- Audio CD (Oct 26 1992)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Bis
- ASIN: B0000016BV
|1. Lemminkainen And The Maidens Of The Island|
|2. The Swan Of Tuonela|
|3. Lemminkainen In Tuonela|
|4. Lemminkainen's Return|
**Lemminkäinen and the Maidens of Saari**: Lemminkäinen (the hero), sets out to seduce Kyllikki, a maiden of Saari Island. Instead he seduces the other maidens and kidnaps Kyllikki. Later he leaves her to seduce the maiden of Pohjola. He sings, and bewitches her people to leave the farm. Only a cowherd is immune to his spell. All of this makes the cowherd rather cross, (perhaps because all the folks on his farm have decamped?).
**Swan of Tuonela**: this is the one you might recognise. It's a very long epic, and I might be a bit out of sequence here, but in a nutshell, Lemminkäinen is trying to get the maiden's mum Louhi to agree to let him marry the maiden.
Unfortunately, Louhi has already promised her daughter to a smith in return for a sampo, which is a marvelllous gold making machine of some kind. Apparently daughters can be sold in return for goods in this (admittedly ancient and mythical) culture. Charming.
Louhi says that (among other things) he has to hunt and kill the swan in Tuonela River, in the land of the dead. The part where the swan floats serenely down the River of Death has beautiful cor anglais solos and plenty of string tremolo.
**Lemminkäinen in Tuonela**: This legend is full of haunting brass solos, shivery string sections and wierd woodwind passages. The cowherd, who's still enraged about the goings on at the farm, and has been following him all this time presumably, kills Lemminkäinen and throws his body (now in pieces... ewww) into the river. You'll be happy to know the Swan survives the episode.
The sun tells Lemminkäinen's mother where he is and what's happened, so she goes to the land of the dead to find him. She rakes up the pieces (once again, ewww). Next she brings him back to life by sewing him back together and saying some magic phrases.
**Lemminkäinen's Return**: as you might expect, this one depicts our hero's return to his homeland, and is full of 'journeying' passages over land and sea.
This recording is the best one I've heard, the orchestra is full with a luscious sound, the tone colours varied, solos excellent and the performance riveting.
The only thing stopping me from giving it five stars is that I like other Sibelius pieces better.