Grieg & Sibelius: Songs

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Andrew Farach-Colton
Not since Barbara Bonney's Diamonds in the Snow has there been such a fine collection of Scandinavian songs. But while Bonney focused on the crystalline beauty of the Nordic musical tradition, Finnish soprano Karita Mattila taps into a deeper, darker vein. Sibelius' songs are often viewed as light fare, but Mattila's fervent reading of "Höstkväll," the opening selection, creates a dramatically fiery intensity that turns this song into a miniature operatic scene. Kirsten Flagstad also brought a tone of profundity -- not to mention sheer vocal splendor -- to this music, but Mattila's voice is more agile, and her response to the texts reveals even more detail. In ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Andrew Farach-Colton
Not since Barbara Bonney's Diamonds in the Snow has there been such a fine collection of Scandinavian songs. But while Bonney focused on the crystalline beauty of the Nordic musical tradition, Finnish soprano Karita Mattila taps into a deeper, darker vein. Sibelius' songs are often viewed as light fare, but Mattila's fervent reading of "Höstkväll," the opening selection, creates a dramatically fiery intensity that turns this song into a miniature operatic scene. Kirsten Flagstad also brought a tone of profundity -- not to mention sheer vocal splendor -- to this music, but Mattila's voice is more agile, and her response to the texts reveals even more detail. In the Grieg songs, on the other hand, Mattila's approach is more straightforward, bringing out the folk-like qualities of "Solveigs vuggesang," for instance, or the luminous grace of "En Svane." The program's main attraction, though, is certainly Sibelius' shimmering, mysterious vocal tone poem "Luonnotar." With marvelously subtle playing from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Sakari Oramo, this may well be the most atmospheric version yet. Mattila is perfectly in tune with the music's bizarre, vivid imagery -- visual and musical -- and the result is especially noteworthy for its haunting delicacy. Recorded in the superb acoustics of Birmingham's new concert hall, this is quite simply a ravishing disc. Urgently recommended.
New York Times - Anthony Tommasini
Ms. Mattila's exciting soprano voice has a cool Nordic radiance that ideally suits the songs of both her compatriot Sibelius and her Norwegian neighbor Grieg. The young Finnish conductor Sakari Oramo, leading the responsive and excellent City of Birmingham Symphony, proves equally sensitive to the melancholic cast and wistful lyricism of these haunting songs.
Birmingham Post - Christopher D. Morley
Mattila's intonation over a wide range and her emotional involvement [are] highly gripping.... Sakari Oramo...conducts with a natural ear for colour and sympathy with the soloist, and the CBSO responds to this attractive music with flair and sensitivity.
Classic FM Magazine - Jessica Duchen
Mattila’s strength of personality matches her beauty of tone – a big, open, cream-rich sound with a seemingly infinite array of emotional variety. Alongside her, Oramo draws playing of exquisite detail from the CBSO.

Mattila's intonation over a wide range and her emotional involvement [are] highly gripping.... Sakari Oramo...conducts with a natural ear for colour and sympathy with the soloist, and the CBSO responds to this attractive music with flair and sensitivity.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/25/2004
  • Label: Erato
  • UPC: 685738024322
  • Catalog Number: 80243
  • Sales rank: 175,560

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Autumn Evening (Höstkväll), for voice & piano (or orchestra), Op. 38/1 - Jean Sibelius & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (5:16)
  2. 2 Sunrise (Soluppgång), song for voice & piano, Op. 37/3 - Jean Sibelius & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (2:00)
  3. 3 And I Questioned No Further (Se'n har jag ej frågat mera), song for voice & piano (or orchestra), Op. 17/1 - Jean Sibelius & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (2:15)
  4. 4 Arioso, for voice & orchestra, Op. 3 - Jean Sibelius & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (4:24)
  5. 5 Spring is flying (Våren flyktar hastigt) song for voice & piano, Op. 13/4 - Jean Sibelius & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (1:37)
  6. 6 Peer Gynt, incidental music, Op. 23: Solveigs sang, op. 23 no. 19 - Edvard Grieg & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (4:58)
  7. 7 Peer Gynt, incidental music, Op. 23: Solveigs vuggesang, op. 23 no. 26 - Edvard Grieg & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (4:26)
  8. 8 Fra Monte Pincio (From Monte Pincio), song for voice & piano, Op. 39/1 - Edvard Grieg & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (4:50)
  9. 9 En Svane (A Swan), song for voice & piano, Op. 25/2 - Edvard Grieg & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (2:16)
  10. 10 Våren (Last Spring), song for voice & piano, Op. 33/2 - Edvard Grieg & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (4:45)
  11. 11 Luonnotar (The Spirit of Nature), tone poem for voice & orchestra, Op. 70 - Jean Sibelius & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (9:44)
  12. 12 Det første møte (The First Meeting), song for voice & piano, Op. 21/1 - Edvard Grieg & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (3:57)
  13. 13 The Maiden in the Tower (Jungfrun i tornet), opera in 1 act: Scene 2. Sancta Maria, mild och nåderik - Jean Sibelius & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (4:27)
  14. 14 Belshazzar's Feast (Belsazars gästabud), suite for orchestra (or piano), Op. 51: Den judiska flickans sång - Jean Sibelius & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (3:20)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Karita Mattila Primary Artist
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