LSM Newswire

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ondine Announces November New Releases for North America

Ondine Announces North American New Releases for November 2008

MAGNUS LINDBERG: Sculpture, Campana in Aria, Concerto For Orchestra

Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Sakari Oramo, conductor

ODE 1124-2

Release date: November 11, 2008

Magnus Lindberg is one of Finland's leading international contemporary composers. His music is characterized by energy, color and a thrilling density of material, and the works recorded here Sculpture (2005), Compana in aria (1998), and Concerto for Orchestra (2003) are entrancing examples. This disc follows the great success of his Clarinet Concerto recording, which was named best contemporary / premire recording both at the Gramophone Awards and the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2006 (ODE 1038-2). Like this disc, it also featured conductor Sakari Oramo and the Finnish RSO. Sculpture was premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen in 2005. The score is dedicated to Frank Gehry, architect of Disney Hall, and Lindberg's music explores the sonic spaces of that concert venue. The Los Angeles Times reported, "The score is sophisticated yet immediately engrossing. . . The instrumental texture is often fast-moving and complex. . . In the middle, Sculpture turns into a miniature concerto for orchestra, focusing on different instrumental sections competing to be the most dazzling. At the end the organ came rumbling in, lingering 'Zarathustra'-like in its low register. Tubas and other brass instruments took positions around the hall . . . The piece climaxes with rousing Stravinskyan rhythms . . . he orchestral writing is that of a master." Lindberg's Concerto for Orchestra was commissioned by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2003, and the premiere was conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste. The 30-minute piece spotlights instruments and groups of intruments within the orchestra, and is cast in five continuous movements. A fast and brilliant opening section is followed by a darkly coloured slow movement, then a third section strips the orchestra back to chamber music formations, leading to a scherzo and a summatory finale.



ODE 1139-2F (5 CDs)

Release date: November 25, 2008

This 5-CD boxed set features six vocal stars in a collection of the most popular opera scenes and arias. CD 1 focuses on the star baritone Jorma Hynninen with a NA recording from 1989, the period that saw his international career rocket after he conquered the opera houses of New York, Chicago and San Francisco. CD 2 features the outstanding lyric soprano Soile Isokoski in what was hailed by the press in 2004 as "one of the best albums available of Mozart arias." CD 3 contains the dbut album of highly acclaimed young baritone Tommi Hakala, which he recorded shortly after winning the BBC 'Singer of the World' contest in 2003. He has since dbuted in San Francisco and at the Metropolitan Opera, in some of the roles featured on this disc. Mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca's dbut recording (CD 4) was released in 2001 by Ondine before she became the international superstar of today. Bass-baritone Juha Uusitalo joined Ondine's roster in 2008 with an acclaimed Wagner album, of which CD 5 features three excerpts. Completing the disc, and as a culmination of this opera gala box, star soprano Karita Mattila performs, among other arias, Vissi d'arte from Tosca, in a live recording of a concert in 2000 attended by 11,000 people in Helsinki.


Recent Ondine releases Ķ

Einojuhani Rautavaara: Works for Male Choir

YL Male Voice Choir, Talla Ensemble

Matti Hykki and Pasi Hykki, conductors

ODE 1125-2D (2CDs)

Release date: October 14, 2008

Ondine pays tribute to its most longstanding and successful house composer, Einojuhani Rautavaara, with three major CD releases in 2008 and 2009. For the 80th birthday of the great composer in October, Ondine will release a 2-CD recording of his complete works for male voice choir, including many premiere recordings. The release features the YL Male Voice Choir and Talla Ensemble led by their respective conductors Matti Hykki and Pasi Hykki.

In March 2008, Ondine released a new recording of Rautavaara's Manhattan Trilogy, coupled with his Third Symphony, by Leif Segerstam and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. Gramophone recommended the disc, writing, "Superbly recorded coupling of the new with the old from the Finnish master."

In 2009, Ondine will release the premiere recording of Rautavaara's latest orchestral composition, A Tapestry of Life (2007), coupled with Before the Icons (2005), performed by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under Leif Segerstam. The new work will be given its Finnish premiere performance during a celebratory concert on October 9, 2008, with Olli Mustonen conducting the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.

Einojuhani Rautavaara (born October 9, 1928) was hailed by The New York Times as "the patriarch of contemporary Finnish composers." Ondine has had a long and fruitful association with this iconic composer, having recorded the premieres of many of his works and garnering many awards along the way, including a Cannes Classical Award 1998 for his Violin Concerto and a Grammy nomination in 1997 for Angel of Light, his seventh symphony.



Scene d'amore

Helsinki Philharmonic, Mikko Franck, conductor

ODE 1126-2

Release date: October 14, 2008

Audiences and critics hail the Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski as one of the finest singers today. Her recent orchestral albums on Ondine (Sibelius's Luonnotar and orchestral songs; Mozart Arias; R. Strauss's Four Last Songs and other orchestral songs) have been praised as top-choice recordings and earned the highest distinctions such as the BBC Music Magazine Disc of the Year 2007 Award, a 2007 MIDEM Classical Award, and a 2002 Gramophone Award. The Guardian has proclaimed, "Her voice is one of the greatest in the world."

This disc features popular scenes and arias from the late-19th century Italian, French and Russian opera marking Soile Isokoski's greatest successes on stage. Included is the famous aria "S. Mi chiamano Mim" from Puccini's La Bohme (the role of Mim marked Soile Isokoski's opera dbut in 1989), as well as the famous Letter scene from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin Tatyana being her latest new role, which she sang in 2006 at the Finnish National Opera to international acclaim.

Soile Isokoski is accompanied by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of young star conductor Mikko Franck.

Ms. Isokoski performs a recital at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall on March 31, with pianist Marita Viitasalo. She appears as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni at The Metropolitan Opera from April 13-24, 2009.



Notes on Light, Orion Mirage

Karita Mattila, Anssi Karttunen

Orchestra de Paris, Christoph Eschenbach

ODE 1130-2

Release date: September 9, 2008

Soprano Karita Mattila and female composer Kaija Saariaho share not only popular star status in the classical musical world (with respective awards by Musical America as Musician of the Year 2005 and as Composer of the Year 2008), but also a fruitful musical collaboration and friendship. Its latest output after the acclaimed song cycle Quatre Instants in 2006 is Mirage, the setting of a trance-induced incantation text by the Mexican healer Mara Sabina (18941985). This recording features the work's world premire performance in Paris, France on March 13, 2008.

The ecstatic 15-minute piece is written for the unprecedented combination of soprano, cello and orchestra, featuring cellist Anssi Karttunen and the Orchestre de Paris under its music director Christoph Eschenbach. Mr. Eschenbach who for the Ondine label also records with The Philadelphia Orchestra is known as one of the top champions of contemporary music among the world's leading conductors. The disc also includes Anssi Karttunen performing Notes on Light, a cello concerto Saariaho wrote for him in 2006 and which he gave its New York premiere during the 2008 Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival; and Orion, the largest orchestral work Saariaho has written to date.



The Wagner Album

Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Leif Segerstam

ODE 1121-2

Release date: September 23, 2008

Bass-baritone Juha Uusitalo's first aria album features the outstanding Finnish newcomer performing the best-known arias for male voice from Wagner's operas, including "Song to the Evening Star" ("O du, mein holder Abendstern") from Tannhuser. Juha Uusitalo is accompanied by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of its Emeritus Chief Conductor Leif Segerstam.

The September 23 release date coincided with the opening night performance by Mr. Uusitalo, in his Metropolitan Opera debut as Jochanaan in Richard Strauss's Salome. Salome also features Ondine soprano Karita Mattila. The production runs through October 16, 2008, and the October 11, 1 pm ET performance will be broadcast in high definition at movie theaters around the world, as part of The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD series.

On October 30, 31 and November 1, 2008 Juha Uusitalo will perform an all-Wagner program with the National Symphony Orchestra, led by Ivn Fischer, at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Under the direction of Franz Welser-Moest, he will star in the complete Ring cycle in May and June 2009 at the Vienna Staatsoper.


About Ondine: Ondine was founded more than twenty years ago in Helsinki, Finland, where the company is still based and today offers an extremely eclectic catalogue of both contemporary Finnish music, as well as recordings with major Finnish and international artists.

Ondine's extensive catalogue includes more than four hundred recordings (two hundred and fifty of which are available physically) of artists and ensembles such as conductor and pianist Christoph Eschenbach, conductors Vladimir Ashkenazy, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Sakari Oramo, Leif Segerstam, John Storgrds and Mikko Franck, orchestras such as The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, the London Sinfonietta, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Czech Philharmonic, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Helsinki Philharmonic, sopranos Karita Mattila and Soile Isokoski, pianist Olli Mustonen, violinist Pekka Kuusisto and clarinettist Kari Kriikku. The label has also had a long and fruitful association with the Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, having recorded the premieres of many of his works and garnering many awards along the way.

The roots of Ondine date back to 1985 when founder Reijo Kiilunen released the very first Ondine album under the auspices of the renowned Finnish Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival. The label's initial mission was to produce one live album at the Festival each season. The fourth album, however, featured Einojuhani Rautavaara's opera Thomas (ODE 704-2), raising major international attention and opening up the possibility for North American distribution. Kiilunen, who was running the Festival's concert agency and had begun the recording activity part-time, soon decided to devote himself fully to the development of this new business, producing and editing the first 50 releases himself. In 1991, Seppo Siirala joined as producer, and the Helsinki-based company has been expanding steadily since, currently numbering six full-time employees. Today, Ondine continues to uphold its reputation as one of the most respected labels in classical music, and its products have received numerous prizes at the Cannes (MIDEM) Classical Awards, the Gramophone Awards, the BBC Music Magazine Awards and the Classical Internet Awards.

Universal Music Classical and Ondine entered into a distribution agreement that began on January 1, 2008. Both physical and digital distribution in the United States and Canada are covered under the agreement. Universal Music Classical comprises the Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Philips, and ECM labels and is a division of the Universal Music Group. For more information about Ondine, visit



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