Like so many countries with a long history of foreign oppression and occupation, Finland has preserved a rich heritage of folk music. Much importance is given to music in that essential sourcebook of Finnish myth and Finnish national identity, the Kalevala – and the Kalevala was itself a great source of inspiration in the development (late) of Finnish art music, not least for Sibelius himself. There is a traditional type of small harp-like instrument known as the kantele which was by far the most important instrument in the Finnish tradition. The violin or fiddle came relatively late to Finnish folk music but is now an important instrument, as is the accordion. The folk music tradition has now moved into the music colleges and there is a lively and widespread interest in Finland’s traditional music.This disc of new, orchestral arrangements of Finnish folk music will, of course, have a wide appeal in Finland. But the melodies themselves have passed the “memorability test” in that they have been remembered by generation after generation. Such viable melodies are immediately accessible to listeners in other parts of the world too.
Add to the striking melodies the award-winning Lahti Symphony Orchestra under their very distinguished conductor Osmo Vänskä and the disc becomes intrinsically attractive.
Very Finnish – very listenable.
Seitsemän miehen voima
Taivas on sininen ja valkoinen
Niin kauan minä tramppaan
Tuonne taakse metsämaan
On neidolla punapaula
Yksinäinen laulu rannan (Orvon huokaus [Tääll’ yksinäni laulelen]
On suuri sun rantas autius)
Ol’ kaunis kesäilta; Kullan ylistys (Minun kultani)
Yksi ruusu on kasvanut laaksossa
Läksin minä kesäyönä käymään
Kotimaani ompi Suomi
Kaipaus (En voi sua unhoittaa poies)
Niin minä neitonen sinulle laulan
Kotomaamme (Täällä Pohjantähden alla)