Ave Maria – Aurora Borealis.
Piae cantiones, arr. Heikki Klemetti, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Britta Byström,
Mikko Heiniö, Anders Hillborg, Knut Nystedt, Bror Samuelson. Teemu
Honkanen (conductor), Erkki Lahesmaa (cello)
Fuga Records FUGA-9351
The chamber choir Key Ensemble from Turku proved its excellent standard by winning the adult category in the BBC’s competition ‘Let the people sing’ last year. The latest CD delivers some fine moments, and keeps the focus on Nordic contemporary composers.
The dramaturgy is very elegant, starting and ending with arrangements of the same old song. Mikko Heiniö’s Maria Suite forms the centrepiece, offering some of the emotionally strongest moments. I’m particularly fond of the closing movement with its taste of Russian vocal music. Heiniö has set some very interesting lyrics in five different languages, and I would have loved to hear them more clearly.
The Key Ensemble sound is very much to my taste. The choir sounds pure and clear, but at the same time very strong and mature − these are not young and innocent choir voices, they are adults with bodies and emotions. Many of the works are quite complex, but as a listener you are able to forget that and just dive into the music. Anders Hillborg’s fascinating sound landscape is one of my favourite tracks. Well done, Teemu Honkanen & co!