"I was particularly impressed with the way they manage to blend different styles into an amalgam that is distinctly their own. The music is obviously rooted in Nordic and Celtic traditions, but Frigg has also been strongly influenced by American Newgrass."
"On the whole Musica nova Helsinki was remarkably successful. The festival now boasts many features that have been germinating for quite some time: club nights, a true cosmopolitan attitude and the successful integration of young Finnish composers into an international programme," writes Merja Hottinen in her review of the festival.
Ulla Pirttijärvi’s second album with the Ulda trio is a well-balanced whole. She stays surprisingly close to the luohti or yoik tradition, combining lyrics and wordless sequences in a very traditional way.
A few years ago two new events, the RUSK festival in Pietarsaari, founded by composer Sebastian Fagerlund and clarinettist Christoffer Sundqvist, and Pasimusic, composer Pasi Lyytikäinen’s own festival in northern Savo, appeared on the autumn festival map of Finland, brightening up the darkening months with their innovative offerings.
It is always a remarkable experience to have the opportunity to actually listen to the achievements of a musician from the past instead of relying exclusively on verbal descriptions. Such a moment has now come in the case of Armas Järnefelt, a celebrated Finnish conductor of the early 20th century.
An opera inspired by the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 had to wait more than 50 years to be properly performed at an opera house. On stage in Budapest, this opera seems frighteningly topical, again.
Einar Englund’s Violin Concerto of 1981 is one of the major violin concertos of the past century – and not just from Finland.
For all the passion at the climax of the Balada and the lusty drama of the last of the Four Songs, the music here sings Rautavaara to rest in the rich autumnal tones that are unmistakably his.
The aesthetic pluralism represented here is remarkable; Bergman pushes the envelope of musical expression. Matti Hyökki, with a group of professional singers, masters even the trickiest passages with aplomb.
On Alba’s new recording, Henri Sigfridsson makes the most of Palmgren’s brilliant solo parts in The River (Piano Concerto no. 2) and Metamorphoses (no. 3) without reducing them to shallow virtuoso vehicles.
Oh yes! One of the best releases this year is the gilt-edged calling card of accordionist-composer Veli Kujala that simultaneously slakes a thirst for something new and strikes a nostalgic chord.