KALEVI AHO (b.1949): Symphony No. 15, Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra, Minea (Concertante Music for Orchestra). Minea is a brilliant virtuosic orchestral showpiece.
Catalogue Number: 02P012
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Minea is a brilliant virtuosic orchestral showpiece. The work inhabits Aho's familiar harmonic territory, owing something to Shostakovich and Sibelius, with the intriguing addition of scales derived from the East and Middle East. It accumulates density, momentum and rhythmic drive as it progresses. The concerto consists of five contrasting movements exploring a remarkable range of the instrument's technical and expressive capabilities, from sombre songfulness via the unusual harmonics and pizzicato timbres that the richly resonant instrument offers, to vigorous virtuosity. The propulsive rhythmic element that has become increasingly important in Aho's recent works drives a central scherzo and the finale. This element is even more central to the symphony, which makes extensive use of the traditional non-western percussion instruments that the composer has favored in recent years. The piece contrasts mysterious nature-music infused with a glowing aurora of subtle dissonant overtones, martial climaxes reminiscent of Shostakovich (frequently recalled throughout the work) and episodes of a recurring dancing character, increasingly vigorous and virtuosic with each reappearance. Eero Munter (double bass), Lahti Symphony Orchestra; Osmo Vänskä, Dima Slobodeniouk (symphony).