Karita Mattila
Helsinki Recital

Karita Mattila, soprano
Martin Katz, piano

Finnish contemporary


Hybrid SACD (recorded in DXD; SACD Surround 5.0 / SACD Stereo / CD Stereo - playable on all SACD and CD players); booklet with liner notes in English, German, French, and Finnish and the song lyrics in the original language and in English


April 2007 (Finland)
June 2007 (internationally)

Catalogue No.:
ODE 1100-5


Track listing

Disc 76:38
1 Applause 0:15
Henri Duparc (1848-1933)
2 L'Invitation au voyage 4:27
3 Romance de Mignon 4:11
4 Au pays oů se fait la guerre 5:35
5 Chanson triste 3:30
6 Phydilé 6:03
Kaija Saariaho (1952-)
Quatre instants (2002)
7 Attente (Longing) 5:10
8 Douleur (Torment) 6:07
9 Parfum de l'instant (Perfume of the instant) 3:41
10 Résonances (Echoes) 7:01
Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
11 Ne poi, krasavitsa, Op. 4/4 4:40
12 Sumerki, Op. 21/3 2:06
13 Otrďvok iz A. Myusse, Op. 21/6 2:00
14 Muza, Op. 34/1 4:10
15 Kakoje stšastje, Op. 34/12 2:22
Antonín Dvorák (1841-1904)
Cigánské melodie (Gipsy Songs), Op. 55
16 Má píseň zas mi láskou zní ( I chant my lay, a hymn of love) 2:44
17 Aj! Kterak trojhranec můj (Hark, how my triangle) 1:19
18 A les je tichý kolem kol (Silent and lone the woods around) 3:12
19 Struna naladěna (Tune the strings, oh gipsy) 1:19
20 Široké rukávy a široké gatě (In his wide and ample, airy linen vesture) 1:32
21 Když mne stará matka (Songs my mother taught me) 2:46
22 Dejte klec jestřábu (Cloudy heights of Tatra) 2:25

Also recommended...


BBC Music Magazine 'Choice'
Gramophone 'Editor's Choice'
Pizzicato 'Supersonic Award' 'Empfehlung'

Press review

Mattila is performing Rachmaninov's Kakoje stsastje with such overwhelming intensity and physical play that one almost worries about her wellbeing. (...) sublime quality of this live-recording which follows such high standards that each single nuance and colour of the voice is captured with meticulous precision and ideally balanced with the piano sound.
Christiane Bayer,, July 11, 2006, Recommended*****

(...) one of the most interesting, exciting sopranos in the world today. (...) Nothing but praise for the soprano (...) or for her accompanist (Katz is a real listener to what his singer does).
Mike Ashman, Gramophone, August 2007, Editor's Choice

Recorded live last year, this disc captures the experience of seeing Karita Mattila in recital - glamorous, all-embracing, a personality one size bigger than most. (...) Best of all is the highly expressive Quatre Instants by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, dedicated to Mattila and showing how the singer is prepared to extend her range into new music to quite stunning effect.
Richard Fairman, The Financial Times, July 14/15, 2007

This typically adventurous 2006 Helsinki recital (...) catches her at her glorious peak. (...) No wonder the Helsinki audience went berserk.
Richard Wigmore, The Daily Telegraph, June 23, 2007, Classical CD of the Week

The many admirers of Karita Mattila will welcome this spectacular souvenir of her live shows. (...) The extremism of style and content and the explosive eroticism (in Quatre Instants) are tailor-made for Mattila. Ondine's superb multi-channel recording faithfully projects the larger-than-life effect.
David Gutman, International Record Review, June 2007

Emotional Finnish (...) One of Karita Mattila's most exciting discs yet. (..) The repertoire takes Mattila's voice into thrilling new regions; and Martin Katz's piano is the voice's equal at every turn. (...) Mattila giving her immense all (...)
Hilary Finch, BBC Music Magazine, July 2007, Choral and Song Choice

Ondine says the audience was 'electrified'; but it seems to have survived this thrilling live recital in Helsinki by Finnish soprano Karita Mattila, who needs no electronic assistance to strut her supremely stylish stuff. (...) Mattila confirms her pre-eminence.
Anthony Holden, The Observer, May 20, 2007

The (Kaija Saariaho) songs push Mattila to her expressive limits as cries of rapture curdle into shrieks of pain and spasms of rage intrude on erotic memories. Its impact on the audience can be gauged from the near hysteria that erupts at the end. (...) Her accompanist, Martin Katz, deals superbly with some of the most fearsomely difficult piano writing in the entire song repertoire.
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, May 11, 2007

The Finnish soprano Karita Mattila gives a knockout, atmospheric live Helsinki recital with the pianist Martin Katz. The Duparc selection lulls you initially into repose. Then Saariaho snaps the mood with her marvellous 2003 cycle Quatre Instants, music of volcanic force. Mattila’s histrionics peak in the six Rachmaninov songs; yet she’s always appropriate. Temperatures simmer down with Dvorák, though this singer never touches zero.
Geoff Brown, The Times, May 4, 2007

Mattila is probably at her best when she is recording live. (...) This new Ondine CD ranks at the very top of her entire discography. (...) Mattila has performed this programme together with Martin Katz so frequently that her polished interpretation demonstrates an accomplished maturity.
Harri Kuusisari, Rondo-Classica, May 2007, Recording of the Month

Complete description

This hybrid SACD contains a rare recital performance of star soprano Karita Mattila in her native Finland. In front of an electrified audience, the best-selling Finnish artist in classical music performed in sold-out concerts at the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki in October 2006 ("What an evening, what a show!" - Helsingin Sanomat)

The centerpiece of the featured programme is the ecstatic song cycle Quatre Instants (Four instants), a musical setting by Karita Mattila's compatriote Kaija Saariaho of poetry by noted French writer Amin Maalouf. Described as "a quasi-operatic monologue that plunges into the erotic, extreme territory that Mattila conveys so well", Quatre Instants was written for Mattila in 2002 and premièred by her in Paris and London to international acclaim ("A sensational recital by a sensational artist" - The Guardian/UK). This recording represents the first commercial release of this piece.

The programme also includes familiar songs by composers of the late Romantic period, Henri Duparc and Sergei Rachmaninov. Another highlight is the popular song cycle Gypsy Melodies by Antonin Dvorák.

Described by Musical America as "the most electrifying singing actress of our day, the kind of performer who renews an aging art form and drives the public into frenzies" upon receiving the prestigious "Musician of the Year" award in 2005, Karita Mattila is one of today's most exciting lyric dramatic sopranos.

Karita Mattila is accompanied on piano by Martin Katz, dubbed "dean of accompanists" by The Los Angeles Times, and in 1998 recipient of Musical America's "Accompanist of the Year" award.