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Pohjola: The Closet, My Dearest / Rousi, Parviainen, Kuivalainen, Pussila, Et Al

Release Date: 04/14/2009 
Label:  Alba   Catalog #: 263   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Seppo Pohjola
Performer:  Pekka HaahtiSirkka ParviainenPekka KuivalainenPetri Pussila,   ... 
Conductor:  Tuomas Rousi
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

POHJOLA The Closet. 1 My Dearest 2 Tuomas Rousi, cond; Sirkka Parvainen ( Wife ); 1 Pekka Kuivalainen ( Husband ); 1 Petri Pussila ( Seducer ); 1 Eija Räisänen Read more ( Wife ); 2 Pekka Haahti ( Husband ); 2 C Ens ALBA 263 (66:19 Text and Translation)

Seppo Pohjola is a Finnish composer, born in 1965. His musical language is certainly modernist, but not aggressively so. There are echoes of Stravinsky, Bartók, and Hindemith in these two chamber operas.

I would like to be more enthusiastic than I am, because the performances and the production values of this disc are very strong. The notes are by the composer himself, Alba provides full Finnish texts and English translations, the recorded sound is perfectly balanced, the instrumental playing is precise and committed, and the singing is likewise.

But in the end, after three hearings, I found none of the music stays in the memory. The Closet is dry, pointillistic, witty at times, cleverly orchestrated, but it never sings. The music is highly declamatory in its style, perfectly reflective of the text, but in no way really amplifying it. I thought there was more potential in My Dearest , based by the composer on correspondence between his grandparents during the war years of 1941–1944. Pohjola wrote a more delicate score here, and the music is somewhat more lyrical, but it seems to me a forced or artificial lyricism. Nothing seems to sing out of necessity, and again the music, at least to me, does not seem to amplify or comment on the words.

Music is highly personal, and it is very possible that you will react more positively than I did to these two chamber operas. Certainly one must admire Alba for making them available, and doing such a good job with them. If you are adventurous and enjoy contemporary vocal music, you might wish to give the disc a try.

FANFARE: Henry Fogel
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Works on This Recording

The Closet by Seppo Pohjola
Performer:  Pekka Haahti (Baritone), Sirkka Parviainen (Soprano), Pekka Kuivalainen (Tenor),
Petri Pussila (Baritone), Eija Räisänen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tuomas Rousi
Written: 2004; Finland 
My Dearest by Seppo Pohjola
Performer:  Eija Räisänen (Soprano), Petri Pussila (Baritone), Sirkka Parviainen (Soprano),
Pekka Haahti (Baritone), Pekka Kuivalainen (Tenor)
Conductor:  Tuomas Rousi
Written: 2005; Finland 

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