The Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä, music director since 2003 of the Minnesota Orchestra, long ago proved himself a formidable interpreter of Nordic music in general and Sibelius in particular. This symphonic cycle – two highly praised discs are already out – is now complete, with this album of the pliant, classical Symphony No 3, the little known and underrated No 6 and the mysterious, enthralling single-movement No 7. The playing is polished and detailed, now springy and buoyant, now occluded and chilling. Tempi are slightly broad but convincingly so. From the plunging energy of the opening of the Third Symphony to the bleak, raw ending of the Seventh, this is a gripping listen.
'My apotheosis of the dance' is how Kalevi Aho describes his Symphony No.15. With two dance movements and rhythm a central element, the score calls for numerous percussion instruments, including non-Western ones such as bongos, darbuka, djembe and the riqq, an Arabian tambourine. The composer's interest in non-Western music and instruments has been evident in several recent works, such as his Symphony No. 14 (recorded on BIS-1686) and Oboe Concerto (BIS-1876). It also played an important part during the creation of Minea, composed as a concert opener for the Minnesota Orchestra on the initiative of Osmo Vänskä, who also conducts the work here.
Ilkka Kuusisto began his career as a jazz pianist at the age of 15, and has since been active in a number of fields, including the theatre, as an organist, a choral conductor and as chief executive of the Finnish National Opera. As a composer he is highly eclectic. Having composed several operas, Kuusisto was invited by the conductor Osmo Vänskä to write a symphony for the Lahti Symphony Orchestra – a work which opens this disc.
To achieve this recorded trilogy of works by Scots composer Thea Musgrave, NMC has pulled together various recordings from separate BBC Proms seasons. The earliest dates from 1998, and a performance by Lisa Milne and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Osmo Vänskä of Songs for a Winter's Evening, written in 1995 in response to a joint commission by the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival and Burns International Festival. Milne weaves the warm, lyrical lines of these ……[4 STARS] Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman, 7/13/2009
Over the Hills and Far Away is the first EP by Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, released in 2001 through both Spinefarm Records and Drakkar Records. Bassist Sami Vänskä would leave the band after the recording of this CD, due to musical differences between him and Tuomas Holopainen, to be replaced by the current bassist and male vocalist, Marco Hietala…
Following in the footsteps of the Gathering and Lacuna Coil (goth-influenced "symphonic" metal bands with female vocalists), Nightwish were formed in Kitee, Finland, in 1997 by keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen. Initially attempting to create acoustic music, he recruited trained opera vocalist Tarja Turunen, but soon added full metal band instrumentation in the persons of guitarist Emppo Vuorinen, bassist Sami Vänskä, and drummer Jukka Nevalainen…
Finnish melodic metallers BURNING POINT, whose current lineup includes singer Nitte Vänskä (ex-BATTLE BEAST), will release their new, self-titled album on June 12 in Europe and July 7 in the U.S. via AFM Records. The CD includes five brand new songs and six re-recorded tracks from the band's first three albums. Comments BURNING POINT guitarist Pete Ahonen: "It was clear from the start that we wanted this album to be the absolute best representation of the new improved lineup, as well as a breath of new life to some of the old BURNING POINT classics! This self-titled album is a perfect example of where we come from, where we are and to where we are heading to."