Uuno Klami: Northern Lights; Cheremissian Fantasy; Kalevala Suite

Samuli Peltonen / John Storgårds / Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra

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Uuno Klami: Northern Lights; Cheremissian Fantasy; Kalevala Suite Review

by James Leonard

Opinion may be divided on this disc of orchestral music by Finnish modernist composer Uuno Klami. Consistently well written and effectively scored, the three pieces here -- Northern Lights from 1946, the Kalevala Suite from 1943, and the Cheremissian Fantasy for cello and orchestra from 1931-- are highly melodic works that offer much of the appeal of Sibelius, but with fewer challenges. Favored with fine performances by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, strongly characterized interpretations by John Storgårds, and richly atmospheric sound by Ondine, anyone who has enjoyed Klami's symphonies are likely to appreciate this disc. For some listeners, however, Klami's melodies may seem a bit trite, his harmonies a tad too unadventurous, his colors a shade too primary, and his music decidedly too conservative. Though they might readily admit his skill and happily acknowledge his sincerity, they would likely find Klami's music to be, in a word, dull.

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