JUKKA LINKOLA (b.1955): Piano Concerto No. 1 “The Masquerade”, VILLE MATVEJEFF (b.1986): Ad Astra, Cello Concerto “Crossroads”.

Catalogue Number: 07S074

Label: Alba

Reference: ABCD 364

Format: SACD hybrid

Price: $18.98

Description: Matvejeff's Ad Astra is based on Akseli Gallen-Kallela's eponymous painting, symbolically depicting a kind of resurrection and striving toward freedom and light after suffering. Much of the piece could be from an undiscovered suite of incidental music by Sibelius, veering toward a Hollywood climax as the light dawns. A rather Sibelian vocabulary of gesture is combined with a contemporary propulsive rhythmic insistence that owes something (not too much!) to rock music, especially a genre of Finnish heavy metal that has incongruously embraced the cello as part of its typical ensemble. For the most part, though, the work has more in common with the melodious melancholy of Finnish folk music, and lush, neo-romantic expressiveness. Linkola's large, five-movement concerto is very Romantic in conception and expression, though the language has more - much more - in common with Prokofiev than with 19th century models. It has a program, based on a detailed narrative supplied by the composer, about a masked ball in a somewhat decayed town which reversed the town's fortunes after the appearance of some distinctive characters, including a pianist who plays a big Romantic concerto. The piece is a robust, full-blooded virtuoso vehicle, very tonal and immensely appealing. Henri Sigfridsson (piano), Tuomas Lehto (cello), Turku Philharmonic Orchestra; Dima Slobodeniouk.


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