JAAKKO KUUSISTO (b.1974): Violin Concerto, Op. 24, Leika for Orchestra, Op. 28, JOHN CORIGLIANO (b.1938): Violin Concerto "The Red Violin".
Catalogue Number: 09P071
Description: Kuusisto's Leika is a tone poem of significant dimensions, in a boldly tonal, somewhat Sibelian vocabulary, sumptuously orchestrated. Connected via its Icelanic title to the idea of 'play', also the title of an earlier work by the composer which shares some of its material, the work has its playful, as well as dramatic and lyrical episodes, including a waltz and a powerful climax. A violinist-composer, Kuusisto has, not surprisingly, contributed a technically virtuosic, eloquently lyrical and thoroughly idiomatic concerto for his own instrument to the repertoire. The work begins with an extended cadenza, followed by a sonata-form first movement with somewhat Sibelian melodic contours and episodes of rhythmic propulsiveness that recall Sallinen, which recur in the energetic finale. The delicately scored, almost impressionistically colored slow movement, with its air of slightly melancholy restraint and somber central climax, contrasts with the more boisterous outer movements. In 2003 Corigliano extended the widely performed Chaconne for Violin and Orchestra that was the concert work derived from his music for the 1997 film The Red Violin by adding three movements in less obviously full-blooded Romantic vein, more than doubling the length of the work. While incorporating some unusual playing techniques and sonorities, the additional movements remain related to the first, and the film music, resulting in a thoroughly accessible, tonal and lyrical concerto, mingling pathos and dramatic excitement. Elina Vähälä (violin), Lahti Symphony Orchestra; Jaakko Kuusisto.