Finnish and Baltic Symphonies

From The 19th Century To The Present
A Discography of CDs and LPs
Prepared by Michael Herman
Maintained by Stephen Ellis

Jean SibeliusOther Composers

The symphonies of Finland and the three Baltic Republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are grouped together in this discography as both a matter of convenience and as a result of cultural affinity. The latter is especially pertinent when it comes to Finland and Estonia whose languages are closely related. In fact, during the Soviet period, Estonia was quite open to outside influences as Finnish Radio and Television broadcast across the Gulf of Finland could be picked up and readily understood by the the Estonians across the water. In the other direction, Estonia, despite a complete lihguistic non-affinity with the other two, shares a common history with Latvia and Lithuania encompassing a 20 year period of independence after the Russian Revolution followed by the dark years of Soviet oppression and the triumphal reemergence of independence when the Soviet Union collapsed. In addition, all 4 countries were part of the Russian Empire during the 19th century.

The composers included in this discography are those born in or who came to live in these 4 countries and wrote symphonies from the beginning of the 19th century to the present that have been recorded. It will be noticed that several composers have more than one country listed in the heading for his or her entry. This reflects the fluidity often seen in the music world where some leave a smaller place in order to create in a larger artistic milieu while others go in the opposite direction often to seek refuge in a less turbulent environment. Unlike some the previous discographies in this series, an alphabetical arrangement is utilized here because we are dealing with composers of different nationalities and the idea of educational continuity is less meaningful. A single alphabet is used for the all the composers from the various nations and a composer index is placed first so the reader can immediately go via links to any particular composer.

As in the previous discographies in this series, no attempt has been made to list every release of every recording of each work. There have just been too many reissues, especially from the major labels, to make this feasible for many recordings. Instead, what are listed are the most current issue the author has located and the earliest release (if any on LP or CD) of that particular recording. In general, multi-disc compendium releases are omitted unless they contain a unique recording or the sole modern reissue of a previously released performance.

The entry for each composer consists of two sections. First there is a compact biographical paragraph that notes some essential information such as place of birth, higher musical education (including schools and prominent teachers), subsequent musical careers in addition to composing, details of other symphonies that have not been recorded and selective lists of other works for orchestra. Compositional styles are not discussed in these paragraphs and readers are referred to the bibliography where various reference books that cover this subject are listed. The second part of each composer entry consists of lists of his or her symphonies that have been recorded and the various recordings of each work. Symphony is defined here as any work the composer has designated as such in its title including works called “sinfonia” or “sinfonietta.” The works can be for full orchestra, chamber orchestra, strings, winds, brass or chorus and orchestra. For every symphony that has them, the opus number, key signature and title are noted and the year of composition is stated for all. The entries of the symphonies that have had multiple recordings are listed alphabetically by the conductor’s name. Each listing of a recording consists of the following components (if known): (1) Performers (in this order if all are involved – conductor, soloists, choral group, orchestra), (2) Other works on the recording. (3) Label and catalogue number and year of issue and (4) If the recording is a reissue, the original LP or CD release and its year of issue. Please note that the performers listed are for the entry work and not necessarily for the works that it is coupled with. Also, in most instances when an entry work is included in a large collection (especially if most of the other works are not related to the discography’s subject) the list of couplings is not given but replaced by the title of the collection.

The Symphony was late in coming to Finland and the three Baltic States although none of these countries was particularly isolated from the more general European culture. Finland had been under Swedish control since the Middle Ages before being annexed to the Russian Empire after the Napoleonic Wars. Estonia and Latvia had been under German as well as Scandinavian cultural influence from the time that both Riga and Tallinn (originally Revel) had been members of the Hanseatic League wheras Lithuania had once been merged with Poland in a vast empire that stretched from the Baltic to the the Black Seas. However,, culture was in the hands of the ruling powers so music was basically the province of foreigners. The rise of political nationalism in th late 19th century, particularly in Finland, started bringing native musicians into greater prominence and by the first decades of the 20th century the entire region had entered the musical mainstream with flourishing conservatories, orchestras amd, above all, composers turning out significant compositions. Finland would produce in Jean Sibelius a composer who stands head and shoulders with any of the world’s greatest practicioners of the symphonic art and, in our own time, important symphonists like Joonas Kokkonen, Aulis Sallinen and Einojuhani Rautavaara. While the Baltic States have not as yet produced a symphonist of worldwide standing (Latvia’s Janis Ivanovs and Estonia’s Eduard Tubin coming closest), the works of Estonia’s Arvo Pärt and Latvia’s Peteris Vasks (though not their Symphonies) have begun to put their countries’ music onto a more international stage. Therefore.the work that follows reflects this dichotomy as more than half the listings of recordings are the works of just one composer while the remainder document the symphonic output of a number of composers whose name recognitions range from the somewhat known to the totally obscure.

The list below is a brief “wish to hear” list of such works by composers whose symphonies are thus far totally unrecorded:

Erkki Aaltonen (1910-1990), Finland: 5 Symphonies
Els Aarne (1917-1995), Estonia: 2 Symphonies
Evald Aav (1900-1939), Estonia: Symphony in D
Juhan Aavik (1884-1982), Estonia, 2 Symphonies
Pauls Dambis (b. 1936), Latvia: Symphony
Erik Furuhjelm (1883-1964), Finland: 2 Symphonies
Konstantinas Galkauskas (1875-1963), Lithuania: Symphony “Moscow”.
Edmunds Goldšteins, (1927- 2008), Latvia: 3 Symphonies
Benjaminas Gorbulskis (1925-1986), Lithuania: 2 Symphonies
Romualds Grinblats (1930 – 1995), Latvia: 5 Symphonies
Lauri Ikonen (1888-1966), Finland: 6 Symphonies
Heimar Ilves (1914-2002), Estonia: 6 Symphonies
Juozas Indra (1918-1968), Lithuania: Symphony “City of Ruins”
Romualds Jermaks (b.1931), Latvia: 2 Symphonies
Vytautas Juozapaitis (b.1936), Lithuania: 5 Symphonies
Juozas Karosas (1890-1981), Lithuania: 2 Symphonies
Felix Krohn (1898-1963), Finland: Sinfonia Brevis
Mati Kuulberg (1947-2001), Estonia: 5 Symphonies
Helvi Leiviska (1902-1982), Finland: 2 Symphonies
Eino Linnala (1896-1973), Finland: 2 Symphonies
Ernst Linko (1889-1960), Finland: Symphonie Chevaleresque
Eduard Oja (1905-1950), Estonia: Symphony No. 1, D-minor
Juozas Pakalnis (1912-1948), Lithuania: 2 Symphonies
Väinö Pesola (1886-1966), Finland: 3 Symphonies
Ernest Pingoud (1887-1948), Russia/Finland: 3 Symphonies
Tauno Pylkkänen (1918-1980), Finland: Symphony No. 1, Sinfonietta
Väinö Raitio (1891-1945), Finland: Symphony, Op. 13
Sulho Ranta (1901-1960), Finland: 4 Symphonies
Kuldar Sink (1942-1995), Estonia: 2 Chamber Symphonies
Bengt von Torne (1891-1967), Finland: 6 Symphonies
Janis Vitolinš (1886-1955), Latvia: Symphony
Jazeps Vitols (1863-1948), Latvia: Symphony in E minor

I have received a lot of help in preparing this work. As in my previous Discographies, Rob Barnett of MusicWeb helped eliminate a lot of errors by proofreading the entire work. I am very grateful to him as well as to MusicWeb’s webmaster Len Mullenger who has kindly hosted and helped me prepare my Discographies for the website and has patiently instructed me on the use of a software program that has made it easier for me get my work ready for the internet. For this particular Discography, I am grateful to my Swedish friend Stig Jacobsson who looked over all the CD and LP listings and let me know about a number of recordings that I had overlooked. If that name looks familiar you will have recognized it from the brilliant notes he has written over the years for hundreds of Scandinavian LPs and CDs as well as books and articles about Scandinavian composers. I would also like to thank Dave Canfield, Martin Anderson and Dirk Meijer.

Composer List

AHO, KALEVI (b. 1949) Finland
BACEVIČIUS, VYTAUTAS (1905-1970) Lithuania
BAGDONAS, VALENTINAS (1929-2009) Lithuania
BAJORAS, FELIKSAS (b. 1934) Lithuania
BALAKAUSKAS, OSVALDAS (b. 1937) Lithuania
BALSYS, EDUARDAS (1919-1984) Lithuania
BARISONS, PETERIS (1904-1947) Latvia
BARKAUSKAS, VITAUTAS (b. 1931) Lithuania
BAŠINSKAS, JUSTINAS (1923-2003) Lithuania
BRUK, FRIDRICH (b. 1937) (Russia)/Finland
DUBRA, RIHARDS (b.1964, Latvia)
DVARIONAS, BALYS (1904-1972) Lithuania
DZENITIS. ANDRIS (b. 1979) Latvia
ELLER, HEINO (1887-1970) Estonia
ENGLUND, EINAR (1916-1999) Finland
GRINUPS, ARTURS (1931-1989) Latvia
HAKOLA, KIMMO (b.1958) Finland
HÄMEENNIEMI, EERO (b. 1951) Finland
HEININEN, PAAVO (b. 1938) Finland
HEINIO, MIKKO (b. 1948) Finland
IVANOVS, JANIS (1906-1983) Latvia
JUOZAPAITIS, JURGIS (b. 1942) Lithuania
JURISALU, HEINO (1930-1991) Estonia
JUZELIUNAS, JULIUS (1916-2001) Lithuania
KAIPAINEN, JOUNI (1956-2015) Finland
KAJANUS, ROBERT (1856-1933) Finland
KALNINŠ, IMANTS (b. 1941) Latvia
KALNINŠ, JANIS (1904-2000) Latvia > Canada
KALSONS, ROMUALDS (b. 1938) Latvia
KANGRO, RAIMO (1949-2001) Estonia
KAPP, ARTUR (1878-1952) Estonia
KAPP, EUGEN (1908-1996) Estonia
KAPP, VILLEM (1913-1964) Estonia
KASKI, HEINO (1885-1957) Finland
KARJALAINEN, AHTI (1907-1986) Finland
ĶENIŅŠ, TĀLIVALDIS (1919-2008) Latvia > Canada
KEPITIS, JANIS (1908-1990) Latvia
KLAMI, UUNO (1909-1961) Finland
KLENICKIS, ABELIS (1904-1990) Lithuania
KOHA, JAAN (1929-1993) Estonia
KOKKONEN, JOONAS (1921-1996) Finland
KUUSISTO, ILKKA (b. 1933) Finland
KYLLÖNEN, TIMO-JUHANI (b. 1955) Finland
LAURUŠAS, VYTAUTAS (b. 1930) Lithuania
LEIVISKÄ, HELVI (1902-1982) Finland
LEMBA, ARTUR (1885-1963) Estonia
MADETOJA, LEEVI (1887-1947) Finland
MÄGI, ESTER (b. 1922) Estonia
MALCYS, ARVYDAS (b. 1957) Lithuania
MARTINAITIS, ALGARDAS (b. 1950) Lithuania
MARTTINEN, TAUNO (1912-2008) Finland
MEDINŠ, JAZEPS (1890-1966) Latvia
MELARTIN, ERKKI (1875-1937) Finland
MERIKANTO, AARRE (1893-1958) Finland
MERILÄINEN, USKO (1930-2004) Finland
MIELCK, ERNST (1877-1899) Finland
NARBUTAITĖ, ONUTĖ (b. 1956) Lithuania
NORDGREN, PEHR HENRIK (1944-2008) Finland
PARSADANYAN, BORIS (1925-1997) (Russia)/Estonia
PÄRT, ARVO (b. 1935) Estonia /(Germany)
POHJOLA, SEPPO (b. 1965) Finland
RÄÄTS, JAAN (1932-) Estonia
RACIUNAS, ANTANAS (1905-1984) Lithuania
RAID, KALJO (1921-2005) Estonia /(USA/Canada)
RAMANS, GEDERTS (1927-1999) Latvia
RAUTAVAARA, EINOJUHANI (1928-2016) Finland
REIMANN, VILLEM (1906-1992) Estonia
REKAŠIUS, ANTANAS (1928-2003) Lithuania
ROSENVALD, HELMUT (b. 1929) Estonia
RYDMAN, KARI (b. 1936) Finland
SALLINEN, AULIS (b. 1935) Finland
SALMENHAARA, ERKKI (1941-2002) Finland
SEGERSTAM, LEIF (b. 1944) Finland
ŠENDEROVAS, ANATOLIJUS (b. 1945) Lithuania
ŠERKŠNYTĖ, RAMINTA (b. 1975) Lithuania
SIBELIUS, JEAN (1865-1957) Finland
ŠIRVINSKAS, JUOZAS (b. 1943) Lithuania
SKULTE, ADOLFS (1909-2000) Latvia
SUMERA, LEPO (1950-2000) Estonia
SUOLAHTI, HEIKKI (1920-1936) Finland
TAMBERG, EINO (1930-2010) Estonia
TUBIN, EDUARD (1905-1982) Estonia /(Sweden)
TUUKKANEN, KALERVO (1909-1979) Finland
TÜÜR, ERKKI-SVEN (b. 1959) Estonia
VÄHI, PEETER (b. 1955) Estonia
VAINIUNAS, STASIS (1909-1982) Lithuania
VASKS, PËTERIS (b. 1946) Latvia
VUORI, HARRI (b. 1957) Finland