This showcase disc of Jaakko Mäntyjärvi’s works was produced in the UK, the very heartland of choral music, rather than in Finland.
The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge under Stephen Layton commissioned an entire Evensong service for this disc, the Trinity Service. The rest of the album features other sacred pieces by Mäntyjärvi, most prominently the dark and edgy Stuttgarter Psalmen. The Choir’s immaculate intonation and sonorous sound reveal deeper layers in Mäntyjärvi’s musical idiom than just that it is pleasing to sing and to listen to. Mäntyjärvi makes such full use of the potential of the choral sound and the registers of the human voice in his harmonies that the colours begin to flicker like the Northern lights, superbly enriching the text. The music feels more contemporary and more profound than is usual for choral music that inhabits this harmonic territory.
Focusing on the sacred, this disc leaves the listener the delight of discovering the rest of Mäntyjärvi’s output. Among his international hits are such works as Four Shakespeare Songs, Canticum calamitatis maritimae and Pseudo-yoik, where he employs his idiom in a completely different way.
Mäntyjärvi: Choral works
The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, cond. Stephen Layton
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi