Sallinen, Takemitsu, Penderecki

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Penderecki,Sallinen,Takemitsu
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Flute Concerto (Harlekiini)
PERFORMER: Petri Alanko (flute, alto flute); Tapiola Sinfonietta/Okko Kamu
CATALOGUE NO: 8.554185
Once more Kamu is revealed as a distinguished conductor of Sallinen’s works with this compelling interpretation of the Flute Concerto (Harlekiini). His clear vision of its overall architecture (it flows continuously) allows Alenko and the Tapiola Sinfonetta to feel free to exploit to the full the regular mood shifts. Utilising the solo flute, four string quartets, six brass players, wind and a large percussion unit to engaging effect, Sallinen’s soundscape is by turns exquisite (shimmering note clusters), amusing (funfare-like chases), cocky (a triumphant flute theme) and sleazy (jazz band).

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Toward the Sea II, for alto flute, harp and strings, on the other hand, is stylistically more consistent, yet the performers convey a true sense of unearthing the unfamiliar within Takemitsu’s sensual textures.

Alanko becomes flamboyant in Penderecki’s more ostentatious concerto. It suits the spikey, leaping melodies and bullish, sometimes rabble-rousing dialogues with the percussion-heavy ensemble. But the central air of wistfulness returns at the close, lending this thrilling concerto a proper sense of repose.

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While Alanko does not have the breadth of tone colour of Emmanuel Pahud or Patrick Gallois, he proves himself to be a fine exponent of the sensitively edged contemporary flute repertoire. Kate Sherriff