WORKS: Kuula: South Ostrobothnian Suite No. 2; Four songs with orchestra; Concert Suite: Orjan Poika; Impi Ja Pajarin Poika; Merenkylpijäneidot etc
PERFORMER: Susan Gritton (soprano); BBC Concert Orchestra/Martyn Brabbins
CATALOGUE NO: Dutton CDLX 7272
Toivo Kuula was a composition pupil of Sibelius, and died young, at 35, in a brawl. Some of the master’s fingerprints are audible, for instance in the icily rippling violins at the start of Merenkylpijäneidot (The Sea-bathing Nymphs), but the same song reveals a sumptuousness of orchestral palette owing more to French influence. Susan Gritton’s performance is operatically charged, and very effective, as is her involving account of the 12-minute song-story Impi Ja Pajarin Poika (The Maiden and the Son of a Boyar).