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There’s something instantly appealing about a set of ‘rarities’. You’re unlikely to have umpteen recordings of them already on the shelf. These are also mostly miniatures, only one of them over the three minute mark and most under two, as sweet-sour and unexpected as a cloudberry eaten in the field. Most of this material was written before the Russification of the Grand Duchy in the later years of the 19th century and prior to independence. There’s no overt nationalism on show, just an inward-looking confidence and totally unaffected singing by the excellent Helsinki Chamber Choir. Obscure the provenances (some of them) may be, but this is a recording that bursts with charm, and perfectly pitched at under an hour.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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