Gubaidulina: Concerto for Bassoon and Low Strings; Concordanza; Detto II

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COMPOSERS: Gubaidulina
WORKS: Concerto for Bassoon and Low Strings; Concordanza; Detto II
PERFORMER: Harri Ahmas (bassoon), Illka Pälli (cello); Lahti Chamber Orchestra/ Osmo Vänskä
Among the post-Shostakovich generations of Soviet (and now post-Soviet) composers whose music has been most widely disseminated in the West is Sofia Gubaidulina, born in the Tatar city of Chistopol and now 62. The three instrumental works here, all dating from the early Seventies, reveal the resourcefulness of her writing and the resilience of her musical ideas. In the substantial Bassoon Concerto (1975) the musically isolated figure of the comic-grotesque soloist is alternately harried and solaced by the lower strings which provide the accompaniment; this tense, darkly humorous piece achieves a sudden and unnerving climax in the interjection of a human cry of anguish. Concordanza (1971), for a chamber ensemble of four strings, wind quintet and percussion, has less sense of direction, though is again effectively written and its conflict between different types of material sharply drawn. Dating from 1972, Detto II (‘detto’ means a saying or tale in Italian) displays a more lyrical approach to its cello soloist and is a well-shaped piece with an imaginative use of sonority. All three works receive committed performances from these Finnish musicians, though the sound is inclined to be muffled. George Hall