Disappointing Nordic Collection

Sibelius left feeling slightly out of context.

Composer: Sibelius Repertoire: Songs, Volume 2
Artists: Hanna Jurmu (tenor), Jouni Sumero (piano)
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Vocal
Label: Naxos 8.570019

Sibelius composed numerous songs throughout his life and they cover all his typical Nordic stamping-grounds: craggy Finnish mythology, sophisticated Swedish verse, folksong-like ballads and arrangements of works in other genres, such as the Finlandia Hymn which begins this likeably varied selection. Jurmu’s handsome voice sounds more baritone than tenor and is not always comfortable when it opens out; but it’s flexible also, with lovely soft tone, and Sumero is a fine accompanist. No texts are included, which, with Finnish and Swedish songs as little-known as these, is unreasonable, and effectively reduces the work of both artists to wallpaper.