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CHAN 6626M
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CHAN 6626
(multiple CD Set)

Madetoja: Symphonies

The Classical Shop
release date: July 2000

Originally recorded in 1999


Iceland Symphony Orchestra

Petri Sakari


Haskolabio University Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland


Brian Couzens

(Executive) (Symphonies Nos 1 & 2)

Brian Couzens

(other works)

Chris Webster

(Symphonies Nos 1 & 2)


Hreinn Valdimarsson

& þórir Steinfrímsson (Symphonies Nos 1 & 2)

Vigfus Ingvarsson

(other works)

Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 137:16
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Symphony No. 1, Op. 29

  in F major  
1 I Allegro 7:05
2 II Lento misterioso 9:17
3 III Allegro vivace - Andante - Moderato 6:52

Symphony No. 2, Op. 35

  in E flat major  
4 I Allegro moderato - 13:51
5 II Andante 14:41
  off-stage soloists Dadi Kolbeinsson - Joseph Ognibene horn  
6 III Allegro non tropo - 9:50
7 IV Epilogue: Andantino 4:58

Comedy Overture, Op. 53

  Andante - Lentando - Allegro  

Symphony No. 3, Op. 55

  in A major  
9 I Andantino 7:38
10 II Adagio 7:45
11 III Allegro non tropo - 9:42
12 IV Pesante, tempo moderato - Allegretto 6:55

Suite No. 1 from 'Okon Fuoko', Op. 58

13 I Okon Fuoko, unitaikuri (Okon Fuoko, the Dream Magician): Andante - 3:44
14 II Vieraat saapuvat (Entrance of the Guests): Lento (non troppo) - 1:06
15 III Nukkien tanssi (The Dance of the Dolls): Allegro - 1:52
16 IV Miehen tanssi (Man's Dance): Allegro sostenuto - Allegro - 3:14
17 V Naisen tanssi (Woman's Dance): Poco lento - Più lento - 1:41
18 VI Danse grotesque: Allegretto 2:06

Suite from 'The Ostrobothnians', Op. 52

19 I Lakeus (The Plain): Andantino - Più lento 4:53
20 II Vangin laulu (Song of the Prisoner): Lento maestoso 3:36
21 III Häjyt (The Ruffians): Allegro moderato, rubato - Allegro vivace 3:18
22 IV Tulopeli (Entrance Music): Tempo di Marcia - 1:48
23 V Hypyt (Leaps and Jumps): Moderato mosso 3:04
 Petri Sakari
  18-21 May 1992 (Symphonies Nos 1 & 2), 1-3 October 1991 (Symphony No. 3), 3-5 June 1991 (Comedy Oveture, Suites)  
This engaging recording features Madetoja’s complete symphonies, coupled with the suite from his most successful work ‘The Ostrobothnians’.

This is a two-disc set

Leevi Madetoja was one of Finland’s most outstanding post-Sibelian composers. Born in 1887, he went on to study at the Helsinki Music Conservatory and University, before moving to Paris, Vienna and then Berlin. He settled back in Helsinki in 1912, making his living as a conductor and teacher. He died in 1947 having written two operas, three symphonies, various orchestral works, many fine choral works and solo songs.

‘You are in possession of the properties that make a symphony composer’ wrote Sibelius of his pupil. The First Symphony, written from 1914 to 1916, is amongst the most mature of first symphonies. The main theme of the ‘Allegro’ first movement is a short, incisive motif, typical of the composer in that its harmonic background is an essential part of its character. The ‘Lento misterioso’ is lyrical and descriptive in a way typical of Madetoja’s slow movements. The first movement themes return for the Finale which upset the contemporary listeners, for in the culmination of this F major work it staggers to C major and finishes on an A major chord.

The monumental and tragic Second Symphony (1916–18) had for Madetoja dark personal overtones, the composer losing both his brother and a close friend at this time. It is a symphony of beauty, nature, war and resignation – sentiments which dominate its four parts, the last being a short epilogue. The ‘Allegro moderato’ first movement is one of the purest expressions of Madetoja’s ‘philosophy of beauty’. It ends on a dissonant chord, and leads directly into the pastoral slow movement. The third movement combines elements of scherzo and finale, but is by no means playful or jovial. The short ‘attacca’ Epilogue ends the E flat major work in a modal E minor.

The Third Symphony (1925–6), is the most mature of his symphonic output, and was well received on its first performance. Madetoja had been regarded as a composer of elegiac and tragic sentiment in his music, and therefore the luminous and well-proportioned ‘classical’ character of this symphony came as something of a surprise. The first movement leaves behind sonata form and the music flows without great gestures. Numerous motivic and contrapuntal intricacies abound such as canons and augmentations. Again the peaceful second movement uses canons and augmentation. The Scherzo is one of Madetoja’s most genial melodic inventions. The Finale begins solemnly but soon loses the ceremonial air when the ‘Waltz in even metre’ is reached, but solemnity returns before the Symphony withdraws into its own secretive world.

The ‘Comedy Overture’ represents the core of Madetoja’s art; restrained spirit and well-proportioned classicism, saying much, using little. The ‘Okon Fuoko’ Suite was intended to be one of three gathered from the one-act ballet, but only one was accomplished. The work was only performed three times, due largely to the dramatic weakness of the libretto. ‘The Ostrobothnians Suite was gathered from the first two acts of the opera before it was completed and gives a good picture of Madetoja’s ability to paint musical landscapes.

‘…finely played by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra under conductor Petri Sakari…’
Classic CD

‘The Iceland Orchestra give dedicated and persuasive accounts…’
The Penguin Complete Guide

‘The Chandos recording is very naturally balanced and difficult to flaw.’
The Penguin Complete Guide

‘The pleasures of the three Madetoja symphonies are considerable… admirably recorded and out of Chandos’ top drawer’.

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