This album features works for children’s choir by Einojuhani Rautavaara, mostly written for and here performed by the world-renowned Tapiola Choir under their music director Pasi Hyökki.
These pieces cover a wide range of topics and moods, extending from humorous nursery rhymes to more serious philosophical issues and religious solemnity. The album title piece is the one-act choral opera Marjatta matala neiti ("Marjatta the Lowly Maiden") for soloists, children’s choir, and instrumental chamber ensemble, based on a poem from the Kalevala epos. The half-hour "mystery play" tells the story of Marjatta who becomes impregnated after eating a lingonberry and gives birth to a son - thus the Finnish mythological adaptation of the Christian story of Jesus’ conception and birth from a virgin.
Finnish cult composer Rautavaara is one of the rare composers to have written extensive and substantial repertoire for children’s choir. More generally, his major output for mixed and for male choir has cemented his position as one of today’s most popular composers of choral music.
"...In everything here Rautavaara not only treats the children’s choir as an accomplished, professional ensemble but cleverly captures the essence of children’s voices through sprightly rhythmic writing and generally light and airy textures. It would be difficult to imagine most children’s choirs handling this music so well as the outstanding Tapiola Choir: the combination of enchanting music, exceptional vocal skill and superb recording make this a much more rewarding disc than one might at first expect."
Marc Rochester - International Record Review - April 2012
"...Choral msuic fans should snap this up immediately..."
Gimbel - American Record Guide - March/April 2012
Guys Engels - Pizzicato magazine - March 2012
Performance **** Recording ****
"...All delightfully fresh performances in a satisfying programme."
Hilary Finch - BBC Music magazine - February 2012