Ylistaron kirkon urut - The Organ of Ylistaro Church
Classical - Instrumental
"Ylistaron kirkon urut - The Organ of Ylistaro Church"
Kalevi Kiviniemi (organ)
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2. Oskar Lindberg: Vanha virsi Taalainmaalta/Old chorale tune from Dalecarlia
3. Bengt Granstam: Vanha virsi Leksandista/Old chorale tune from Leksand
4. Hugo Alfvén: Elegi/Elegy, Op. 49
5. William B. Bradbury: Saviour, like a Shepherd lead us
6. Alexander Ewing: Jerusalem, the Golden
7. Felice de Giardini: Come, Thou almighty King
8. Alexandre Guilmant: Lamento, Op. 90/4
9. Kalevi Kiviniemi: Urkukoraali ”Ystävä sä lapsien”/Chorale prelude on a Swedish chorale melody
10. Johann Sebastian Bach: Päätöskuoro Matteuspassiosta/Closing Chorus
from St. Matthew Passion
11-19. Marcel Dupré: Kokoelmasta 79 Chorals/Chorale Preludes from 79 Chorals, Op. 28
20. Kalevi Kiviniemi: Ylistaro-runoelma (virsi 103, toisinto Ylistarosta)/Poem on a chorale melody from Ylistaro
Review by John Miller - July 28, 2012
Finland has a rich supply of interesting churches, and within them, many interesting and important organs. Fuga's growing inventory of organ recordings allows a wider range of International ears to savour these instruments. Ylistaro is a modestly-sized town in south Ostrobothnia, and its church tower can easily be seen from afar, for it is a remarkable 52m in height. This is the third church on the site, as the locals have been very enthusiastic about church-building since the seventeenth century, as noted in the booklet's text on the church's history.
The present church was Ylistaro's first in stone (by order of the Tsar during the Russian occupation of Finland), and it was completed and consecrated in 1852. Each farmstead contributed, and the large granite/brick structure has a double gallery above the side aisles, making a complex but acoustically fine space for its organ to speak into. Indeed, the organ is one of the largest in Finland suiting the 'size matters' philosophy of the parishioners.
The current organ dates to 1952 (the Centennial of the church) and has a very typical simple design from that period. Built into a large alcove at the rear of the church, it has a strikingly simple façade, not a traditional case but in arrays of free-standing pipes. There are 54 stops (detailed in the booklet) and a four-manual console which is situated on the organ balcony, conveniently facing into the nave. The organ is a traditional North-German style, but has plenty of versatility to cope with a range of musical styles. For example, it boasts 13 stops in the Pedal division, from 32' untersatz to a 2' cornet. There is an amusing photo of Kiviniemi posed next to the gaping mouth of one of the wooden 32' pipes! A celeste register was donated by Finns from the region now living in America, but it did not arrive in time for the inauguration at the Centennial and was installed a year later.
This recording was made in multichannel 5.0 in 2002, the 150th anniversary of the church, but at the time there was no carrier available for this (and 24 bit sampling), at that time in Finland. It was released on SACD in a religious summer festival in Isokyrö, the neighbouring town to Ylistaro, on 6th of July 2012. Sonically it is superb, and really needs the multichannel mode to fully appreciate such a realistic picture of the synergy of building and organ. Low bass articulation is tight and impressive, not merely cavernous rumbles but fully musical, carrying a series of textural layers right up to the fiery mixtures.
Kalevi Kiviniemi is one of Finland's most visible and much-recorded organists, and is particularly interested in making SA-CD discs. His programme here eschews great virtuosity, but he has based it mostly on the various forms in which chorale tunes are used by organists. In particular, he chose some tunes which originate in the area, and arranged them in an extempore way. Each piece shows off particular characteristics of the organ, be they quietly contemplative or brilliant and extrovert. Kiviniemi is a specialist in the French Romantic Organ school, and here he introduces a selected nine pieces from Dupré's 79 Chorales, Op. 28. Apart from appearing in the several recorded surveys of the composer's complete works, Dupré's chorales are rarely recorded. Written as teaching pieces for students to prime them for the greater difficulties of the Bach Chorale Preludes, they are model miniatures in their own right, played with great skill and beautifully nuanced expressiveness by Kiviniemi.
While no doubt this issue will mostly appeal to a domestic Finnish market, this is an absorbing and enjoyable programme, captured with stunning realism. Organ enthusiasts should certain seek it out - and organists themselves might find some very attractive items to brighten up their own programmes. As a bonus, you get many excellent colour photographs which place the church and organ in their contexts, and reveal the austere beauty of the inside of the building, which gives a visual aid to match with the sonic contents of the SA-CD.
Copyright © 2012 John Miller and HRAudio.net