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Sebastian Fagerlund: Oceano etc

Meta4 String Quartet et al (BIS)

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Sebastian Fagerlund
Oceano; Fuel; Transient Light; Clarinet Sonata; Scherzic; String Quartet No. 1 ‘Verso l’interno’
Christoffer Sundqvist (clarinet), Hervé Joulain (horn), Minna Pensola (violin), Atte Kilpeläinen (viola), Tomas Djupsjöbacka (cello), Paavali Jumppanen (piano), Meta4 String Quartet
BIS BIS-2324 (CD/SACD)   70:33 mins

Sebastian Fagerlund (b1972) first drew international attention with his colourful Clarinet Concerto (2006). The Finn’s natural outlet for his tautly robust, driving energy has been in opera and orchestral works. Yet his chamber music is no less compelling.

These superbly performed duos, trios and quartets show the same forthright sensibility. Indeed, their material has sometimes emerged from orchestral projects while being completely distinct in exploring the dynamic unique to each chamber combination. With pianist Paavali Jumppanen, Clarinet Concerto dedicatee Christoffer Sundqvist offers an astonishingly vivid reading of the Clarinet Sonata also written for him (2010). The pair join cellist Tomas Djupsjöbacka to equally virtuosic effect in the six through-composed miniatures, Fuel (2010).

By turns ferociously rhythmic, playful and softly luminous, every piece here shares a coherent dramatic arc. Scherzic (2008) is the shortest, its viola-cello duo creating a thrumming, almost rock music-like intensity. In Transient Light (2013) Hervé Joulain (horn), Minna Pensola (violin), cellist and pianist plunge into a supple interplay of motoric rhythms and shifting lines as if carried or touched by the agitated currents of the opening string trio, Oceano (2011). The full Meta4 quartet (with violinist Antti Tikkanen) gives a wonderfully bold, incisive account of String Quartet No. 1, Verso l’interno.

Steph Power