Miserere mei - Salakari, Hynninen, Järvi, Kiviniemi

Miserere mei - Salakari, Hynninen, Järvi, Kiviniemi

Fuga  FUGA-9231

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Vocal

"Miserere mei"

Mikko Salakari (tenor)
Laura Hynninen (harp)
Marius Järvi (cello)
Kalevi Kiviniemi (organ)

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True 5.0 multichannel recording made in Turku Cathedral, Turku, Finland, 7th of June and 25th-27th of August 2006. Recording engineer, editing and mastering by Mika Koivusalo. SACD mastering by DER/Esa Santonen
1. Herra kuule huutoni mun (Antonin Dvorak, Op. 99 No. 3)
2. Herra on mun paimeneni (Antonin Dvorak, Op. 99 No. 4)
3. Herra, Herra, sulle tahdon (Antonin Dvorak, Op. 99 No. 4)
4. Pastoraali (Tauno Pylkkänen)
5. Oi Natsarealainen (Taneli Kuusisto)
6. Ave Maria (Toivo Kuula)
7. Miserere Mei (Henri Rabaud)
8. Ave Maria (Bach-Gounod)
9. Pieta Signore (Louis Niedermeyer)
10. Vergin tutta amor (Franceso Durante)
11. Ave Maria (Franz Schubert)
12. Litania (Franz Schubert)
13. Ingemisco (Giuseppe Verdi)
14. Agnus Dei (Georges Bizet)
15. Cujus Animam (Gioacchino Rossini)
Reviews (1)

Review by John Miller - January 5, 2009

Don't take the title of this disc too literally. There is nothing miserable about this programme of what we might call romantic religious ballads and soulful songs, and it represents the cream of the genre. It brought back vivid memories of my youth, when I was often coerced to play the piano for my aunt's singing of these pieces (she was a soprano in a local choir). In arrangements for various combinations of harp (Laura Hyninnen, daughter of the great baritone), cello (Marius Järvi, international soloist) and organ (Kalevi Kiviniemi, Finland's foremost organist), all the old drawing room favourites are here, plus one or two lesser-known but none the less welcome companions. Mikko Salakari, a lyric tenor with a ringing italianate voice, sings with great fervour and affection, but without any trace of cloying sentimentality, so these much-loved pieces emerge fresh-minted. As the disc was aimed at the Finnish domestic market, all the works are sung in Finnish translations, which are printed in the booklet, itself in Finnish only.

The programme, lasting a few seconds under the hour, has been well thought out, with a balance of repose and drama, and it also rings the changes in accompaniments. Organ and tenor are used for the orchestral originals of Verdi, Bizet and Rossini, as is the Pietà Signore (not the usual Pater Noster) by Louis Niedermeyer, and the emphatically dramatic Vergin tutto amor by Francesco Durante (1684 - 1755). The Ave Maria and Litanie of Schubert are given appropriate rippling accompaniments with solo harp, while the beautiful Ave Maria of Toivo Kuuula (1883-1918) has a grave and dramatic combination of organ and cello, as have the 3 Biblical Songs op 99 of Dvorak. The cello - harp combination accompanies Salakari's rendition of the titular Miserere mei by Henri Rabaud (1873 – 1949). Many of the fine orchestral reductions and arrangements are by the indefatigable Kiviniemi himself.

Many of these pieces were standard repertoire for stars such as Caruso, Bjorling and Gigli, and Salakari's reincarnations of them are certainly full-blooded, while Kalaviemi's organ playing shows he is no shrinking violet either. The dynamic range on this disc is very wide, and very well represented by Mika Koivusalo's engineering and mastering skills. He manages the difficult task of balancing the tenor voice even with full organ registrations, while still giving a good measure of the rich acoustic of Turku Cathedral. The disc thus sounds very realistic in 5.0 multichannel. Its layered sound stage has the organ spread behind the speakers with the tenor some way in front - and on my system a consistent and startling impression that he is standing somewhat higher than the harp and cello, who are given a more intimate perspective closer to the listener. There is plenty of deep bass and roar from the organ pedals for those with full range speakers.

The highlight of the disc for me is the extract from Rossini's Stabat Mater, the aria Cujus animam. Surely Rossini had his tongue firmily in his cheek when he penned this, redolent of Italian village band 'um-papa' rhythms and devil-may care jauntiness. Kiviniemi and Salakari collaborate memorably here, with a priceless elephantine organ accompaniment and unabashed vocals. At the climax, Salakari risks all to get up to his fortissimo high note, and Kiviniemi has a well-timed throw-away ending with several big staccato chords. I thought the disc would be worth having just for this track, let alone its other treasures.

Summarizing, this disc has a programme, recording and performances worthy of wider distribution; few companies other than Fuga would be interested in recording such repertoire in SACD. These may be 'Sacred Lollipops' but they have surprising effectiveness when played so well. I found it most entertaining and nostalgic (in the best sense).

Copyright © 2009 John Miller and


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