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Aho: Chamber Symphonies No 1 - 3 / Asbury, Kantorow, Tapiola Sinfonietta

Aho / Kelly / Asbury / Kantorow
Release Date: 02/28/2012 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1126  
Composer:  Kalevi Aho
Performer:  John-Edward Kelly
Conductor:  Stefan AsburyJean-Jacques Kantorow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Sinfonietta
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Is there anything in music more irritating than an atonal alto saxophone cadenza, such as we find in Aho’s Third Chamber Symphony (for saxophone and strings)? I doubt it, but that misjudgment aside, the music here is very interesting, rewarding, and admirably concise. Aho writes a lot of music, and his personal style is difficult to define. He freely mixes tonal and atonal elements, melodic and textural ideas, and his writing for strings here is both varied and virtuosic. In the first two chamber symphonies, his exploitation of texture is very impressive; he can divide up his ensemble into as many independent parts as possible, while never letting the music sound confused no matter how dense the resultant polyphony.

Read more performances here sound wholly confident, and probably couldn’t be bettered. The strings of the Tapiola Sinfonietta play with impeccable intonation and remarkably precise ensemble. Aho is very lucky in his performers (and record label, for that matter). John-Edward Kelly, the saxophone soloist in the Third Chamber Symphony, also plays splendidly, even in that obnoxious cadenza toward the end. I wouldn’t say that this is music for everyone— it is challenging and expressively somewhat elusive— but it rewards concentrated listening, and BIS’s engineering is superb in all formats. Hard core stuff, then, but worth it.

-- ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Chamber Symphony no 1 by Kalevi Aho
Conductor:  Stefan Asbury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Sinfonietta
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1976 
Chamber Symphony no 2 by Kalevi Aho
Conductor:  Stefan Asbury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Sinfonietta
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991-1992 
Chamber Symphony no 3 by Kalevi Aho
Performer:  John-Edward Kelly (Saxophone)
Conductor:  Jean-Jacques Kantorow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Sinfonietta
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1995-1996 

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