KALEVI AHO (b.1949): Symphony No. 12 "Luosto Symphony".
Catalogue Number: 07K009
Description: Written specifically to exploit the acoustical and spatial possibilities of the outdoor performance venue on the slopes of Mount Luosto in Finnish Lapland, Aho's monumental symphony pulls out every spatial-composition trick in the book, short of any kind of electronic manipulation. Featuring a large symphony orchestra 'echoed' by an entirely separate, substantial chamber orchestra, with additional percussion, brass and vocal soloists positioned around the audience, the piece pretty much redefines the term 'sonic spectacular'. In keeping with its origins, the musical material is very much in the 'nature music' mold, not infrequently evoking Sibelius, with glacial string textures, lonely meandering melodies, and echoing mountainsides and ice-floes graphically depicted in the full magnificence of multiple brass. Inevitable comparisons with Nielsen - the antiphonal drumming of the first movement, the intertwining soprano and tenor of the third - are also evident, as well as in Aho's characteristic broadly modulating tonality. Vividly pictorial in the Alpine Symphony or Sinfonia Antartica tradition and a hugely splendid example of that genre, rather than a work of intricate musical argument, the symphony is a neo-romantic monument on the grandest scale, and hugely enjoyable. Taina Piira (soprano), Aki Alamikkotervo (tenor), Hannu Lehtonen (szxophone), Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Lapland; John Storgårds. SACD hybrid.