Jorma Hynninen
Ilkka Paananen
Elämälle - Songs By Oskar Merikanto



1 Omenankukat (Apple blossom)1:22
2 Linnulle kirkkomaalla (To a Bird in the Churchyard)1:52
3 Suvi-illan vieno tuuli (Summer Evening’s Breeze)1:41
4 Muistellessa (Remembering)3:55
5 Miksi laulan (Why I Sing)1:11
6 Kullan murunen (You Are a Nugget of Gold)1:37
7 Merellä (At Sea)4:13
8 Myrskylintu (Stormbird)3:03
9 Laatokka (Lake Ladoga)3:30
10 Iltakellot (Evening Bells)2:37

Haudoilta-sarja (From the Graves)
11 Valkeat ristit (White Crosses)2:39
12 Laulaja taivaan portilla (A Singer at the Gate of Heaven)1:36
13 Käy kirkkomaata illoin (In the Churchyard at Eventide)4:15
14 Päivännousu kultaa kirkkomaan (Sunrise Gilds the Churchyard)1:58

15 Hyvästi! (Farewell!)1:22
16 Hyvää yötä (Good Night)2:22
17 Hämärissä (In the Twilight)1:26
18 Elämälle (To Life)2:13
19 Annina3:32
20 Illansuussa (At Nightfall)1:57
21 Nocturne2:25
22 Balladi (Ballad)2:38
23 Nuoruuden ylistys (Praise of Youth)1:59
24 Soi vienosti murheeni soitto (Play Softly, Thou Tune of My Mourning)1:54
25 Ma elän! (I Am Alive!)1:29


Jorma Hynninen: Baritone
Ilkka Paananen: Piano
Frans Oskar Merikanto (1868 - 1924)- Composer
Oskar Merikanto was apparently a very popular composer in Finland during the years around 1900; the booklet notes tell of a Helsinki musician touring the countryside and being asked whether there were any other great composers in Helsinki besides Merikanto. Merikanto made a varied living of the sort undertaken by composers in nascent concert scenes, working as a pianist, church organist, "organ inspector" (whatever that was), conductor, critic, and teacher. He wrote about 150 songs, pleasant, foursquare creations with attractive melodies that have drawn comparisons to Paolo Tosti. They're not quite that far toward the popular end of the spectrum, but they don't sound like Sibelius at all, and they show minimal influence from any composer of German lieder after Schubert. Probably the closest comparison would be Tchaikovsky's songs: imagine the Nocturne, track 21, in Russian, and you can imagine that Merikanto started from some of the same Tchaikovskian sources Sibelius did, even if he went in a different direction. More is generally happening in the accompaniment than in the vocal line, and baritone Jorma Hynninen and pianist Ilkka Paananen execute the balance here -- simple, sensuous vocal line underlaid by fairly detailed piano part -- very well. The more serious pieces, such as the cycle of four songs From the Graves, Op. 74 (tracks 11-14), are the most successful, but there are also folk-like pieces (try the slight Suvi-illan vieno tuuli [Summer's Evening Breeze], Op. 87/2, track 3) that will stick with you. ... All texts are in Finnish and English. ~ James Manheim
Jorma Hynninen is one of the most celebrated Finnish vocal artists. This disc contains the legendary baritone's very personal account of songs by his compatriot Oskar Merikanto (1868-1924). Many of the 25 songs remain to this day among the all-time favourite Finnish songs of any genre (such as the title song of this disc, Elämälle - 'To life').

During his lifetime, Oskar Merikanto was just as popular as Jean Sibelius. He was the co-founder of what would become the Finnish National Opera and composed major contributions to the song and opera repertoire: a real master of melody who incorporated elements of folk music into his works, Merikanto rightly provokes comparisons with such composers as Schubert and Mahler.

Jorma Hynninen has contributed not only to a renewal in the art of interpreting solo songs but also to the creation of contemporary operas by Rautavaara and

Sallinen, to name but two composers. His greatest musical love though has always been Lieder, a genre on which he successfully concentrates on this new recording.

Pianist Ilkka Paananen has appeared numerous times together with Jorma Hynninen and is an equally appreciated Lied partner of Elina Garanca, Dilbèr, Matti Salminen and Gabriel Suovanen.

Oskar Merikanto composed himself – especially with his songs - into the hearts of Finnish people; Jorma Hynninen makes the same with his masculine, sensitive voice which has still grown richer.
Pentti Ritolahti, Sana, March 6, 2008


Barron said...

Ha! Another switched link!

Jorma Hynninen comes up as Jorma Kaukonen.

Please fix?

Miguel said...

Hu! That's bad... me bad...

well fixed it!

now it's good! I hope...

sorry again about the switch-devil :)

Barron said...

Muchas gracia, Miguel!