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Sibelius - The Origin of Fire

Composer Jean Sibelius
Performer Tommi Hakala
Tom Nyman
YL Male Voice Choir
Lahti Symphony Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Period Romantic
Catalogue Number BIS-1525 CD
EAN 7318590015254
Format CD
Release date Jan 2007
Total time 71'51

Classics Today: outstanding; Klassik Heute: outstanding.

This disc brings together seven works by Sibelius for male voice choir and orchestra. Three of them - The Origin of Fire, Sandels and Har du mod? - are presented in two alternative versions, giving the opportunity to sample the composer’s development and the way he responded to circumstances when adapting his works. Other works are better known in different scorings, such as The Captive Queen (normally performed by mixed choir and orchestra) and Rakastava (string orchestra). In various ways these pieces are the products of a preoccupation with national identity and independence which the composer shared with his fellow Finns, under Russian dominion until 1917. The Origin of Fire is a setting of an excerpt from Kalevala, the Finnish national epos, whose counterpart in lyrical poetry, Kanteletar, provided the text for Rakastava (The Lover). With Sandels the composer chose a poem telling the true story of General Johan Sandels who, in a skirmish during the Russo-Finnish war of 1808-09, defeated a much larger Russian army, while the text of Har du mod? (Have You Courage?) is a rousing call on young men to unite in preparation for a future struggle. The symbolic meaning of The Captive Queen, in which a young hero liberates a queen, imprisoned in a castle, was so obvious that the work first had to be performed under a more neutral title. The March of the Finnish Jäger Battalion was written as a regimental song at almost exactly the same time as Finland’s independence was declared in 1917. It came to be closely associated with the ‘white’ faction in the ensuing civil war, and the present version was first performed, in Helsinki in April 1918, after the Whites had finally gained the upper hand but some weeks before the war actually ended. Performing this volatile programme is the YL Male Voice Choir (formerly known as Helsinki University Choir), for whom Rakastava was composed in 1894; to this day, YL is widely acknowledged to be the foremost interpreter of Sibelius’s music for male choir. The choir is joined by the expert forces of Lahti Symphony Orchestra conducted by Osmo Vänskä.
Choose format
  Jean Sibelius
01 Tulen synty (The Origin of Fire), Op.32 (Revised version 1910) 9'03
02 Sandels, Op.28 (Revised version 1915) 8'57
03 Har du mod? (Have You Courage?), Op.31 No.2 (Second version, rev. 1911) 2'48
04 Vapautettu kuningatar (The Captive Queen), Op.48 (Version for male choir and orchestra, arr. 1910) 9'21
05 Jääkärien marssi (March of the Finnish Jäger Battalion), Op.91a (Version for male choir and orchestra, orch. 1918) 2'23
06 Koskenlaskijan morsiamet (The Rapids-Rider’s Brides), Op.33 (Version for male choir and orchestra, arr. 1943) 8'36
07 Rakastava (The Lover), JS160b (Version for male choir and string orchestra, 1894) 6'28
08 Har du mod? (Have You Courage?), Op.31 No.2 (Fourth version, rev. 1914) 1'58
09 Sandels, Op.28 (Original version 1898) 8'57
10 Tulen synty (The Origin of Fire), Op.32 (Original version 1902) 11'20
  Album total 71'51
ComposerSibelius, Jean
BaritoneHakala, Tommi
ChoirYL Male Voice Choir
OrchestraLahti Symphony Orchestra
ConductorVänskä, Osmo
TenorNyman, Tom

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