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Riemuitkaamme! (A FInnish Christmas) - Schweckendiek

Riemuitkaamme! (A FInnish Christmas) - Schweckendiek

BIS  BIS-2322

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Vocal


J.S. Bach: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme – Synkkä yö maan peitti aivan - Chorale Prelude, BWV 645, and chorale setting of Philipp Nicolai’s hymn tune
Jean Sibelius: En etsi valtaa, loistoa (Give me no Splendour, Gold or Pomp), Ecce novum gaudium, On lapsonen syntynyt meille (A Child is Born Unto Us)
Leevi Madetoja: Arkihuolesi kaikki heitä (Throw Off All Your Daily Cares)
Michael Praetorius, Samuel Scheidt, Dietrich Buxtehude, Johann Hermann Schein, J. S. Bach: Puer natus in Bethlehem (Synnytti piltin Bethlehem)
Taneli Kuusisto: Pastorale, Op. 18 No. 2 for organ solo
Hector Berlioz: Paimenten jäähyväiset pyhälle perheelle (L’Adieu des Bergers) (from L’Enfance du Christ)
Armas Maasalo: Joulun kellot (Christmas Bells)
Jean Sibelius, Heikki Klemetti: Angelus emittitur (Enkel’ alas liihottaa)
Matthew Whittall: Aattoilta (Christmas Eve)
J. S. Bach, Michael Praetorius, Hans Leo Hassler, Caspar Othmayr, Max Reger: Enkeli taivaan lausui näin (Vom Himmel hoch)
Einojuhani Rautavaara: Christmas Carol
Ahti Sonninen: Jouluhymni (Christmas Hymn)
Arvi Karvonen: Pastorale for organ solo
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Jeesuslapsen tarhassa (Christ, when a Child, a Garden Made) from Legend, Op. 54 No.5
Traditional: Maa on niin kaunis (Glorious is the Earth [Fairest Lord Jesus])

Jan Lehtola (organ)
Helsinki Chamber Choir
Nils Schweckendiek (conductor)


Riemuitkaamme! is an imaginative and unconventional selection of choral music associated with Christmas as it is celebrated in Finland. Several of the pieces are by Finnish composers – Sibelius, Rautavaara and Madetoja, to name a few – while others have become part of the Christmas traditions of the country despite their international background. Among these Berlioz’ The Shepherds’ Farewell and Tchaikovsky’s Christ, when a Child… are quite late additions compared to the medieval hymns Puer natus in Bethlehem, Ecce novum gaudium and Angelus emittitur. All three of these were included in the collection Piae cantiones from 1582, the oldest Finnish music publication. Here, they are performed in settings by various composers from different countries and eras –forming a kind of soundtrack of Christmases past and present, distant and close. Contemporary music forms an important part of the activities of the Helsinki Chamber Choir and Nils Schweckendiek, and true to form, the team includes a world premiere recording in their celebrations: Aattoilta, by the Canadian-born composer Matthew Whittall.

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Comment by Luketsu - October 8, 2017 (1 of 1)

Nowadays every new SACD from BIS seems to be a must-have purchase, even a program has not been generally interesting. This forthcoming album is a good example. Although these traditional Finnish Christmas Songs (or more specifically songs that Finns have adopted) are quite unknown outside Finland BIS has done a praiseworthy choice when selected them to the present disc.

As the largest SACD producer in the world there is no doubt that planned albums to be released as SACDs with a very few expectations. The following suggestions have been forwarded to the BIS A&R Director Robert Suff (except for Nos. 8 & 11) who will make a choice what they are going to record and release in the future. As BIS fulfilled one of my earlier suggestions - Klami: Kalevala Suite (the SACD album to be released in 2018) - I'm pretty sure some of these will reach a daylight in the years to come. The artists were also my suggestions and may change due to the various reasons.

1) Beethoven: Complete Overtures
Minnesota Orchestra · Osmo Vänskä
"This would be a logical continuation to these performers highly successful Beethoven symphony cycle"

2) Berlioz: Harold in Italy, Op. 16 + 3 Overtures (Le carnaval de Romain, Benvenuto Cellini & King Lear)
Antoine Tamestit · Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra · Yannick-Nézét Séguin
"A continuation to 'Symphonie fantastique' (BIS-SACD-1800)

3) Elgar: Enigma Variations & Alassio
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra · Sakari Oramo
"A continuation to these performers critically acclaimed Elgar symphony cycle"

4) 1930s Violin Concertos (Berg, Britten, Stravinsky)
Vadim Gluzman · Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra · Edward Gardner
"Berg and Stravinsky are still waiting for a compelling hybrid multichannel SACD. This could be the eagerly awaited one"

5) Jon Leifs: Saga Symphony & Hekla
Iceland Symphony Orchestra · Yan Pascal Tortelier
"A sonic blockbuster and a real test for your surround sound playback system - sirens, stones, cannons and other rarely used percussion will be active on these highly captivating works. Quite unique listening experience that makes a great impression"

6) Liszt: A Faust Symphony (without choral ending) & Les Preludes
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra · Edward Gardner
"This would be the first album to the three-disc Liszt collection that to be included the composer's Faust and Dante Symphonies + Christus Oratorio, performed by Bergen Symphony Orchestra and Edward Gardner"

7) MacMillan: Triduum (The World's Ransoming, Cello Concerto & Symphony 'Vigil')
Christian Poltéra · Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra · Markus Stenz
"The first SACD to the new multi-album MacMillan Series. Using benefit of Surround Sound and high-resolution audio the engineers at BIS have captured all the details of these colorful works as they should be heard at home. In the 'Vigil Symphony' MacMillan uses a separate brass quintet distributed in the distance and in surround this effect can be heard as it was intended (from the rear speakers)"

8) Orff: Carmina Burana
Sally Matthews · Barry Banks · Christopher Maltman · London Symphony Chorus · London Symphony Orchestra · Daniel Harding
"Earlier this year BIS and LSO signed a contract and their first album, containing American Symphonies, to be released next year. The album was recorded at the Henry Wood Hall, London. What a great continuation this Orff album could be!"

9) Sibelius: Karelia Music, JS 115 - completed and reconstructed by Kalevi Aho (recorded using the new edition as a source) + Scenes historiques I & II
Waltteri Torikka · Lahti Symphony Orchestra · Dima Slobodeniouk
"Lahti Symphony Orchestra has never recorded Sibelius's Scenes historiques I & II. These works may be perfect fillers for the SACD album that to be consist as the main program the composer's original full-length Karelia Music. Recorded at the woody warm acoustics of the Sibelius Hall"

10) Sibelius: Scaramouche, Op. 71 (complete ballet & concert suite)
Tapiola Sinfonietta · Tuomas Hannikainen
"During the Sibelius 150 celebrations in 2015 the artists above performed this 60-minute delightful rarity of the Finnish master. Coupled with the 20-minute concert suite (prepared by Jussi Jalas) the events of the ballet will come into full bloom as the distant cornet in the Act II has been captured into the rear speaker at Tapiola Hall, Espoo, Finland".

11) Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, Op. 44 & Concert Fantasy, Op. 56
Yevgeny Sudbin · São Paulo Symphony Orchestra · John Neschling
"A continuation to BIS-SACD-1588 (Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1)"