Magazine article Gramophone

Madetoja: Symphonies-No 1, Op 29: No 3. Op 55

Magazine article Gramophone

Madetoja: Symphonies-No 1, Op 29: No 3. Op 55

Article excerpt

Madetoja

Symphonies--No 1, Op 29: No 3. Op 55.

Symphonies--No 1, Op 29: No 3. Op 55.

Okon Fuoko Suite, Op 58

Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra / John Storgards

Ondine [F] ODE1211-2 (67' * DDD)

Leevi Madetoja was a hard-working composer-conductor-teacher-critic whose strongest claims to fame are his two operas, The Ostrobothnians and Juha. His three symphonies are talented, unpretentious examples of the post-Romantic line, lacking a clearly distinctive voice (by contrast with, from this generation, say, Erkki Melartin) yet unfailingly well-crafted and grateful on the ear.

The First Symphony (of 1914-16, making it an exact contemporary of Nielsen's Inextinguishable) was nevertheless recognised by Sibelius, who guided Madetoja on and off from 1908 to 1910, as an auspicious debut. Touches of Sibelian chattering woodwind enliven the otherwise merely well-behaved first movement, and the affinity runs deeper in the other two movements without ever matching the master's Beethovenian gift for opening up broad vistas from the tiniest of apertures. …

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