In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
Pekka Kostiainen's long and impressive career as a composer and choir conductor is undoubtedly based on his profound understanding of and widely recognised expertise in choral music. As a conductor, he collaborated for several decades with the Vox Aurea Children's Choir and the Musica Choir. Kostiainen also wrote several of his choral works for these choirs.
His flexible composition technique allows him to adapt his musical goals and intentions into a range of different circumstances. He not only exploits the choir's expressive potential in a captivating manner, but also takes into account the performer's technical capabilities and overall musical experience. His technical flexibility is very much appreciated among the performers, in particular when it comes to the heterogeneous and highly ambivalent language of contemporary music.
Although Kostiainen's oeuvre is predominated by choral music, he is not solely known for his choral works. Kostiainen has also composed a large number of chamber music, works for orchestra, as well as several concertos, including a concerto for the Finnish national instrument Kantele. Additionally, his massive oeuvre also comprises two operas.
Kostiainen's musical originality is perhaps most evident in the works inspired by Kalevala or Finnish folk poetry. Humour, too, is often wonderfully present in his music. Sacred and organ music also constitute an important genre for Kostiainen. There is an ingeniously creative imprint of the renaissance vocal tradition perceivable in Kostiainen's sacred works.
As a composer and choir conductor, Kostiainen has been awarded several national and international prizes. His music has been - and continues to be - performed and recorded all around the world.
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Review: Kostiainen conducts Kostiainen" discs was released in 2003. The Musica Choir recorded Kostiainen's suites for a mixed choir, partially based on Ingrian folklore lyrics (The Bridegroom's Arrival Songs 1- II and Mary's Story), some texts for the works are selected from the national epic Kalevala (The Tracing of Frost). On the disc there are also some humour Kostiainen likes to cultivate in his works i.e. The Satirical Suite to the lyrics by Lauri Viita.
Review: The Musica Choir recorded the 3rd part of Kostiainen conducts Kostiainen" series, I've Got a Sweetheart, in the year 2000. On disc you can hear among others the best known folklore based works for the mixed choir, such as the title song and the arrangement for choir of the Ostrobthnian folk song "Veret tuli mun silimihini" (I Got Tears in These Eyes of Mine). In addition there is maybe the most often performed piece of work by Kostiainen "Jaakobin (isot) pojat" (The (Grown-up) Sons of Jacob) and some new works composed into Kalevala texts. SULASOL (The Finnish Association of Choirs) and The Finnish Association of Choirmasters selected this disc as "A Choir Disc of The Year 2000". The Musica Choir had the honor to be the first choir receiving this award to outside the Capital City of Finland.
Review: On March 2007 was released the disc "Oh Lord, please take my hand" where the Musica Choir recorded Pekka Kostieinen's choral arrangements of the well known and also not so well known Finnish psalms and spiritual hymns. Psalm arr.s at the same time are a minor cross section about the career of the composer, the oldest are from 60s and the latest from 2000-tale. This is the 5th disc of the series "Kostiainen conducts Kostiainen"
Review: This excellent recording features the most important church music Kostiainen composed for a cappella choir and here sung by The Musica Choir. The title work Regina Angelorum is one of best known work for the female choir by Kostiainen. Kostiainen was awarded the "Goldene Stimmgabel" prize of the European Association of Choirmasters in the year 1995.
Review: The children in the Vox Aurea choir, one of the leading Finnish choral groups, are fortunate to be under the direction of Pekka Kostianinen, one of the finest choral composers, and one who likes to test his ideas on his choir before committing them to paper. Finnish folk tradition has been an inspiration for many of these works, the language providing a rhythmic undercurrent and the sound of the words music in itself. "LoRuLaiLee" is a cross-section of Pekka's main works for children's choir. 12 tunes, some favorites: the title tune, "Kiurun tie," "Satakieli," "Jaakobin pojat," and "Pah' on olla paimenessa I and II." This is ethereal, soaring, stunning material, especially for a children's choir.
Review: Pekka Kostiainen (b.1944) is perhaps not known as well as other Finnish composers outside his native land. Although he wrote mainly instrumental music early in his career, he now concentrates on choral music. Pekka Kostiainen is the present conductor and composes extensively for them. Vox Aurea have excelled in performing his demanding but inspiring music, and taking it on their world tours. Tuhat kertaa tuhat vuotta (A thousand times a thousand years) is the most substantial a capella work on this 6th disc of Alba's "Kostiainen Conducts Kostiainen" series. It is a setting of a poem by Lauri Viita, one of the central characters of post-World War II literature in Finland, and narrates the origin of the world from an empty Cosmos, the building of mountains, ocean formation and the development of life. Softly vibrating tone-clusters suggest the void, magically expanding into the warm church acoustic, and a variety of eerie vocalisations including clicks, hisses and open-mouth tapping give way to firmer melodic lines. The altos, with more robust tone than the sweet sopranos, intone the verses in a modal runic chant style which derives from the Kalevala, the Finnish National epic, very close to the narrative style used by Sibelius in Kullervo and his epic tone poems. The choir are divided into four groups, two of sopranos and two altos, and the music moves antiphonally across the sound stage, suggesting the dynamic events at hand. This really is a tour-de-force of choral pictorialism, a miniature epic in its own right.
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