Kullervo (2008)

Sibelius

Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra

Leif Segerstam

The genesis and subsequent history of Jean Sibelius’s Kullervo op. 7 (1891–92) are in many ways indicative, when we consider the composer’s life and output in general. It seemed somehow predetermined that Sibelius, left with- out a father at an early age, should take up the story of the archetypal orphan in the Kalevala, of a character who con- tinues to inspire Finnish music and art. Although Sibelius himself was nurtured tenderly by his mother and female relatives, he became fascinated with the tale of the rootless Kullervo when he was still at school in Ha?meenlinna. The first germs of setting this tale to music had thus been with the young composer for years, by the time when, while studying in Vienna in 1890–91, he began to re-read the Kalevala and to sketch a multi-movement symphony.

The premiere of Kullervo on April 28, 1892 immedi- ately established the work as the cornerstone of the Finn- ish sound in music, thanks to the originality and powerful impact of its music. Sibelius’s reading of Kullervo combined defiance, independence and tragedy with a pastoral tone. While Sibelius emphasized and added to the archetypal and timeless mythical dimensions of the tale of Kullervo’s in- exorable doom – which makes it a core narrative in Finnish culture –, he also added the comforting and 

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Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra

The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the oldest professional symphony orchestra in the Nordic countries, was founded as the Helsinki Orchestral Society by the young Robert Kajanus, its first Chief Conductor, in 1882. Well known today for its tradition of performing Sibelius, it also premiered many of his major works, often with the composer himself conducting. The orchestra undertook its first foreign tour to the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1900, and since then it has visited most European countries, in addition to visiting the USA and Japan, both on four occasions. 
The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Ondine have maintained a long-standing exclusive partnership with, among others, an edition of the complete Sibelius symphonies under the direction of Leif Segerstam (ODE 1075-2Q). The new Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra from autumn 2008 will be violinist and conductor John Storgårds, who has been the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor since 2003.

Leif Segerstam

Leif Segerstam was the 11th Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra from 1995 to 2007 and is today its Emeritus Chief Conductor. He has been praised by critics for creating powerful, convincing performances that are compelling both musically and emotionally. A true musical polymath, Leif Segerstam studied violin, piano, composition, and conducting at the Sibelius Academy and continued at the Juilliard School. He won the Maj Lind competition for pianists at the age of 18 in 1962 an at the age of 21, he was appointed Conductor of the Finnish National Opera. His conducting career continued with posts at the Royal Opera of Stockholm and the Deutsche Oper Berlin, as well as Chief Conductor positions at the Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland- Pfalz, the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Opera in Stockholm. Leif Segerstam has appeared as guest conductor with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has also conducted in most of the world’s leading opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Covent Garden, the opera houses of Cologne, Hamburg, Munich, and Geneva, as well as at the Salzburg and Savonlinna Festivals.

Soile Isokoski

Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski is recognized as one of the finest singers performing her repertoire and regularly appears on the most renowned stages and concert halls in the world. After graduating from the Sibelius Academy, she gave her début recital in Helsinki in 1986 and subsequently won a number of important international singing competitions. She made her début at the Finnish National Opera as Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème and has since delighted audiences and critics alike at opera houses in Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, London, Milan and Paris, at The Metropolitan Opera and at music festivals in Salzburg, Savonlinna, Edinburgh and Orange.

Tommi Hakala

Tommi Hakala, BBC Singer of the World in 2003, graduated from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and studied in Karlsruhe before starting his career as a baritone in Germany and his native Finland. A regular guest of the Finnish National Opera and the Savonlinna Opera Festival, he has held positions at the Nuremberg Opera (1998–2001) as well as the Leipzig Opera (2001-2004) and is now working internationally as a freelance artist. He has made guest appearances as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte at the Finnish National Opera, and at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Sallinen’s Ratsumies (The Horseman), in Tannhäuser, as Valentin in Faust and in the new opera Isän tyttö (Daddy’s Girl) by Olli Kortekangas in 2007. In 2006, Hakala made his début at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as Valentin in Faust and in San Francisco in Le nozze di Figaro. He will be appearing in Le nozze di Figaro again in Atlanta in 2008, and also inMassenet’s Manon at the Metropolitan. His recent guest appearances include Sibelius’s Kullervo in Amsterdam and Dortmund, Evgeny Onegin in Tel Aviv and Don Carlos in Copenhagen.

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Kullervo (2008)

Sibelius

Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra

Mastering Engineer: Enno Maäemets - DXD to DSD 64fs transfer
Mastering Equipment: Editroom Oy, Helsinki, Finland
Producer: Seppo Siirala
Recording Engineer: Enno Maäemets
Recording location:

Finlandia Hall, 12/2007

Recording Type & Bit Rate: DXD

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ODE1122-5: Kullervo
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Tracks.
1.
Kullervo, Op. 7- Introduction- Allegro moderato
Sibelius
00:14:16   N/A
2.
Kullervo, Op. 7- Kullervo's Youth- Grave
Sibelius
00:16:33   N/A
3.
Kullervo, Op. 7- Kullervo and His Sister- Allegro vivace
Sibelius
00:24:39   N/A
4.
Kullervo, Op. 7- Kullervo Goes to War- Alla marcia
Sibelius
00:09:47   N/A
5.
Kullervo, Op. 7- Kullervo's Death- Andante
Sibelius
00:12:41   N/A

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