KALEVI AHO (b.1949): Sonata for Violin Solo, Solo I (Tumultos), In Memoriam Pehr Henrik Nordgren for Solo Violin, PEHR HENRIK NORDGREN (1944-2008): Sonata for Violin Solo, Op. 104, EINOJUHANI RAUTAVAARA (1928-2016): Variétude for Solo Violin.
Catalogue Number: 08U056
Reference: TRO-CD 01452
Description: Aho gets the lion's share of this disc, and the main work here is the world premiere recording of his substantial and impressive Sonata from 1973. This early work is in four movements, and is explicitly an homage to Bach and a commentary, in Aho's musical terms, an the Chaconne from the Partita BWV 1004. The first movement, almost as long as the other three together, is marked 'Tempo di ciacona', and without actual quotation it is very clearly based on the character of the opening and the figuration of other variations from Bach's work. The language is not that of Bach, but it is clearly tonal. The following Andante continues in similar vein, again alluding to the opening of the Bach to begin with. The next movement, 'Grandioso' introduces the BACH motif, and from this point onward the piece is both a celebration of Bach and the young composer defining his relationship to tradition, setting out a position that he has broadly adhered to ever since. Two years later he wrote Solo I, whose title 'Tumultos' seems to be contradicted by the calm of the opening. But the work is in fact a crescendo of intensity and activity, ratcheting up the tension and turmoil toward a virtuosic and tempestuous final section. Nordgren's Sonata is based on a traditional dirge, treated in an idiom compounded from improvisatory folk styles and the modernism of the concert hall, blended so that the discords and pitch indeterminacy of the one fade imperceptibly into the other. Aho's tribute to Nordgren alternates passages of whirling, ascending figuration - a combination of frenetic folk dance and an ethereal flight into the unknown, and sections of otherworldly tranquility. Aho's teacher, Rautavaara, is represented by Variétude, written in 1973 as a competition piece, as reflected in its final extrovert, technically challenging sections. Earlier, though, the work passes through a series of more emotionally complex and thoughtful episodes, requiring great expressive range. Renate Eggebrecht (violin).