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Kalevi Aho: Rituals
     

Kalevi Aho: Rituals

by John Storgårds
 
For such a small country, Finland has produced a disproportionate number of the most prominent composers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, including Einojuhani Rautavaara, Aulis Sallinen, Jukka Tiensuu, Kalevi Aho, Kaija Saariaho, Magnus Lindberg, and

Overview

For such a small country, Finland has produced a disproportionate number of the most prominent composers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, including Einojuhani Rautavaara, Aulis Sallinen, Jukka Tiensuu, Kalevi Aho, Kaija Saariaho, Magnus Lindberg, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Aho, born in 1949, is one of the most prolific of the bunch, with a catalog of dozens of major works, including symphonies, concertos, and operas. While his voice doesn't have the distinctive individuality of Rautavaara or Saariaho, his music is imaginative and skillfully crafted, with an appealing directness and expressiveness. The concept behind this BIS album is intriguing: the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland commissioned him to write the pieces for an entire concert, to be recorded on a single CD. The focal point is his "Symphony No. 14, Rituals," preceded by a song cycle, "The Book of Questions," for mezzo-soprano, and a "Viola Concerto." The songs, with texts by Neruda, consist entirely of questions, mostly unanswerable, grouped into 11 movements. Aho's text setting is clear and lyrical (beautifully sung and declaimed by Monica Groop) and his orchestration is transparent and colorful, but while many of the moments are lovely, there is insufficient differentiation between movements, and the whole doesn't have a clear emotional trajectory. The symphony has prominent parts for three non-Western percussion instruments, the Middle Eastern darabuka, the West African djembe, and gongs from the Far East. It's the most compelling piece on the disc -- strongly rhythmic, mysterious, and powerful, with vivid orchestral variety. John Storgårds leads the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland in polished, vigorous performances.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/30/2009
Label:
Bis
UPC:
7318590016862
catalogNumber:
1686
Rank:
125050

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Symphony No. 14 ("Rituals")
  2. Viola Concerto
  3. Ksymysten Kirja (The Book Of Questions), suite for voice & orchestra

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