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Mäntyjärvi - Choral Music - Rondo Classic

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Jaakko Mäntyjärvi (b. 1963) is probably currently Finland’s internationally most successful composer of choral music, and his Trinity Service, commissioned by the distinguished Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, forms the core of this new disc focusing on his sacred music. Mäntyjärvi draws extensively on the traditions of Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant sacred music, reflecting influences on the genre from the Middle Ages to Stravinsky. The Trinity Service was written for use in an Evensong service, complete with liturgical responses, which brings a slightly uncomfortable sense of a church service on radio to the listening experience. Individual movements in the piece, however, such as the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ and ‘Nunc dimittis’, are well crafted and splendid to hear.

The other major item and artistic high point is the Stuttgarter Psalmen triptych, which sets itself apart from the more subdued smaller pieces surrounding it with its darker tone and more extensive palette of compositional resources. The piercing despair and quirky harmonies prompted by the psalms are reminiscent of both [Erik] Bergman and [Einojuhani] Rautavaara. The final track, O magnum mysterium, avoids the saccharine excesses of contemporary choral hits and sustains a mystical feeling with a melodic line resting on a bed of thick, sonorous harmony. The choir is of the very finest quality throughout the disc.

Santeri Kaipiainen

Mäntyjärvi - Choral Music
Hyperion Records CDA68266