TOIVO KUULA (1883-1918): Son of a Slave for Soprano, Bass-Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 14, Hope of Immortality for Bass-Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 15, Unaccompanied Choir: The Boat Song, Op. 21/2, The Song of the Sea, Op. 11/2, The Apple Trees, Op. 11/1, Orchestra: Wedding March, Op. 3b/2, Morning Song, Op. 2/3 (both transcr. Herman Sjöblom [1894-1962] & Eero Kosonen [1906-2002]).
Catalogue Number: 11L067
Reference: ABCD 264
Description: Many Finns thought that the tragically short-lived Kuula was second only to Sibelius as a composer. Here are two large-scale cantatas from 1910: Son of a Slave has a sprawling, epic quality but there are plenty of rapt, inward moments in its 24-minutes as well and the expected Sibelian influences are blended with French ones (Kuula had been studying in Paris with Dukas the year before). Hope of Immortality's text is philosophical and psychological rather than epic-historical (although both are by the famous poet Eino Leino) with the music unfailingly capturing the necessary moods. Three a cappella pieces which tax the resources of any choir, add to our knowledge of this neglected composer. Finnish texts, English summaries. Juha Uusitalo (bass-baritone), Taina Piira (soprano), Tampere Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra; Leif Segerstam.