Sibelius - Kullervo, Op. 7 : Soile Isokoski : Leif Segerstam - SACD


Sibelius - Kullervo, Op. 7 : Soile Isokoski : Leif Segerstam - SACD

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Sibelius - Kullervo, Op. 7 : Soile Isokoski : Leif Segerstam - SACD
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Sibelius: Kullervo, Op. 7

Soile Isokoski (soprano) &Tommi Hakala (baritone)

YL Male Voice Choir & Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Leif Segerstam

As a fine Wagner conductor Leif Segerstam knows something about pacing and maintaining a strong rhythmic profile over the longest spans of musical narrative, and for all the composer's vaunted debt to Bruckner in the instrumental movements, a grander, operatic sweep seems more germane to this always intriguing, sui generis hybrid of symphonic poem, symphony and cantata. Segerstam's second cycle of the numbered symphonies has at points such as the Seventh come a cropper with such largesse of gesture and tempo, but like Segerstam's first recording (Chandos – now available as a download only), is refreshingly straightforward with sound and well chosen tempi. Perhaps partly due to a superbly contoured recording, but also the more keenly expressive responses of the Helsinki orchestra, especially its woodwind, the many transitions in the work seem to count for more, and in 'Kullervo's Youth' achieve a Mussorgskian abruptness and intensity.
That first recording was also graced by Soile Isokoski in the part of Kullervo's raped sister, but here she surpasses herself in creating a selfcontained scena for her third-movement lament, vibrant and enticing before turning bitterly eloquent over her shame. Tommi Hakala and the YL Choir bring a complementary, sappy youthfulness. If the finale rather goes off the boil, the composer must take some of the blame; Isokoski too, for stealing the show with a contribution to this over-recorded work which deserves to win currency outside connoisseurs of early Sibelius.

Sibelius, Jean (1865-1957)

Sibelius: Kullervo, Op. 7

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