Amazon GermanyFind it at Amazon CanadaFind it at Amazon FranceFind it at Amazon JapanOrder Now from ArkivMusic.comFind it at CD Universe

Although it is not offered at a budget price, this is, in effect, a sampler of Ondine's recordings from the past decade. Its subtitle is "The Ultimate Finnish Orchestral Favorites." Nevertheless, with the exception of Finlandia and Valse triste (both by Sibelius), the material is unfamiliar, which makes me wonder whose "favorites" these are!

It is better, perhaps, to regard this CD as a sampling of music that might be included among your favorites at some point in the near future. It's an attractive collection, whose wide range includes the elegiac (Heino Kaski's Prélude) and the sardonic (four movements, including a Shostakovich parody, from Einar Englund's Great Wall of China), and really not so much of the frankly patriotic. An exception is the last work on this CD: over fourteen minutes long, Uuno Klami's Karelian Rhapsody is the longest work here. Written in the tradition of nationalistic rhapsodies by Enescu and Alfvén, it tries hard to duplicate their successes, and not without some success of its own.

Finlandia is represented by an unusual version for orchestra and mixed chorus. The impact of the chorus singing the hymn tune is predictably grand. Unfortunately, the performance (Eri Klas conducting the Finnish National Opera Chorus and Orchestra) is the weakest on the CD – Klas has trouble keeping his large forces together, and the intonation of the orchestra's brass is not pleasant. Elsewhere, the varied musicianship on this CD is fine enough to give the music an honest chance.

Ondine has hindered the market outside of Finland by providing a booklet that contains nothing but a track listing. A few words about each of the pieces would have been welcome. The source of this CD is seven different Ondine releases, yet there are no jarring sonic transitions from track to track. This attests to the consistency of Ondine's engineering teams, if nothing else.

The verdict is as follows: great music, but get this CD for the music you don't know, not for the music you do.

Copyright © 2001, Raymond Tuttle