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A class act

Finnish music for strings -
reviewed by

'Finland's prodigious musical talent is once again on display ...'

Finnish Music for Strings - Rautavaara, Sallinen, Nordgren, Sibelius - The Helsinki Strings - Csaba and Géza Szilvay. © 2005 Warner Classics

Finland's reverence for classical composition and performance is a sight to behold if you live in countries where sports people and rock stars attract the eye of the populace. But the Nordic country of five million has, as it's national hero, Jean Sibelius, and is as proud of its musical 'exports' such as conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen, Mikko Franck, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Osmo Vanska, and concert performers such as violinists Pekka and Jaakko Kuusisto, and pianist Olli Mustonen, as it is of its Nokia phones.

And the future for Finnish classical music looks exceptionally bright if a recent release from Warner, Finnish Music for Strings, is any indication. This diverse and satisfying sampling of the works of Sibelius and Rautavaara [listen -- track 1, 0:02-1:13], as well as less well known contemporary composers, Aulis Sallinen and Pehr Hendrik Nordgren, is played by the Helsinki Strings.

Led by two of the most accomplished string teachers in Finland, the Hungarian couple, Géza and Csaba Szilvay, the Helsinki Strings is comprised of students ranging from the ages of ten through to twenty from the renowned Sibelius Academy and the East Helsinki Music Institute. This ensemble is the fertile 'breeding ground' for string players who have gone on to solo, orchestral and chamber music careers throughout Scandinavia and the world.

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Copyright © 11 December 2005 Greg Barns, Hobart, Australia


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