PEHR HENRIK NORDGREN (1944-2008): The Lights of Heaven.

Catalogue Number: 01L083

Label: Alba

Reference: ABCD 269

Format: CD

Price: $17.98

No Longer Available

Description: This extraordinary work draws on the vast corpus of archaic Finnish folk-poetry (some of which was organized into Lönnrot's Kalevala) in illustrating traditional myths centred on ancestral beliefs about the sun and moon, the symbolism of night and day, waxing and waning and eclipses as a battle between good and evil, life and chaos. This ambitious program elicited from Nordgren what Kalevi Aho has described as "one of the most distinctive works in Finnish music". Sonically it is unique. An orchestra of folk instruments is added to the conventional forces; the sections in which these strange timbres enter have an almost disorienting effect, so alien is the sound-world conjured. Aside from the unusual intonational and timbral effects of the folk instruments, Nordgren's music has a solid foundation in tonal, granitic, Nordic, Sibelius-derived orchestral traditions, and more than an occasional touch of Shostakovich. Some movements are purely instrumental; t hese most closely fit the Scandinavian tonal symphonist model; a children's choir is added to the vocal forces for the sections involving sung text. An additional Intermezzo (added for a performance 14 years after the première), involving recorded material, is presented out of sequence at end of the CD to preserve the consistent style of the work. A fascinating, compelling and remarkably coherent musical narrative in an unique idiom that nonetheless manages to remain totally accessible. Finnish-English texts. Merja Wirkkala (soprano), Anssi Hirvonen (tenor), Ritva Talvite (bowed lyre), Folk Orchestra, Kaustinen Children's Choir, Central Ostrobothnian Chamber Choir, Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra; Juha Kangas.

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