KALEVI AHO (b.1949): Clarinet Quintet, Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, Sonata for 2 Accordions.

Catalogue Number: 06N089

Label: BIS

Reference: CD-1886

Format: CD

Price: $19.98

Description: The quintet is a large work in five movements, very tonal, with shades of Shostakovich especially in the piece's darkly elegiac central and final sections. Much of the clarinet writing is eloquently lyrical, and technically and expressively demanding, with a scurrying scherzo-like second movement that dies away into a misty aria, and a vigorous, virtuosic fourth movement punctuating the lonely nature-music of wide spaces that characterises much of the piece's atmospheric melancholy. The trio was commissioned as a viola competition piece, so the viola tends to take the lead role within a dialogue of equals. The piece is very approachable, with a somber and dramatic introduction giving way to increasingly vigorous and agitated argument. The sonata is the composer's reworking of his solo accordion work, in which he deliberately set out to explore the instrument's unique range of polyphonic capabilities. Not surprisingly, Aho employs the great polyphonic forms of the Baroque - passacaglia and fugue - with the added pungency of the immediacy and timbre of the accordion as opposed to their more usual habitat on the organ, in both cases building highly impressive complex and varied polyphonic webs in the composer's customary advanced but decidedly tonal idiom. The progression of variations in the passacaglia sounds astonishingly almost like an accordion transcription of something Sorabji might have done on the piano! Osmo Vänskä (clarinet), Sarah Kwak, Gina DeBello (violins), Thomas Turner (viola), Anthony Ross (cello), Susan Billmeyer (piano), Veli Jujala, Susanne Kujala (accordions).


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