Sallinen: Songs Of Life And Death, The Iron Age Suite

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...the conservative musical language rather brings Verdi to mind, and in a very real sense this cycle is a twentieth century equivalent to the latter’s...
...the conservative musical language rather brings Verdi to mind, and in a very real sense this cycle is a twentieth century equivalent to the latter’s Requiem: both are symphonic in construction and operatic in idiom, composed from spiritual rather than religious standpoints...

Listening to these two works by Aulis Sallinen is a bit like looking at two different photographs of the composer: the face is undeniably the same but not the perspective. Songs of Life and Death (1993-4) arose, rather by mischance, from a failed effort to compose a Requiem on verses by Lassi Nummi. Although title and outward form suggest Mahlerian associations, the conservative musical language rather brings Verdi to mind, and in a very real sense this cycle is a twentieth century equivalent to the latter’s Requiem: both are symphonic in construction and operatic in idiom, composed from spiritual rather than religious standpoints, and make use of secular elements. There are differences of course, not the least in scale and conception, which serve to underline a similarity of purpose and stature relative to their epochs. And while Sallinen's songs are very much songs of life, death is not here perceived as a grim or tragic end, and this imparts to the whole a peculiarly late twentieth-century aspect. Here at last is the choral-and-orchestral masterpiece Sibelius should have written, Finnish to the core yet international in appeal. It is, I believe, one of the very finest compositions Sallinen has yet produced...Very strongly recommended.

- Gramophone, 12/1995


Product Description:


  • Release Date: December 24, 2008


  • UPC: 761195084427


  • Catalog Number: ODE844


  • Label: Ondine


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Period: ""


  • Composer: Aulis Sallinen


  • Conductor: Okko Kamu


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: East Helsinki Music Institute Chorus, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera Festival Chorus


  • Performer: Jorma Hynninen, Margit Papunen