SEPPO POHJOLA (b.1965): Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 2.
Catalogue Number: 01O080
Reference: ABCD 339
Description: After turning his back on the avant garde modernism of his early output, Pohjola adopted an accessible and involving tonal idiom in the 1990s, that was thoroughly refined and rendered individual by the time he wrote these superb symphonies in 2002 and 2006. The First is an in memoriam work for his prematurely deceased brothers - both musicians - and this informs the moods of the work; elegiac melancholy and obsessive anger. The first movement develops a driving, quasi-minimalistic mechanistic thrust; the second is a nocturnal lament; the third a wry, Shostakovichian scherzo, and the finale a vigorous attempt at an optimistic conclusion, tinged with hectic desperation, with a gently consoling central episode. Echoes of the harmonic and melodic vocabularies of Shostakovich and Sibelius, and the orchestration of Ravel, are detectable, and quotations from familiar works by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Wagner appear here and there as irony or homage. The similarly structured Second is free of program and allusion, but explores the same vocabulary and expressive range, with a mysterious opening; driven, motoric scherzo; static, nocturnal intermezzo and brashly energetic finale. The virtuosic treatment of orchestral groupings sometimes suggests a concerto for orchestra, with an emphasis on bold, Ravellian color. Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Sakari Oramo. SACD hybrid