This CD is a reissue at mid price -- I am repeating my original review below.
Sibelius wasn't proud in later years of his first great success, the semi-oratorio Kullervo. It made his name as a champion of Finnish clture, based as it is on the national epic Kalevala. The hero Kullervo has a grim story involving a murder and suicide prompted by guilt, but Sibelius's music isn't especially epic or dramatic. He was still finding his voice as a mature composer, and this work sprawls, its idiom becoming more diffuse as it goes along.
Despite its weaknesses, Kullervo has garnered more than its fair share of recent recordings. Colin Davis has been a champion of the work, and his recent live reading with the LSO is good, if a mite tame at times; his tempos are among the fastest, however. To date I've preferred the version from Osmo Vanska, whose Sibleius is rightly acclaimed. But this one from Paavo Jarvi is better recorded and has marginally more impact. The Swedish male chorus is quite excellent and is placed so that words are clearly understood. The soloists, particularly Peter Mattei, are another strength. In one respect Jarvi is quite daring, in that he takes a full five minutes more than usual in the finale, "Kullervo's Death," but I find the effect haunting and mysterious. Elsewhere, there's plenty of vigor and incisiveness.
In all, I think this CD deserves five stars, but for me Kullervo still awaits the fiery performance that will bring it fully to life.