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Jean Sibelius - Kullervo, Op. 7 (1/7)

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Uploaded on Sep 26, 2010

Kullervo, Op. 7 (1892)

I. Introduction: Allegro moderato

Kullervo is an early tone poem of symphonic proportions by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957), scored for large orchestra, male choir, mezzo-soprano and baritone. The work deals with the tragic legend of Kullervo, setting portions of the text of the Kalevala, the national epic of Finland. According to the legend, Kullervo is the son of Kalervo and Untamala, the last surviving member of her clan. His uncle Untamo feuded with Kalervo and exterminated the entire clan, save for Untamala. As an infant, Kullervo is heard muttering threats of vengeance against Untamo, so his uncle tries to kill him. Kullervo only survives by virtue of his innate magical powers. Eventually, the young Kullervo is sold as a slave to the shepherd Ilmarinen. After years of servitude, one day Kullervo angrily casts a spell on Ilmarinen's cows, which turns them into bears that kill the shepherd's wife. Kullervo promptly flees the scene and embarks on a quest to find his family. He finds that some members of his tribe survived, but his sister disappeared and probably died. Kullervo then leaves on an errand for his tribe, and on the way he meets a beggar-girl, whom he ravishes. It turns out that this is his long-lost sister, and when they discover this, she commits suicide. Kullervo returns to his tribe with the bad news and decides to redeem himself by exacting revenge on the wicked Untamo. The sky-goddess Ukko supplies him with a magic sword, which he uses to kill Untamo and his entire clan. When he returns from this bloody endeavour, Kullervo finds his own family massacred as well. In anguish, he asks his magic sword to take his life. The sword answers affirmatively and Kullervo falls upon it, ending his own life.

Mezzo-soprano: Lilli Paasikivi
Baritone: Raimo Laukka
Chorus-master: Matti Hyökki
Conductor: Osmo Vänskä
Sinfonia Lahti
YL Male Voice Choir

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