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TOIVO KUULA  

(1883 - 1918)

When Toivo Kuula met with a violent death in the aftermath of the Finnish Civil War in May 1918, he became the tragic romantic hero of Finnish music. Born at Vaasa in 1883, he was a pupil of Novek, Wegelius and Jrnefelt at the Helsinki Music Institute, before further study abroad in Bologna, Leipzig, Paris and, finally in 1911–12, in Berlin. During his years of continuing study he had served as a teacher and conductor in Vaasa, and conducted the orchestra in Oulu. In 1912 he became assistant conductor of the Native Orchestra and from 1916 to 1918 held a similar position with the Helsinki Town Orchestra. His work as a composer was inevitably influenced by Sibelius, drawing in particular on the folk-music of his native region. It is in particular for his songs and vocal writing that he is remembered. Kuula died at the early age of 35, and was a full-blooded national romantic. His music breathes the spirit of his own country, Ostrobothnia. Kuula left 24 solo songs for voice and piano. Typical features include a strong melodic flow and Slavic pathos, and many songs are in a minor key and a melancholy mood. It would be too simple, however, to claim that Kuula was an ardent hothead whose songs embody the rougher traditions of Ostrobothnia. Alongside local passions, his songs also carry a quite different vein of refined and nuanced sensuality, as in Sinipiika (Blue Maiden) or Jkukkia (Ice Flowers), which comes close to impressionism.

In Kuula’s songs the piano often merely provides an accompaniment. The piano texture has no independence, as in the Central European Lieder tradition. His piano writing is sonorous, with thick chords somewhat reminiscent of Brahms. Kuula wrote numerous folk-song arrangements. The choices of text show his fervent patriotism. Over half of his songs are settings of Eino Leino or VA Koskenniemi, great Finnish poets of his time. Many of Kuula’s solo songs were first performed by his wife, Alma Kuula, a singer and a source of inspiration.

Box Set Release Catalogue Number
Nordic Classical Favourites Naxos 8.504037

View by Role: Classical Composer | Arranger
Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
CAPRICER MED OD, Vol. 2 (1970-1975) BIS
BIS-NL-CD-5016
Choral - Secular
CAPRICER MED OD, Vol. 5 (1987-1990) BIS
BIS-NL-CD-5027
Choral - Secular
Chamber Music (Finnish): Century of Finnish Chamber Music (A) Ondine
ODE984-2S
Chamber Music
Choral Concert: Tapiola Children's Choir - HANNIKAINEN, P. / PUTRO, M. / BACKMAN, H. / LITHENIUS, S. / KUUSISTO, T. / FINNE, E. / KUULA, T. Ondine
ODE902-2
Choral - Sacred
Choral Concert: YL Male Voice Choir - HANNIKAINEN, P.J. / BELLMAN, C.M. / HERMES, E. / FOUGSTEDT, N.-E. (Kevatsointuja) Ondine
ODE1144-2
Choral - Secular
Choral Concert: YL Male Voice Choir - SIBELIUS, J. / KUUSISTO, T. / KUULA, T. / TIKKA, K. / HELA, M. / HADAR, J. (Soi Kunniaksi Luojan) Ondine
ODE1159-2
Choral - Secular
Christmas Music (Finnish) (Muistojen Joulu) Ondine
ODE1116-2
Chamber Music
CLASSICAL IMAGES FROM FINLAND Ondine
ODE1004-2
Vocal
Diamonds BIS
BIS-CD-1233
Choral - Secular
Early One Morning - Finnish Orchestral Favourites Naxos
8.578143-44
Orchestral, Chamber Music
FINNISH ORCHESTRAL FAVOURITES Naxos
8.555773
Orchestral
FINSKA KLASSISKA FAVORITER (Finnish Classical Favourites) Naxos
8.551023
Orchestral
KUULA / MADETOJA: Finnish Songs Marco Polo
8.225177
Vocal
KUULA / MADETOJA: Songs Naxos
8.554404
Vocal
KUULA / MERIKANTO: Finnish Chamber Music BIS
BIS-CD-56
Chamber Music
KUULA, T.: 3 Fairy-Tale Pictures / 3 Pieces / MERIKANTO, O.: From the World of Children (Heinonen) BIS
BIS-CD-198
Instrumental
KUULA, T.: Songs (Hakala) Ondine
ODE1087-2
Vocal
SEASONS OF FINNISH LIFESTYLE Ondine
ODE1152-2
Vocal
SOUNDS OF FINLAND BIS
BIS-CD-94
Choral - Secular
SUOMALAISIA KLASSISIA SUOSIKKISAVALMIA PIANOLLE (Finnish Classical Favourites for Piano) Naxos
8.551047
Instrumental
SUOMALAISIA KLASSISIA SUOSIKKISAVELMIA (Finnish Classical Favourites), Vol. 2 Naxos
8.570839
Chamber Music
Vocal Recital: Hynninen, Jorma - TURUNEN, M. / MERIKANTO, O. / MADETOJA, L. / HANNIKAINEN, I. (Mina laulan sun iltasi tahtihin, Summer Moods) Ondine
ODE880-2
Vocal
Vocal Recital: Hynninen, Jorma / Ruuttunen, Esa / Tiilikainen, Sauli - KOKKONEN, J. / DVORAK, A. / PYLKKANEN, T. / TIKKA, K. / PIIPARINEN, M. Ondine
ODE925-2
Vocal
Vocal Recital: Mattila, Karita - KUULA, T. / MERIKANTO, O. / MELARTIN, E. / KILPINEN, Y. / GOTHONI, R. (Sydan Suomessa) Ondine
ODE887-2
Vocal
Vocal Recital: Mattila, Karita - MERIKANTO, O. / MELARTIN, E. / KILPINEN, Y. (From the Heart of Finland) Ondine
ODE892-2
Vocal
Vocal Recital: Mattila, Karita - SCHUMANN, R. / BRAHMS, J. / MERIKANTO, O. / MELARTIN, E. / SIBELIUS, J. / SCHUBERT, F. / DVORAK, A. Ondine
ODE1054-2
Vocal
Vocal Recital: Salminen, Matti - MERIKANTO, O. / SIBELIUS, J. / MADETOJA, L. / KILPINEN, Y. / TURUNEN, M. / LUOLAJAN-MIKKOLA, V. / KUULA, T. Ondine
ODE1135-2
Vocal
Role: Arranger 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 




 
 
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