Toivo Kuula: Tule, armaani

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Toivo Kuula may have only lived 34 years, but he is a giant among composers in Finland, and his exalted reputation is largely based on the quality of his Finnish-language art songs. Outside Finland, where Kuula's name is known at all, the portion of his worklist that speaks for him is his piano, orchestral, and chamber music. All of these genres combined accounts for less than half of Kuula's output, as his worklist is dominated by solo song. For most non-Finnish singers, the Finnish language is simply a bridge too far to cross. However, the Finnish Ondine label has stepped into the breach in offering an accessible Kuula song recital with singer Tommi Hakala, Tule, ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Toivo Kuula may have only lived 34 years, but he is a giant among composers in Finland, and his exalted reputation is largely based on the quality of his Finnish-language art songs. Outside Finland, where Kuula's name is known at all, the portion of his worklist that speaks for him is his piano, orchestral, and chamber music. All of these genres combined accounts for less than half of Kuula's output, as his worklist is dominated by solo song. For most non-Finnish singers, the Finnish language is simply a bridge too far to cross. However, the Finnish Ondine label has stepped into the breach in offering an accessible Kuula song recital with singer Tommi Hakala, Tule, Armaani Come, My Love a carefully chosen selection of 19 numbers -- nearly half Kuula's vocal output -- and a booklet containing English translations of the songs and good explanatory notes. Kuula's output for voice is strongly varied; earlier pieces are extroverted, heroic, and almost Wagnerian in style, whereas his mature songs show the influence of French impressionism and have a dark, macabre quality. At times, Kuula's songwriting is reminiscent of Mussorgsky, and perhaps this aspect of Kuula is uppermost in Tommi Hakala's mind when it comes to his interpretation of these songs, as he employs a rough-hewn, dramatic approach that resembles the manner in which great Bulgarian bass Boris Christoff delivered Mussorgsky's songs. Nevertheless, this is a mixed blessing; Hakala's voice is beautiful when he sings quietly, but most un-beautiful when he sings loudly, unfortunately this is the approach employed much of the time here. In some cases, it works; the song "Karjapihassa" In the Cattleyard begins quite literally with a cattle call, and a dramatic characterization of the kind Hakala calls into play compels this particular song with the macho force it needs. However, he should reserve his barking and bellowing for such obviously programmatic fare and not for Kuula's love songs -- they are fragile creations, and Hakala comes perilously close to breaking several of them just by virtue of sheer over-the-topness. There are several songs here fully worthy of an international audience -- we'll mention the English language titles only -- "Long Gazed I Into the Fire," "Night on the Moor," "Fate," "Saturday Evening," "The Forest Maid," the strangely jazzy "Epilogue," and several others all stand out. As several of Kuula's songs were written with his second wife, legendary Finnish soprano Alma Silventonen, in mind -- particularly "Come, My Love," Kuula's most popular song in Finland -- perhaps it would have been a better idea to split this program between Hakala and a soprano; Ondine already has an excellent soprano in Monica Groop. However, Hakala has been on an upward trend ever since he won the Singer of the World competition in Cardiff in 2003, and this disc may have been intended to both show off Hakala's talents and to fill the gaping repertory hole for Kuula. Sometimes two heads aren't better than one; and in this case, Hakala scores a total knockout over Toivo Kuula's sensitive creations well before the disc's 19 rounds are up -- a pity. Make that a calamity.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/13/2007
  • Label: Ondine
  • UPC: 761195108727
  • Catalog Number: 1087
  • Sales rank: 387,647

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Suutelo (The Kiss), for voice & piano, Op. 8/1 - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (5:09)
  2. 2 Lyö sydän (Beat, My Heart), for voice & piano - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (1:42)
  3. 3 Yli kukkien (She Walks on Flowers), for voice & piano - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (1:35)
  4. 4 Syystunnelma (Autumn mood), for voice & piano, Op. 2/1 - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (3:16)
  5. 5 Aamulaulu (Morning Song), for voice & piano, Op. 2/3 - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (1:37)
  6. 6 Tuijotin tulehen kauan (Long I stared into the Fire), for voice & piano, Op. 2/2 - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (4:52)
  7. 7 Yö (Night), for voice & piano, Op. 22/3 - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (2:23)
  8. 8 Yö nummella (Night on the Moor), for voice & piano, Op. 24/4 - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (2:52)
  9. 9 Ave Maria, for voice & piano, Op. 23/2 - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (3:24)
  10. 10 Paimenet (The Herdsmen), for voice & piano - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (4:16)
  11. 11 Kohtalo (Fate), for voice & piano, Op. 23/4 - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (3:10)
  12. 12 Lauantai-ilta (Saturday Evening), for voice & piano, Op. 24/1 - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (4:11)
  13. 13 Karjapihassa (In the Cattleyard), for voice & piano - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (2:47)
  14. 14 Kesäyö kirkkomaalla (Summer Night in the Churchyard), for voice & piano, Op. 6/1 - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (3:01)
  15. 15 Sinipiika (The Forest Maid), for voice & piano, Op. 23/1 - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (2:53)
  16. 16 Epilogi (Epilogue), for voice & piano, Op. 6/2 - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (2:36)
  17. 17 Jääkukkia (Ice Flowers), for voice & piano, Op. 24/2 - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (3:09)
  18. 18 Vanha syyslaulu (Old Autumn Song), for voice & piano, Op. 24/3 - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (4:00)
  19. 19 Tule armaani (Come, My Love), for voice & piano, Op. 29a/1 - Toivo Kuula & Reijo Kiilunen (3:00)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Tommi Hakala Primary Artist
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