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LS 0074

Sibelius: Kullervo

The Classical Shop
release date: December 2006

Originally recorded in 2006


London Symphony Orchestra

Sir Colin Davis

Peter Mattei


Monica Groop


Men of the London Symphony Chorus


Barbican Centre, London


James Mallinson


Jonathan Stokes

Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos


Total Time - 71:52
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Kullervo, Op. 7 (1892)

  Symphonic poem for soloists, chorus and orchestra  
1 Introduction 14:22
  Allegro moderato  
2 Kullervo's Youth 14:04
3 Kullervo and his sister 23:22
  Allegro vivace  
4 Kullervo goes to battle 10:18
  Alla marcia  
5 Kullervo's death 9:46
 Peter Mattei baritone
 Monica Groop mezzo-soprano
 Sir Colin Davis
  18 September and 9 October 2005 (live recording)  

Although he withdraw it a year after its successful premiere, Sibelius’s early Kullervo symphony is laced with the atmosphere and creativeness that would characterise his later works, coupled with a tragic tale from Finnish folklore.

Kullervo recounts the story of its eponymous hero. After alonely childhood, Kullervo grows up to become a determined warrior. He seduces a girl only to discover she is his long-lost sister and in remorse throws himself on his sword. Despite the tragedy, the work evokes the beauty of the Finnish countryside is an orchestral tour-de-force, offering stunning cameos for its soloists and chorus.

"LSO Live, the orchestra’s pioneering in-house label, combines the immediacy of a live performance with the technical precision of a studio recording ... It’s a winning combination. This recording of Kullervo is worth purchasing for any number of reasons. The clarity of the recording allows one to hear so many details ... you can almost sense [the violinists] sitting on the edge of their seats, ripping the notes off their instruments ... it’s an extraordinary recording" - 5 February 2006

"this recording verifies ... Davis’s hallmark technical polishand careful balancing. The London Symphony Chorus and the soloists, Peter Mattei and Monica Groop, are as magnificent as the orchestra"

Sunday Times - 29 January 2006

"A gripping new account conducted by Colin Davis, the finest Sibelius interpreter of our time ... The haunting and incisive performance Sir Colin elicits from the orchestra, chorus and two fine soloists here makes Kullervo seem an audacious and original achievement ... Sir Colin’s exciting recording should help bring this ambitious score deserved attention"

New York Times - 28 January 2006

"If any performance is needed to convince anyone of the early mastery of Sibelius, it is this one ... it cannot be emphasized too strongly that the undeniable frisson that comes from a really fine live performance is infinitely preferable to a studio account ... this is a great performance. I have no doubt that the LSO at present is the greatest orchestra in the world ... this is great conducting. As a consequence, mezzo Monica Groop, baritone Peter Mattei and the LSC are equally inspired. Finally the recording quality is first class ... you are unlikely to hear a more thrilling and convincing account of it than this"

International Record Review - March 2006

"For 30 years Sibelius has been the most consistent thread in Davis’s artistic personality. That sort of experience pays dividends in Kullervo. Full-blooded playing from the LSO and strong contributions from its Chorus and the two soloists, Peter Mattei and Monica Groop, make for stupendous listening"

Financial Times - 11 February 2006

"simply thrilling, a performance that goes straight to the top of recommended recordings. The men of the LSO Chorus are outstanding, as are the two soloists, Peter Mattei and Monica Groop. In short, this is a great performance by any standard, and it’s also extremely well recorded ... As for the work itself, each hearing only makes Sibelius’s ban on performances during his lifetime ever more incomprehensible. When treated with such compelling force and urgency, it’s impossible to deny Kullervo its rightful place as a major, even great piece. Fantastic!"
                                                                 Artistic Quality 10 - Sound Quality 10 - 3 January 2006

"Recording of the Year Award nomination"

2007 Classical Brit Awards

Choice of the Month - Choral and Song

BBC Music Magazine - March 2006

Best Choral Recording


BBC Music Magazine Awards 2007

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