Magazine article Gramophone

'Finland'

Magazine article Gramophone

'Finland'

Article excerpt

'Finland'

Linkola Mieliteko Rautavaara Cancion de nuestro tiempo. Canticum Mariae virginis. Orpheus singt Saariaho Nuits, adieux Sibelius Finlandia Hymn, Op 26 No 7. Rakastava Talvitie Kuun Kirje SWR Vocai Ensemble / Marcus Creed SWR Classic (F) SWR19031CD (72' * DDD * T)

The SWR Vocal Ensemble's series of countiy-themed discs continues but now without Hanssler Classic; this latest disc is on SWR's own label, which won't win any awards for design.

Particularly not in Finland, where we find ourselves here. Finns might also struggle to decipher some of the texts in the hands of this renowned radio choir. We don't hear full enunciation of the vowels in Sibelius's Rakastava or in the (mistitled) Finlandia Hymn (the first syllables of 'koittaa', 'soittaa' and 'voittaa' don't curl round the diphthong as they should).

That's it for the Sibelius--though there are plenty more rarely heard a cappella works that could have been slipped in--while more than 30 minutes of the rest of the disc is hogged by the late Einojuhani Rautavaara, which seems another wasted opportunity given how many high-quality works of a cappella music have come out of Finland over the past century. Perhaps the ensemble felt duty-bound to include Rautavaara's Orpheus singt, as they commissioned it.

That piece is sung with the exceptional combination of clarity and weight that marks out this ensemble, while Rautavaara's Cantiaim Mariae virginis underlines their tuning prowess and agility. …

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