The first and perhaps boldest statement of Finnish nationalism in music by Jean Sibelius, Kullervo (1892) is a magnificently evocative work in five movements that announced the young Sibelius as a leading cultural light and proponent of Finnish identity in the Russian-controlled, Swedish-speaking Finland of the late 19th century. Inspired by folk music and the epic Kalevala, a 19th-century compilation of folklore and mythology that would influence Sibelius throughout his career, Kullervo traces the tragic fate of the eponymous hero through propulsive melodies, stunning vocal passages, and all-encompassing orchestral textures.
Estonian conducting legend Paavo Järvi, a longtime champion of Sibelius’s music, leads the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich with the Estonian National Male Choir and two accomplished Finnish soloists, siblings Johanna and Ville Rusanen, in this stirring and dramatic masterpiece that has seen a well-deserved resurgence in recent decades.
The Orchestre de Paris – Menahem Pressler's Birthday Concert
2010 Nobel Prize Concert