OLLI VIRTAPERKO (b.1973): Romer’s Gap for Amplified Cello and Sinfonietta, Multikolor for Baritone Saxophone and Small Chamber Orchestra, Ambrosian Delights for Knifonium and Chamber Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 11T065
Reference: ODE 1305-2
Description: Virtaperko is an academically trained composer with a background in early music and Baroque cello, who was previously the singer in a successful rock band. He takes a similarly wide-ranging approach to his composing. These three concerti for very unusual solo instruments were written expressly for the particular skills of the featured soloists, and in close collaboration with them. The music, while drawing on a range of modern, even unprecedented, methods, remains approachable in the sense that it is written to be enjoyed as a platform for the unique soloists. To some extent the medium is the message here; the musical argument is at the disposal of the solo musicians rather than serving any philosophical or descriptive message. The Knifonium is a rare and rarefied synthesizer, the brainchild of Jonte Knif, who also builds harpsichords and performs in early music ensembles. It meticulously reproduces the functions of the earliest electronic instruments - the banks of knobs and dials you see pictures of Vladimir Ussachevsky or Pauline Oliveros sitting in front of - and is capable of a huge range of timbres, effects and dynamics from the pre-computer, pre-sampling era. It gets put through its paces here, integrating its remarkably human palette of sounds into the ensemble, including a passacaglia, a solo cadenza and a splendid bit of psychedelic progressive rock for a finale. Romer's Gap was written for the particular talents of the classically trained cellist and composer, and currently member of the cello metal band Apocalyptica, Perttu Kivilaasko. This sounds more like a conventional modernist/neo-romantic(ish) concerto than Ambrosian Delights, aside from the electronically augmented soloist (often processed in the ways we more readily associate with the electric guitar). Multikolor is more of an abstract compendium of extended instrumental effects of every kind, unfailingly sonorous and inventive. Perttu Kivilaakso (cello), Joonatan Rautiola (sax), Jonte Knif (knifonium), Jyväskylä Sinfonia; Ville Matvejeff.