These days, there are many rediscovered voices clamouring for attention, but our March Recording of the Month is the real deal. Helvi Leiviskä (1902–1982) studied composition at the Helsinki Music Institute (later the Sibelius Academy) under Erkki Melartin. In 1927, she won a scholarship to Vienna, where she imbibed a Central European musical outlook, before returning to Finland to study with Leevi Madetoja. However, despite successes at home, she earned her principle living as a librarian and music custodian at the Sibelius Academy and had to apply several times before she was awarded an artist’s pension.

This excellent Hybrid SACD from the Swedish label BIS reveals a distinctive and sophisticated compositional voice, presenting three of her symphonic works in crystal-clear sound and in highly persuasive performances by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Chief Conductor – and fellow Finn – Dalia Stasevska (BIS BIS2701).

The Orchestral Suite No. 2 comes from the score Leiviskä wrote for avant-garde filmmaker Nyrki Tapiovaara’s Juha, one of the first Finnish films to have specially composed music. Cast in four movements – The Coming of Spring, Humoresque, Lullaby and Epilogue 
it feels...