KALEVI AHO (b.1949): Oboe Concerto, Oboe Sonata, Solo IX for Oboe.
Catalogue Number: 03O088
Description: The concerto, like Aho's numerous other concertante works, is a bold and refreshing, original take on the traditional virtuoso vehicle in a fundamentally tonal vocabulary with much in common with Shostakovich, with hints of Sibelius. Here, Aho expands his harmonic palette by adopting elements of Arabic music, most especially scales incorporating quarter-tones. This, alongside the florid, melismatic quality of the solo lines lends the work a distinctly middle-eastern inflection, an impression heightened by the use of Arabic and African percussion in the propulsively rhythmic scherzo-like second movement. The fourth movement is a demanding cadenza featuring multiphonics and Arabic scales (which relates it to Solo IX, which shares these characteristics). The concerto's outer movements are intense and melodic, somewhat tragic in tone, the finale increasingly agitated and protesting in tone. The sonata is a much earlier work, from the mid-1980s, and has a rather experimental feel, with much use of multiphonics and quarter-tones, the coloristic potential of the instrument thoroughly explored. Despite the modern techniques the second movement has some kinship with Ravel, the energetic third movement with Nielsen or Prokofiev. A powerful multiphonic-laden climax in this movement sweeps away the extended sounds, and the finale is a strangely ambiguous songlike soliloquy in conventional intonation and technique. Piet Van Bockstal (oboe), Yutaka Oya (piano), Lahti Symphony Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins. SACD hybrid.