Helsingin kamarikuoro, Jan Lehtola, Nils Schweckendiek, conductor.
Riemuitkaamme! is an imaginative and unconventional selection of choral music associated with Christmas as it is celebrated in Finland. Several of the pieces are by Finnish composers – Sibelius, Rautavaara and Madetoja, to name a few – while others have become part of the Christmas traditions of the country despite their international background. Among these Berlioz’ The Shepherds’ Farewell and Tchaikovsky’s Christ, when a Child… are quite late additions compared to the medieval hymns Puer natus in Bethlehem, Ecce novum gaudium and Angelus emittitur. All three of these were included in the collection Piae cantiones from 1582, the oldest Finnish music publication. Here, they are performed in settings by various composers from different countries and eras – forming a kind of soundtrack of Christmases past and present, distant and close. Contemporary music forms an important part of the activities of the Helsinki Chamber Choir and Nils Schweckendiek, and true to form, the team includes a world premiere recording in their celebrations: Aattoilta, by the Canadian-born composer Matthew Whittall.