Author Topic: The Kokkonen Borealis  (Read 5668 times)

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Offline Christo

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Re: The Kokkonen Borealis
« Reply #40 on: October 10, 2018, 11:27:29 AM »
Oh thanks Johan  :)
I like No.3 but 4 remains my favourite.
Mine too, I guess we had very similar experiences when 'discovering' Kokkonen's symphonies; in my case in the 80s, thanks to BIS.
… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline SymphonicAddict

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Re: The Kokkonen Borealis
« Reply #41 on: October 10, 2018, 11:49:07 AM »
I read somewhere that his Cello Concerto is an uplifting work, but, as far as I remember, that word is far from the true nature of the piece. It's rather serious but has something appealing.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Kokkonen Borealis
« Reply #42 on: October 10, 2018, 11:49:37 AM »
Mine too, I guess we had very similar experiences when 'discovering' Kokkonen's symphonies; in my case in the 80s, thanks to BIS.
Yes, I think that's right.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Kokkonen Borealis
« Reply #43 on: October 10, 2018, 11:52:02 AM »
I read somewhere that his Cello Concerto is an uplifting work, but, as far as I remember, that word is far from the true nature of the piece. It's rather serious but has something appealing.
I started listening to it today but soon lost interest and returned to Symphony 4. However, I need to listen to the Cello Concerto properly as it is well regarded.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline pjme

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Re: The Kokkonen Borealis
« Reply #44 on: October 11, 2018, 05:54:02 AM »


This is the only Kokkonen work I have - bought it way back in ca 1986 or 1987.
Havent't listened to it in years.... & will report back later today or tomorrow.

Peter


Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Kokkonen Borealis
« Reply #45 on: October 11, 2018, 06:27:11 AM »


This is the only Kokkonen work I have - bought it way back in ca 1986 or 1987.
Havent't listened to it in years.... & will report back later today or tomorrow.

Peter

Look forwrd to hearing your views.

Jeffrey
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline pjme

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Re: The Kokkonen Borealis
« Reply #46 on: October 11, 2018, 09:26:28 AM »
Listening to Joonas Kokkonen's Requiem after several years of "neglect", was a most welcome and moving experience.

This score was written 1979-1981 and is one of Kokkonen's last. It is dedicated to his wife who passed away in 1979. According to the Wiki article "....His composition activity slowed down greatly after the death of his wife and increased alcohol consumption. He had long planned a Fifth Symphony but nothing was ever committed to paper and it died with him." Kokkonen died in 1996, aged 74.

It's a fairly short work at ca. 35 minutes and Kokkonen omits the Dies irae. That gives the work a positive, gentle touch; there's only one loud, dramatic (brass & percussion) climax. The music has generally a tonal feel and the soloists interventions are often melismatic.
A truly beautiful work! I will listen again.
The performance is excellent (especially baritone Jorma Hynninen)

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: The Kokkonen Borealis
« Reply #47 on: October 11, 2018, 09:50:57 AM »
The discussion on this thread has prompted me to order the 2-disc BIS set of the 4 symphonies - it includes the Requiem and chamber symphony (sorry haven't got the correct name to hand) but omits the cello concerto.  I checked back through my collection and was a bit surprised to realise this will be my first encounter.  Oh the expensive danger of reading these enthusiastic threads!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Kokkonen Borealis
« Reply #48 on: October 11, 2018, 11:09:35 AM »
Listening to Joonas Kokkonen's Requiem after several years of "neglect", was a most welcome and moving experience.

This score was written 1979-1981 and is one of Kokkonen's last. It is dedicated to his wife who passed away in 1979. According to the Wiki article "....His composition activity slowed down greatly after the death of his wife and increased alcohol consumption. He had long planned a Fifth Symphony but nothing was ever committed to paper and it died with him." Kokkonen died in 1996, aged 74.

It's a fairly short work at ca. 35 minutes and Kokkonen omits the Dies irae. That gives the work a positive, gentle touch; there's only one loud, dramatic (brass & percussion) climax. The music has generally a tonal feel and the soloists interventions are often melismatic.
A truly beautiful work! I will listen again.
The performance is excellent (especially baritone Jorma Hynninen)
Very good to know Peter.
Thank you.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Kokkonen Borealis
« Reply #49 on: October 11, 2018, 11:12:21 AM »
The discussion on this thread has prompted me to order the 2-disc BIS set of the 4 symphonies - it includes the Requiem and chamber symphony (sorry haven't got the correct name to hand) but omits the cello concerto.  I checked back through my collection and was a bit surprised to realise this will be my first encounter.  Oh the expensive danger of reading these enthusiastic threads!
My apologies for reviving this thread after its two years hibernation!
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Online Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: The Kokkonen Borealis
« Reply #50 on: October 11, 2018, 11:15:13 AM »
Anyone here who has heard both the BIS and Ondine cycles of symphonies and has a comment on relative merits?
There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind. - Duke Ellington

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Kokkonen Borealis
« Reply #51 on: October 11, 2018, 11:19:30 AM »
Anyone here who has heard both the BIS and Ondine cycles of symphonies and has a comment on relative merits?

I have two separate Ondine versions of Symphony 4 plus the BIS version. My favourite is the older Ondine version conducted by Paavo Berglund (pictured above) however I liked all three versions.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline mourningdoves

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Re: The Kokkonen Borealis
« Reply #52 on: October 25, 2018, 06:39:07 PM »
I've heard some music by Kokkonen over the years and never had much of a reaction one way or the next. Then about 18 months ago I got on a kick where all I did was sample all the 20th-century solo piano I could get my grubby hands on, and I found an album on Spotify with the promising-enough title of Kokkonen: Piano Works. I can't explain what makes this music different from any other music from the last 100 years, but I felt like I was hearing a unique message from a near but cloudy future, as if there was an impending cosmological/spiritual discovery that was pretty disturbing but might turn out to be really great. (Is that explanation scientific enough for you??) I know very little about Joonas Kokkonen, but I got the very strong impression that this music came from some serious place in his psyche, and that his concerns weren't solely aesthetic.

The recording is by Janne Mertanen, on a 1998, if I can trust Spotify's dating system, release on the Alba label. I never found a physical copy - and even wrote to Arkiv suggesting that they add it to their reissue stack. I finally found a .flac on Presto Classical. I gotta give some of his orchestral music another try.

Online Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: The Kokkonen Borealis
« Reply #53 on: November 19, 2018, 12:53:57 AM »
I just listened to Kokkonen's 3rd symphony and found it a satisfying experience. I listened to a 1969 recording by Paavo Berglund and the Finnish Radio Symphony, on the Finlandia label (the "Meet the Composer" release I referred to above.

Quite a satisfying work and performance, I'd say. The audio is better than I have a right to expect from 1969. I can't say I have digested the music, but it left me wanting to hear it again. That's always a good sign.
There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind. - Duke Ellington

 

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