KALEVI AHO (b.1949): Symphony No. 13 "Symphonic Characterizations", Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra (Piano Concerto No. 2).
Catalogue Number: 07M010
Description: Aho's concerto makes no pretense of being anything other than a bold, bravura, virtuoso vehicle in the grand pianistic tradition, in an harmonic idiom updated from the Romantic era to roughly that of Shostakovich. Some very Shostakovich-like motifs and gestures are also evident in the work's thematic material, especially in the fast and energetic outer movements. The middle movement is more serious and darker in tone, with dense chordal piano writing more in evidence than the leaner, muscular textures of the opening and finale. The symphony of 2003 consists of a succession of episodes vividly describing a wide range of contrasting character types. Despite the diversity of material and the varied instrumentation that adds color and texture to the portraits, the whole is knit into a convincing large-scale two-movement structure. The music, based on Aho's 1998 opera The Book of Secrets is basically tonal, with some modal inflections; there is a real sense of narrative progression and the interplay of emotions as the 'characters' collide, dispute, succeed each other on stage and go their separate ways. Antti Siirala (piano), Lahti Symphony Orchestra; Osmo Vänskä.