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Michael Scott Rohan
BBC Music Magazine, June 2013

Perhaps Sibelius’s finest contemporary. This Symphony and Elegy commemorate Finland’s civil war and his brother’s death, while Kullervo portrays Finland’s mythical antihero. It’s vividly performed. © 2013 BBC Music Magazine

Michael Cookson
MusicWeb International, May 2013

These Madetoja scores are conducted with sharp insight and unfaltering authority. Under Storgårds’ baton the impeccably prepared Helsinki Philharmonic exhibit their commitment to the music. The playing glows with expressive force and a palpable sense of concentration.

The sound engineers have done a splendid job for Ondine reproducing clear and well balanced sonics. This is a well presented release… © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Roger Hecht
American Record Guide, May 2013

John Storgards’s big, powerful reading does a fine job of catching the ominous leadup to war and the war itself, as well as the romanticism and landscape painting that are built into this score. He uses a fair amount of rubato and exerts a strong pull on lines and textures without interfering with the flow. Textures are well blended, and save for the long oboe and horn solos in the second half of I, he sees this as a big orchestra piece that offers varying layers and colors to achieve a whole. Brass are firm and woodwinds have a fitting round sound. He and the excellent Helsinki Philharmonic supply plenty of weight to leave no doubt this is a war symphony and do so without being heavy. The performances also shifts gears nicely between the work’s various moods. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Guy Rickards
Gramophone, April 2013

Storgårds and the Helsinki Philharmonic play [Kullervo] for all its worth…The earliest music here is the ‘Elegy’…The Helsinki players deliver it with feeling…If you’re new to Madetoja this is a good place to start… © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Tom Huizenga
National Public Radio, February 2013

As a Finn, composing in the shadow of Jean Sibelius wasn’t easy for Leevi Madetoja. But he did manage to forge an individual sound, best heard in his nationalistic opera The Ostrobothnians and his symphonies. The Second Symphony moves from lyric to tragic. Pain roils in the third movement as Madetoja grieves the loss of his brother in the Finnish Civil War. This glowing new recording by the Helsinki Philharmonic also features Kullervo, Madetoja’s take on his country’s folk epic, the Kalevala. © National Public Radio

Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, February 2013

Why is this attractive Sibelian music so under-represented in the catalogue? Perhaps this powerful and colourful reading of Madetoja’s Second Symphony will remedy that regrettable situation. © 2013 Classical CD Choice

David Hurwitz, February 2013

Madetoja was a born symphonist. The very opening of the work features a motive that immediately begins to develop…moving from breezy calm in the strings to ominous foreboding in the winds. You can tell in the first thirty seconds that the composer has total control over his material, and where he wants to go with it.

…Kullervo…packs quite a punch. The Elegy (1909) is exactly what is claims to be: a gently sad, brief movement for string orchestra. It makes a touching encore.

The performances are just about perfect in all respects: totally idiomatic, committed, passionate, and immaculately played. There isn’t a dull second, and… exceptionally well recorded. © 2013 Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, January 2013

Storgards gives us performances carefully hewned and majestic.

The program includes the Second Symphony, plus his “Kullervo” and “Elegy”. It all fits together as a good introduction to [Madetoja’s] music.

…these are excellent performances. The repertoire adventurists out there will find something good here. © 2013 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review


The Helsinki Orchestra gives a fine performance under its chief conductor John Storgårds…It is an expertly fashioned symphony well worth the 41 minutes of listening time. © Limelight Magazine

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