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Kalevi Aho: Timpani Concerto & Piano Concerto No. 1 / Turku Philharmonic

Release Date: 06/01/2018 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 2306  
Composer:  Kalevi Aho
Performer:  Ari-pekka MaenpaaSonja Fraki
Conductor:  Erkki LasonpaloEva Ollikainen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Hugely productive, Kalevi Aho has composed close to 30 concertos to date. These include works for traditional solo instruments – piano, violin, cello – but also more unusual ones, such as the theremin or accordion. One project of Aho's is to write concertos for all of the instruments of the symphony orchestra, from the flute to the contrabassoon, and in 2015 the turn came to the timpani. The work was commissioned by the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra for its timpanist Ari-Pekka Mäenpää, and Mäenpää and Aho worked closely together during the writing process. The result is a concerto that explores the instrument's full potential, from the melody opening the concerto, which lasts more than thirty bars, to the Read more rhythmically compelling third movement. Composed almost 30 years earlier, Piano Concerto No. 1 reflects the composer's interest at the time in numerology, and specifically in so-called cyclic numbers. The colorful and exciting work is however anything but cerebral. The soloist is Sonja Fräki, who chose Aho's music for piano as the subject of her doctoral studies, and whose recording of the solo works was released to great acclaim in 2015. With the two works on this album, no less than 16 concertos by Aho are available from BIS, in recordings that have been praised by reviewers worldwide, and received distinctions including the prestigious ECHO Klassik Award. Read less

Works on This Recording

Concerto for Timpani by Kalevi Aho
Performer:  Ari-pekka Maenpaa (Timpani)
Conductor:  Erkki Lasonpalo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Contemporary 
Written: Finland 
Concerto for Piano No. 1 by Kalevi Aho
Performer:  Sonja Fraki (Piano)
Conductor:  Eva Ollikainen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Contemporary 
Written: Finland 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Contempory masterworks November 13, 2018 By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) See All My Reviews "Finnish composer Kalevi Aho is best known for his large-scale works. This release has two excellent examples: the Tympani Concerto, and the Piano Concerto No. 1. The Turku Philharmonic Orchestra commissioned the Tympani Concerto for its timpanist, Ari-Pekka Mäenpää. Speaking as a percussionist, I think it's a masterwork. Aho worked with Mäenpää to create a work that makes the tympani a truly melodic instrument. Aho takes full advantage of pedal tuning, which let the player rapidly change notes. And there are plenty of glissandi, making the player change the note's pitch on the fly. Aho also expands the setup to five drums (as opposed to the traditional four), which gives him even more resources to work with. The timpani has some long, lyric passages that are quite beautiful. But Aho hasn't forgotten its role in the orchestra. The finale is a rollicking rhythmic tour-de-force. Ari-Pekka Mäenpää is an exceptional performer. Other tympanists looking to perform this work will find it quite a challenge. Aho's Piano Concerto No. 1 is a heady mix of styles. I heard goodly portions of Alfred Schnittke and Sergei Prokofiev with a dash of Edgar Varése, all served up in a totally original style. Aho uses strongly tonal elements -- such as diatonic scales, and simple triads -- in a decidedly non-tonal fashion. The concerto has a sarcastic swagger to it I quite liked. There are also some quiet and contemplative passages, too. The work has a satisfying emotional flow to it. Pianist Sonja Fräki knows Aho's works intimately. Her doctoral dissertation was on Aho's piano music, and she's recorded them for BIS. This is an artist who truly understands the composer's intentions, and her performance demonstrates that. Heartily recommended -- and not just to lovers of contemporary classical music." Report Abuse
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