Robert Kajanus (1856–1933) is likely to be known primarily as a conductor rather than as a composer. He thus joins a list of other illustrious maestros whose conducting careers eclipsed their creative activities. Wilhelm Furtwängler, Jean Martinon, Paul Kletzki, Antal Dorati, and currently Esa-Pekka Salonen are just a few of the names that come to mind. Kajanus is recognized today chiefly as one of the early champions of Sibelius, and his recordings of most of Sibelius’s symphonies, though a bit hard to come by, can still be had.
This re-issue of early Medieval vocal music from Finland includes a unique reconstruction of 14th and 15th century Gregorian music that was performed in Finland in the memory of St. Henry, Finland’s Patron Saint. Liturgical literature dealing with St. Henry is abundant and the music in this collection consists of extracts from masses and offices to St. Henry. Liturgical legend and oral tradition provide a colorful account of the English clergyman’s mission to Finland where he was killed on January 20th, 1156.
Star violinist Christian Tetzlaff performs Béla Bartók’s (1881–1945) two masterpieces in a new recording with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu. This recording continues both artists’ highly successful series of recordings on Ondine.
This six-disc boxed set offers a broad survey of a hundred years of Finnish chamber music, featuring more than sixty performers and twenty composers – between the late Romanticism of Toivo Kuula’s Piano Trio (1908) and the postmodernism of Veli-Matti Puumala’s String Quartet (1994). Highlights include songs by Aare Merikanto sung by Soile Isokoski, Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Rilke song cycle, sung by Marcus Ullman, and Joonas Kokkonen’s third string quartet, performed by the Sibelius Quartet.