The Organ

JOULUYÖ, JUHLAYÖ Christmas Carols

Christmas Carols
Soile Isokoski, soprano
YL Male Voice Choir
Pertti Eerola, organ
Aale Lindgrën, cor anglais
Matti Hyökki, conductor
Organ of St John's Church, Helsinki
ONDINE ODE 1088-2 CD 66m52s
Distributor: Harmonia Mundi

The soprano Soile Isokoski has made a great impression on the musical world in recent years. In this country she is perhaps best remembered for the Gramophone Award-winning Ondine recording of Richard Strauss' Four Last Songs, which she subsequently sang at the Proms, stunning audiences and listeners in a way not known since the likes of Elizabeth Schwarzkopf et al. Here she teams up with fellow countrymen Ylioppilaskunnan Laulajat (YL Male Voice Choir, for short) in an entertaining mix of Finnish carols that are both poignant and jubilant in equal measure. It is good to hear her voice, sounding as fresh as ever, singing beautifully in her own language carols that are just as engaging as their English counterparts. The YL are in fine form though a little unsettled in the Christmas Suite sung in English where individual voices from the throng are not necessarily the greatest; however, they do emit a certain individualism that is quite endearing – sometimes it is good to hear things a little rough around the edges and not to expect all to be perfect! The organ of St John's, Helsinki, where the recording took place, opens the programme prominently introducing the first carol Hoosiana – a fine instrument, indeed! This is a must for collectors of great singers and unusual repertoire, or want Christmas to be a little different this year.