This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
Without question Peteris Vasks is one of the major composers active today. His Third Symphony does everything that a fine new work in the form should. It covers a wide range of moods, from sounds of nature and tranquil beauty, to rude energy and passionate anguish. It's effectively structured over its single-movement, 40-minute span, with plenty of contrast built in and many memorable thematic and gestural ideas along the way. It has a recognizably "Nordic" feel, especially in the luminous string writing and feeling of loneliness (or vastness, as you please) behind some of the harmony. Best of all, it's approachable on first hearing, but it never panders or preaches, remaining a classic example of elevated taste and sophisticated symphonic thought. What more could anyone possibly want?
The Cello Concerto is similarly well conceived, a satisfying "arch form" in which two outer "Cantus" movements enfold two toccatas, which in turn bracket a central "Monologhi". The writing for the soloist is very effective and exploits the full expressive potential of the instrument. The work was composed for Latvian cellist David Geringas, who recorded it with the Riga Philharmonic for Conifer. That performance was very good, perhaps a bit edgier in the two toccatas, but soloist Marko Ylönen has a more refulgent tone, and the Tampere Philharmonic plays with greater polish and warmth under John Storgards.
This orchestra actually commissioned the Third Symphony, and this, its premiere recording, also is splendid in every way, including the excellent SACD multichannel sonics. If you care at all about contemporary music then you will add this disc to your collection without delay. Vasks' music deserves the widest possible recognition by the international community, and it's very gratifying that Ondine is there to see that he gets it.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com