THE CLASSICAL AGE IN FINLAND

Review by: John Greene

Artistic Quality: 10

Sound Quality: 10

As shown on this new Ondine CD (and as you might expect) the music composed during the Classical age in Finland was stylistically identical to that composed on the continent. And while the featured composers Ferling, Byström, Lithander, and Tulindberg never studied abroad, their music is clearly informed by the traditions of the Mannheim school and its subsequent refinements of Mozart and Haydn. For listeners who delight in discovering obscurities and who have an affinity for music of this period, waste not a moment. Every one of the premiere recordings offered here is inspired, expertly crafted, and at times playfully inventive. Violinist Kreeta-Maria Kentala’s fiddling in the final movement of Ferling’s Violin Concerto features cadenzas derivative of folk tunes in the tradition of Biber. Bystrom’s bizarre minute-long Quadrille sounds like an abbreviated if not lopsided pastiche on Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. As an interlude, this varied program also features two short but lovely arias composed by Fredrik Lithander that (according to the notes) originally were meant to precede one of his “heavy, long, and solemn” speeches.

The young (23) Finnish baritone Herman Wallén shines here: his vocal timbre bears a remarkable resemblance to a youthful Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Ondine would do well next time to allow Wallén’s stunning voice to be heard more than the few minutes he’s afforded here. The concluding concerto by Finland’s first composer of repute, Erik Tulindberg, is a straightforward though stylish piece, reminiscent of the efforts of his more well known contemporaries such as Franz Richter and Carl Stamitz. The Sixth Floor Orchestra, conductor Jukka Rautasalo, and all soloists perform with great passion and conviction that could not be bettered. Ondine’s production is equally exemplary, as are the informative and entertaining notes by Fabian Dahlström. Recommended! [1/3/2002]



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Recording Details:

Album Title: THE CLASSICAL AGE IN FINLAND
Reference Recording: none

Various works by Erik Ferling, Thomas Byström, Fredrik Lithander, & Erik Tulindberg -


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