PEHR HENRIK NORDGREN (1944-2008): Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and String Orchestra with Gong, KALEVI AHO (b.1949): In memorian Pehr Henrik Nordgren, ÁSKELL MÁSSON (b.1953): Quatrain, ARVO PÄRT (b.1935): Fratres.
Catalogue Number: 02N077
Reference: ABCD 322
Description: Nordgren's concerto for the versatile and sonorous 'composite soloist' heard here is very typical of his unique compositional style. Against a background of rich, saturated dark colors, like a Sibelian, Nordic landscape but somehow more alien, the work at first seems set on a course from mournful melody to a more dynamic, dramatic narrative. Suddenly, though, the music is unexpectedly becalmed, in one of those coups de théâtre at which Nordgren excels. A slow, beautiful, otherworldly chorale ensues, with microtonally inflected commentary from the solo group. This idea is explored at some length, before the music is gradually galvanized into activity, now of a more restrained kind, and a final decisive cadence. Másson's Quatrain explores Icelandic folk themes against a harmonically rich backdrop, mostly tonal, with suggestions of archaic vocal inflections and insistent primitive rhythms. Aho's work is based on a scale derived from the letters of Nordgren's name. A hesitant yet eloquent elegy for solo violin, it maintains a mood of restrained but deeply felt mourning. Raschèr Saxophone Quartet, Lapland Chamber Orchestra; John Storgårds.