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A Due / Kari Krikku, Anssi Karttunen


Release Date: 07/17/2007 
Label:  Ondine   Catalog #: 1102   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jukka TiensuuOlli KortekangasKaija SaariahoMagnus Lindberg,   ... 
Performer:  Kari KriikkuAnssi Karttunen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



A DUE Kari Krikku (cl, 1 b cl 2 ); Anssi Karttunen (vc) ONDINE 1102 (72:13)


TIENSUU Plus II. 1 KORTEKANGAS Iscrizione. 1 SAARIAHO Oi kuu. 2 Read more class="COMPOSER12">M. LINDBERG Steamboat Bill, Jr. 1 MERILÄINEN Unes. 1 JOKINEN Pros. 1 BERGMAN Karanssi. 1,2 LÄNSIÖ A Due. 2 HEININEN Short I. 1 HAKOLA Capriole 2


Recorded over a 13-year time span (1992–2005), this is a remarkable disc. On first glance, it screams “specialist.” A whole hour-plus of music by territory-specific composers for clarinet or bass clarinet and cello may send many prospective purchasers heading in the opposite direction. But they would be forgetting the innate musicality of the Finns.


The partnership of Krikku and Karttunen has resulted in a small library of commissions. Jukka Tiensuu (b. 1948) has been writing a series of works sharing the title Plus for some years now, for differing combinations of instruments. Plus II dates from 1992 (there is also a version for bass clarinet called Plus IIb ). There is more than a hint of music theater in the way the soloists shadow each other (sometimes microtonally). This shadowing generates tremendous energy. The (wonderful) recording is, appropriately for the intimacy of this disc, close and involving, although without being claustrophobic. The playing is simply stunning, true chamber music in a late 20th-century context.


Suddenly the sky darkens for Iscrizione (1990) by Olli Kortekangas (b. 1955). The piece is ultra-compact (it lasts just a touch over three minutes) yet makes a lasting impression, not least in the depth of utterance of its deep initial gesture.


The name of Kaija Saariaho (b. 1952) is well known internationally. IRCAM-trained, she boasts prestigious commissions from around the world, plus a discography that is graced by the names of Gidon Kremer, Sir Simon Rattle, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. The piece Oi Kuu (“O Moon”) explores multiphonics and timbral points of contact between the two instruments. Sonically, the piece sounds as if it is frozen. Expression in the traditional sense only sporadically breaks through (notably around the 2:40 mark); for the rest of the time, this is a stuck, almost painful moment in time.


Magnus Lindberg (b. 1958) is another well-known contributor here. Steamboat Bill, Jr. , premiered in 1990 in Warsaw, was inspired both by a performance of Stravinsky’s Italian Suite (by Heifetz and Piatigorsky) and by the film Steamboat Bill, Jr. of 1928 (starring Buster Keaton). Lindberg refers to his “kaleidoscopic way of writing,” including spectralism and minimalism. The result is a canvas of much beauty, especially the glacial stasis of around five or six minutes in, while the silent-film accompaniment element to the final pages is good, simple fun.


Usko Merilaïnen is one of only two composers on this disc that is no longer with us (he died in 2004; Erik Bergman died in 2006). The accompanying notes would have us believe this is a work in which all is not what it seems. What it seems to this commentator to be is a stream of consciousness where ambiguity is all. Erkki Jokinen (b. 1941) includes wit and charm in his Pros of 1990. His compositional hand is a sure and steady one, one so sure of itself that it can comfortably ensure that serialism and minimalism can coexist in a relatively short timespan.


The only multimovement work in this recital is Erik Bergman’s Karanssi (the title shunts together the first names of the two soloists on this recording!). Grunts and key noises are used to maximum effect to create an atmosphere of exquisite tension; the more rarified moments tend to enhance rather than dissipate this sense of strain. Tapani Länsiö (b. 1953) is the one who wrote the piece that gives this disc its name. A Due dates from 1991 and is scored for bass clarinet and cello. During the piece, as the composer puts it, “the instruments do not really want to meet but cannot avoid it.”


For those who love brevity of explanation from their composers, Paavo Heininen (b. 1938) must be a dream. Of Short I , he merely wrote, “ Short is a short piece. Savonlinna 1990 is history. I no longer explain.” Period. (The Savonlinna reference refers to the controversial performance of his opera The Knife at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in 1990.) The two lines sometimes interact, sometimes pursue independent lines of thought.


Finally, Capriole (1993) by Kimmo Hakola (b. 1958). Antti Häyrynen’s booklet notes speak of the interruption of the hectic moto perpetuo by quasi-Mongolian folk music (Mongolian folk music is my most recent musical discovery, by the way, via the 2003 film The Story of the Weeping Camel and also a folk music festival this Summer in ?ervený Kostelec in the Czech Republic: some of the most powerfully moving music I have ever heard). The sound of Mongolia is unmistakable, its whining, slithery nostalgia unforgettable, and Hakola uses this expressivity to unforgettable effect. This alone makes the purchase of this disc worthwhile.


A fantastically stimulating disc, performed by two consummate virtuosos clearly dedicated to their task.


FANFARE: Colin Clarke
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Works on This Recording

1.
Plus II by Jukka Tiensuu
Performer:  Kari Kriikku (Clarinet), Anssi Karttunen (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1992 
2.
Iscrizione by Olli Kortekangas
Performer:  Kari Kriikku (Clarinet), Anssi Karttunen (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990 
3.
Oi kuu by Kaija Saariaho
Performer:  Kari Kriikku (Bass Clarinet), Anssi Karttunen (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990 
4.
Steamboat Bill Jr. by Magnus Lindberg
Performer:  Anssi Karttunen (Cello), Kari Kriikku (Clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990; Finland 
5.
Unes by Usko Meriläinen
Performer:  Kari Kriikku (Clarinet), Anssi Karttunen (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990 
6.
Pros by Erkki Jokinen
Performer:  Kari Kriikku (Clarinet), Anssi Karttunen (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990 
7.
Karanssi, Op. 114 by Erik Bergman
Performer:  Anssi Karttunen (Cello), Kari Kriikku (Clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990 
8.
A Due by Tapani Länsiö
Performer:  Kari Kriikku (Bass Clarinet), Anssi Karttunen (Cello), Kari Kriikku (Bass clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991 
9.
Short I, Op. 58a by Paavo Heininen
Performer:  Anssi Karttunen (Cello), Kari Kriikku (Clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990; Finland 
10.
Capriole by Kimmo Hakola
Performer:  Anssi Karttunen (Cello), Kari Kriikku (Bass Clarinet), Kari Kriikku (Bass clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991; Finland 
11.
Oi kuu by Kaija Saariaho
Performer:  Anssi Karttunen (Cello), Kari Kriikku (Bass clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990 
12.
Steamboat Bill Jr. by Magnus Lindberg
Performer:  Anssi Karttunen (Cello), Kari Kriikku (Clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990; Finland 
13.
Karanssi, Op. 114 by Erik (Valdemar) Bergman
Performer:  Anssi Karttunen (Cello), Kari Kriikku (Clarinet)
Written: 1990 
14.
Short I, Op. 58 by Paavo Heininen
Performer:  Anssi Karttunen (Cello), Kari Kriikku (Clarinet)
Written: 1990 

Sound Samples

Plus II
Iscrizione
Oi kuu (For the Moon)
Steamboat Bill Junior
Unes
Pros
Karanssi, Op. 114: I. -
Karanssi, Op. 114: II. -
Karanssi, Op. 114: III. -
A due
Short I, Op. 58
Capriole

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