- La Serenissima, concerto for viola, harp & 12 strings
- In Mirrors of Time (Through Colours of Autumn), for orchestra
- Concerto for violin & orchestra ["Il viaggio del cavaliere...(inesitente)"]
Finnish composer Kai Nieminen, born in 1953, has also been active as a guitarist, and you can hear it in the music here even though this is orchestral music without any role for a guitar. It's not just the prominent role of the harp in all three pieces, providing plucked-string textures. The entire orchestra takes on an episodic, spontaneous quality in these pieces, despite their externally conventional three- and four-movement structures and the designation of two of them as concertos. The pieces have different flavors, but they're similar in overall style: they have only loose tonal centers, few areas of fixed rhythmic pulse, and a great many contrasting combinations of small groups of instruments. The opening "Il viaggio del cavaliere" is designated as an homage to Cervantes, but also refers to Italo Calvino's novel The Nonexistent Knight, with a solo violin representing the title character of that work. Here and elsewhere on the album the programmatic content is vague, yet the music itself, once you acclimatize yourself to the slow-moving waves of instrumental color, is quite compelling and hard to compare to that of any other composer. The little-known Pori Sinfonietta under conductor Jukka Iisakkila attests to the high quality of even regional Finnish ensembles; they don't miss a step in Nieminen's complex textures.