- Shadows, prelude for orchestra, Op. 52
- Symphony No. 8 ("Autumnal Fragments"), Op. 81
- Violin Concerto, Op. 18
- The Palace Rhapsody (Palatsirapsodia), for winds, percussion, harp & piano, Op. 72
Aulis Sallinen's "Symphony No. 8, Op. 81, Autumnal Fragments" (2001), receives its world-premiere recording on this 2005 release, and along with the "Violin Concerto, Op. 18" (1968), presents the composer as a master of large forms. A powerful tribute in memory of September 11, the symphony is cast in a dark, passionate style, quite reminiscent of Shostakovich's late elegiac symphonies. The "Violin Concerto" dates from Sallinen's more experimental phase, but it is nonetheless a mature effort, impressively laid out, and in some ways anticipatory of the neo-Romanticism that colors much of his later work. Both pieces are substantial offerings, which, by themselves, serve Sallinen's reputation handsomely. However, the program is framed by two "satellite" works of less significance: the orchestral prelude "Shadows, Op. 52" (1982), based on material from Sallinen's opera "The King Goes Forth to France," and the "Palace Rhapsody, Op. 72" (1996), composed in connection with the comic opera "The Palace." While these colorful concert pieces may help flesh out Sallinen's image by representing his theatrical work, they are only mildly entertaining filler. The Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, under Ari Rasilainen, plays with almost transcendent feeling and commitment in the symphony, though it provides vibrant accompaniment to Jaakko Kuusisto's lyrical arcs in the "Violin Concerto." CPO's sound quality is excellent in depth, breadth, and range.