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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 3, 2012 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica - Hi-Res Audio
The lustrous voice of Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski graces the work of Richard Strauss on this album of his lieder. Isokoski is accompanied by Marita Viitasalo, her longtime accompanist who is a fine match. Isokoski's voice is full yet clean and cool; there is a crispness to her resonance. Her diction is always clear, as is exemplified in "Gute Morgen"; German is a natural match for her (though she does not pronounce her ending Es as a schwa, as is more commonly done). "Allerseelen" begins with a tender piano introduction, and one senses the directness of the soprano's intentions. This piece, as well as others like "Ständchen," reveals a need for more legato, for her delivery is slightly clipped. It is the vocal equivalent of hearing the piano play without the echo pedal. However, this could be the result of the recording quality, which does not have a lot of reverb. "Die Nacht" demonstrates Isokoski's connection to the text and emotions and shows off the subtlety of her phrasing. The same could be said for "Meinem Kinde," where one truly believes in the tenderness of a mother singing to her child. Isokoski's style is free of much scooping or ornamentation (as in "Zueignung"), but she gets to the core of the music: she seems to be singing from the heart. Many of these lieder are a perfect match for her tessitura, like "Die Georgine" and "Cäcilie," which sit so well in her voice, even though one can hear Isokoski's high notes thin out. The piano is understated but equally clean and elegant, or, when necessary, greatly playful as in "Guten Morgen…." Isokoski's interpretation of "Mein Herz ist stumm" is pure and beautiful, like glacier water, and her high voice here is truly lovely. The vocal control of "Befreit" is also noteworthy, and Isokoski's technique is absolutely solid. There are moments when hints of fire emerge, such as in "All mein' Gedanken" or "Die Georgine," an impassioned fire, and one cannot help but wish that Isokoski would push the emotional envelope more and explore those possibilities. Isokoski's interpretations on this album are, generally speaking, tasteful yet not novel. But good taste is often underestimated, and Isokoski is an artist of understatement and grace. © TiVo
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released August 14, 2015 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 1, 2002 | Ondine

Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
In this collection of orchestral songs by Richard Strauss, including the Four Last Songs, Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski demonstrates that this is obviously repertoire in which she is fully at ease and which is ideally suited to her voice. Strauss demands a nuanced command of a broad range of vocal colors and weights, and Isokoski shows an idiomatic mastery of his style. She has the suppleness and lightness to make "Säusle, liebe Myrte" really sparkle, and she brings a rich warmth to "September" and "Im Abendrot." And she can radiantly soar over the orchestra in "Befreit," and in all the Four Last Songs. Isokoski's voice doesn't have the natural luminosity or openness to put this in the very top ranks of recordings of these songs, but hers is a very fine performance; it should delight her fans and also be of interest to listeners who love the songs and who savor hearing a variety of interpretations. Marek Janowski leads Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin in a rhythmically supple performance, although the strings don't have the richness of the most acclaimed orchestras. He doesn't fully capture the twilight glow of the Four Last Songs, and the ending of "Im Abendrot" comes across as flaccid rather than evocative. The sound of Ondine's 2001 recording is warm and nicely ambient, but it tends to slightly favor the orchestra, so that Isokoski doesn't always shine with the brightness of which she is clearly capable. © TiVo
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 4, 2012 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released October 22, 2007 | WEA

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 1, 2006 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet
Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski's first recording was a lovely and intimate recital of Finnish songs with pianist Marita Viitasalo. Her second recording was much more ambitious -- a full disc of Strauss' orchestral songs closing with the Vier letzte Lieder accompanied by Marek Janowski leading the Berliner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester -- and much more successful -- it won a Gramophone award in 2002. After that, Isokoski released superb discs of Mozart arias and Wolf lieder along with heartfelt recitals of hymns in Finnish and Finnish sacred songs. Finally, in 2006, she released a disc of the music she was born and trained to sing: Luonnotar and other orchestral songs by the greatest Finnish composer of all time: Jean Sibelius. It is a wholly magnificent achievement. Isokoski has a pure soprano voice with seemingly no upper edge and apparently no technical limit -- even in Luonnotar, her voice soars effortlessly over the orchestral accompaniement of Leif Segerstam and the Helsinki Philharmonic. If this disc has a catch, it's that not all the orchestrations are by Sibelius; some were done by other hands, including those of Jussi Jalas, his conducting son-in-law. The non-Sibelius orchestrations are quite lush, lusher perhaps than Sibelius himself would have done, but with touches -- woodwinds in thirds against high harp arpeggios, for example -- the master would have recognized as his own. Do the non-Sibelius orchestrated songs sound like Sibelius? No, not quite. They sound more romantic and even more sensual. Still, with the awesome beauty of Isokoski's performances along with the deft nuances of Segerstam and the Helsinki's accompaniments, this disc is never less than completely convincing. Ondine's super audio sound is thoroughly transparent -- nothing exists except the music. © TiVo
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 1, 2002 | Ondine

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 1, 2004 | Ondine

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Soile Isokoski's 2002 album of orchestral songs by Richard Strauss marked her as a singer of compact vocal splendor and interpretive spark, and her growing international career in the 2000s indicated that those same qualities were as vivid in live performance as on recording. All of which makes the strange flatness of this Mozart aria collection puzzling. Isokoski has the vocal and musical chops to put a lively stamp on every one of these excerpts, but you'd never know it if this were your only exposure to her work. From a purely vocal standpoint, it's fine -- only the chesty low notes of Fiordiligi's "Come scoglio" seem to push her outside her comfortable envelope. But there is a lack of engagement with the texts and dramatic situations that robs most every selection of its vitality. Peter Schreier's tidy but low-key musical direction could use the occasional shot of Tabasco, but in most cases it's just a case of flat vocal delivery. The above-mentioned "Come scoglio" sounds friendly, even accommodating -- hardly like the defiant rejection it's meant to be. "E susanna non vien!" from the Marriage of Figaro does not sound like the musings of a noblewoman in crisis, forced to accept a servant's help in saving her marriage. Someone vaguely sad, maybe, but certainly not pushed outside the usual social and emotional bounds of her life. "Ruhe sanft," from Zaide, is much more successful, benefitting from the purity and simplicity, not to mention the crystalline upper register, of Isokoski's singing. And the concert aria "Ah, lo previdi" has exactly the engagement with text and drama that the rest of the album is missing; the impassioned first line hooks you right away and the momentum never dies. If only the whole album were so interesting. © TiVo
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 1, 2003 | Ondine

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Classical - Released December 9, 2014 | Ondine

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Classical - Released December 30, 2016 | naïve classique

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 29, 2009 | Ondine

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Opera - Released November 30, 2003 | BIS

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Classical - Released March 21, 2014 | Fazer Records - Finlandia

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Classical - Released November 15, 2006 | Fazer Records - Finlandia

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 1, 2007 | Ondine

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 1, 2005 | Ondine

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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released January 1, 1998 | Ondine