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James H. North
Fanfare, July 2020

Bass Niklas Spångberg is the excellent soloist, and Key Ensemble rounds out their fine work. Chorus Cathedralis Aboensis returns for another magnificent chorus; “It is Accomplished,” with the aid of another excellent bass, Juha Kotilainen. Even the recorded sound is now cleaner than before, with only a pleasing amount of reverberation.

[This disc] …Ends in a blaze of glory, with four great, thrilling Beethoven choruses. © 2020 Fanfare Read complete review



Paul L Althouse
American Record Guide, May 2020

The cast here is large indeed. We have four speakers for the narrative roles in King Stephan and eight soloists spread over the other pieces. Most of the choral work is done by the Key Ensemble, a group of about 24, with two larger pieces sung by the Aboensis Cathedral Chorus. Both groups are very fine… The Turku Philharmonic, as I’ve noted before, plays with strength and enthusiasm under Segerstam’s direction.

This can certainly be recommended if you want to explore lesser-known Beethoven… © 2020 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Antti Häyrynen
Rondo Classic, February 2020

These pieces are included in the monumental compilation of Naxos’ Beethoven complete edition. © 2020 Rondo Classic



David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2020

The Beethoven anniversary year is uncovering a whole host of seldom performed works, this release containing music for insertion into theatrical presentations.

The most extendedalmost as long as one of his symphonies—Konig Stephan was composed for the opening of the new theatre in Pest in 1812, an event of political importance in Hungary, the score’s full title translating to King Stephan, Hungary’s First Benefactor. Fashioned into an overture and epilogue, the words of August von Kotzebue extolling the virtues of the King, are interspersed by choruses, the whole work, including spoken words, here receiving a rare performance. You will probably recognised the overture which has entered the concert repertoire, but I think the remainder will be unknown to you, though as a work it here stands to repeated hearing, much due to the excellent acting of four ‘speakers’. You will probably want to download from the Naxos.com website the German translated into English to maximise your enjoyment, as it relates the peace that Stephan brought to the region as it embraced Christianity. Certainly the Finnish choruses and orchestra offer a very potent performance brought to a rousing conclusion. The remainder of the well-filled disc is given to choruses mostly written for the special occasions that took place in Europe in the early part of the nineteenth century. The two exceptions being settings of the words to the poem by Friedrich von Matthisson, Opferlied (Sacred Song), here offered inversions for differing performing groups. At this juncture I must point to the very beautiful contribution of the soprano, Johanna Lehesvuori. With the varying requirement of four ‘speakers’, eight vocal soloists, solo harpist and two choruses, the disc has been put together over nine days, its sound quality throughout being very good, the famous Finnish conductor, Leif Segerstam, obtaining perfect balance between the various performers. A most unusual jewel. © 2020 David’s Review Corner



Records International, January 2020

The latest helping of rarely recorded Beeethoven from this Finnish composer-conductor with the 23 numbers from the 1811 King Stephan (38 min.) the biggest portion. Texts and translations available online. © 2020 Records International





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