COMPOSERS: Aho,Bruzaite,Mustonen,Part,Sallinen,Sibelius & Mononen,Tuur,Vask
ALBUM TITLE: Solitudes: Baltic Reflections
WORKS: Chamber works by Mustonen, Bruzaite, Sallinen, Tüür, Aho, Vask, Pärt, Sibelius & Mononen
PERFORMER: Mr McFall’s Chamber
CATALOGUE NO: DCD34156
Scottish ensemble Mr McFall’s Chamber is justly celebrated for its keen sense of musical adventure. Solitudes: Baltic Reflections presents a fascinating collection of chamber works for strings and piano, leading the listener through the Eastern Baltic seaboard. The central thrust of the disc is an exploration of Finnish tango: a perhaps unexpected musical tradition, sparked by the arrival of Argentinian tango musicians in Finland in the early 20th century. The genre developed its own distinct flavour, blending the rhythmic fizz of Argentine tango with the elegance of Finnish and Russian waltzes. A range of 1950s and contemporary tangos are here featured, including Unto Mononen’s irresistible Satumaa (‘The Fairy-Tale Land’) and Aulis Sallinen’s Introduction and Tango Overture.
Other newer works featured are more mixed. One highpoint is an outstanding performance of Kalevi Aho’s spellbinding Lamento for two violas, but Zita Bružaite’s Bangos (Waves) for solo piano is somewhat anodyne and sentimental.
The disc closes with Sibelius, that great luminary of Finnish composition. His music is rendered here with uncanny wit and grace: firstly with a gossamer and deeply affecting performance of the simple Einsames Lied arranged for piano sextet and lastly, almost unfathomably but, it turns out, entirely delightfully, the Finlandia hymn played by piano quintet and bowed saw. Kate Wakeling