This new Alba record has something special to offer: the young, rising pianist Janne Oksanen performs the Complete Piano Works of Toivo Kuula on his debut album. His playing on this record is powerful, rich and colourful thus shedding light to these rare piano gems and giving them the interpretation they deserve. The album includes Kuula’s best known pieces like ”The Wedding March”, ”La Folia” and ”Fairytale Pictures” as well as many rare pieces.
To this day Toivo Kuula (1883-1918) stands as one of the most significant Finnish composers. His music is poetic, epic and deep and it showcases a very sophisticated musical taste and tonal language. In his lifetime he was hailed as Finland’s finest composer after Sibelius. Kuula’s music has been said to entail rare power and raw energy, which exposes the listener for self-reflection. As a whole these 20 pieces portray a versatile palette of different stages of Kuula the composer. Included are unforgettable melodies, heartbreaking stories and top-class pianism.
Oksanen (b. 1994) talks about the recording: ”The album manifested itself as a result of a snowball-effect. Initially I was supposed to play Kuula’s Piano Works only once at Sibafest 2018. The show raised a lot of interest and I ended playing it in 7-8 cities. I received so much positive feedback from these concerts that I understood there was need for a record: it was almost inevitable to do it just for the sake of cultural service.”
Record release concert at Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki September 19th will begin the Kuula: The Piano Works -tour, which takes Oksanen to perform in over 30 cities around Finland.
In addition to the detailed program notes by Oksanen, the booklet includes a special treat: commentary by Kuula’s grandson, Markku Marttinen. Marttinen: ”Janne’s concert brought me back to my childhood, for once again the lovely, familiar pieces were played. There may not be a greater gift to the friends of Finnish music than to have these performances on a recording now as well.”