ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Jorma Hynninen Ð a Profile of a Great Career
WORKS: Works by Bach, Mozart, Schumann, Schubert, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Sallinen, Rautavaara,
PERFORMER: Jorma Hynninen (baritone), Ralf Gothóni, Pentti Koskimies (piano), various orchestras & conductors
CATALOGUE NO: ODE 944-2
Jorma Hynninen is something of a national hero in Finland: sometime director of Finnish National Opera and the Savonlinna Festival, he is the country’s leading baritone and now, at 58, professor of vocal studies at the Sibelius Academy. His entirely distinctive voice – characterised by immaculate vocal grooming, dark passions and deep integrity – has famously incarnated the roles of Rautavaara’s Van Gogh and Sallinen’s Kullervo, and yet has been heard too seldom in this country. This illuminating and often moving overview of his career is all the more welcome.
Here are early amateur recordings from the Sixties, including the radiant ‘Morning Star’ by Toivo Kuula; and here is the 28-year-old Hynninen as an ardent Renato in a piano-accompanied ‘Eri tu’ from the finals of the Lappeenranta Singing Competition. Hynninen made his FNO debut in Pagliacci, and his Silvio aria form 1973 is sung here in Finnish.
Hynninen, as singer and director, has been at the forefront of the great Finnish opera revival. Sallinen is represented here by Topi’s aria from The Red Line, and Rautavaara, old and new, by an aria from his Kalevala-inspired Thomas and by Aleksis Kivi’s ‘Song of my Heart’. At the core of Hynninen’s career and of this recital comes Lieder: a variable selection of Schubert and Schumann, patched together from different periods and accoustics, and accompanied by Rolf Gothóni. Hilary Finch