Author Topic: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)  (Read 34303 times)

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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #40 on: June 18, 2008, 12:47:52 PM »
Thanks v much Colin for introducing me to the music of Aho. I have already lent Symphony No 4 to a CD nutter friend/colleague, who has already played it through twice in a row. No 1 or 2 or 10 next I think  :)

My very great pleasure, Jeffrey!

Now-take your discussion of Sir William's 1st Symphony off to the Walton thread! :) :)
(Where-you can tell me what you make of Paul Daniel's Naxos version-much praised elsewhere, including the Penguin Guide-and which I bought on that recommendation.)
« Last Edit: June 18, 2008, 03:04:58 PM by Dundonnell »

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #41 on: June 18, 2008, 01:20:02 PM »
Review by controversial (on these boards) David Hurwitz on Classics Today:

                                                           

                                                 



Kalevi Aho loves a challenge, though at times (as in his recent disc of concertos for contrabassoon and tuba) the effort can seem more an end in itself than a musically rewarding experience. Not so here. His Twelfth Symphony is a bold extravaganza for full orchestra, distant chamber orchestra, and extra brass and percussion "in the round". It was composed for performance in an outdoor amphitheater in Luosto, Lapland, and requires about 120 players and two singers whose wordless vocalise recalls similar moments in Nielsen's Third Symphony. This, then, is nature music--at least for the most part--supremely evocative and atmospheric (and full of arresting, attractive melodic invention).


The piece begins with some primal drumming and ends with a whopper of a storm as vivid as the finale of Aho's equally magnificent Symphonic Dances. In between there's a "darkness to light" second movement that reveals Aho's newly found love of the contrabassoon far more appropriately than his "symphony" for said instrument, followed by a lyrical "Song in the Fells" featuring the tenor and soprano soloists, plus saxophone.


Obviously a piece such as this was made for SACD recording, and BIS's engineers have captured the "surround" experience with exceptional vividness. That said, I still prefer to listen in regular stereo, and would sooner die than hear the thing outdoors, as originally intended. Happily, the work's musical substance is more than strong enough that its impact emerges just as powerfully through two speakers. So if you haven't invested in a surround system you have nothing to worry about. It goes without saying that the performance is outstanding, with John Storgards coaxing his battalion of players to produce a wonderfully full, integrated sonic experience. In other words, the spacial element sounds natural, not gimmicky, and the performance has as much to do with that as does the engineering. A wonderful disc for the adventurous. [5/23/2008]


--David Hurwitz
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #42 on: June 18, 2008, 03:36:06 PM »
This disc is released in the United Kingdom on Monday 30th June. So I, at least, will have to wait a fortnight or so to hear Aho's 12th.

Thanks to Mr. Hurwitz I have given the Symphonic Dances another listen.

This unusual work-which is the BIS coupling for Aho's Symphony No.11- was originally written as the third act of Uuno Klami's Ballet "Whirls". Klami intended the ballet to be his magnum opus(it is based on a story from the Kalevala about the forging of a magic Sampo) and spent time thoughout the 1940s and 1950s sketching out the music for the ballet despite reservations that the final work might be too difficult to perform at the National Opera in Helsinki. Klami died in 1961. The music for Act II had been completed but that for Act I was only in piano score. Aho orchestrated the music for Act I and both it and that for Act II have been recorded by BIS. He then went further and composed his own music for Act III. When the planned stage premiere of the entire ballet came to nothing because of the opposition of the Finnish National Ballet Director(despite the fact that Aho had received his commission for the National Ballet) permission was instead given for Aho's music to be separately performed. He retitled the work "Symphonic Dances-Hommage a Uuuno Klami".

It is certainly wildly magnificent ballet music, superbly orchestrated and performed with a supreme verve and elan by the Lahti orchestra. It again totally puzzles me why this orchestra cannot apparently be trusted with Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6! I can imagine however that as a ballet it would require expensive sets and performers whose skill would be severely tested. Anyway, most Russian ballet music post Stravinsky sounds extremely tame compared to this exciting score!
« Last Edit: June 18, 2008, 03:42:12 PM by Dundonnell »

Offline rickardg

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #43 on: June 18, 2008, 11:28:23 PM »
This disc is released in the United Kingdom on Monday 30th June. So I, at least, will have to wait a fortnight or so to hear Aho's 12th.

FWIW, if you're in a hurry it's available electronically on eclassical, iTunes Music Store and Naxos Music Library (the previous mention got lost in a discussion on kilts, clogs and cheese).  :)

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #44 on: June 18, 2008, 11:44:18 PM »
FWIW, if you're in a hurry it's available electronically on eclassical, iTunes Music Store and Naxos Music Library (the previous mention got lost in a discussion on kilts, clogs and cheese).  :)

It can also be found on eMusic (for those that have a subscription there).
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline paul

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #45 on: June 24, 2008, 12:26:25 PM »
I'm dying to play his quintet for saxophone, bassoon, viola, cello, and double bass. Does anyone know if a recording exists?

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #46 on: June 24, 2008, 01:35:48 PM »
                                                     
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline paul

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #47 on: June 24, 2008, 01:54:08 PM »
Thanks!

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #48 on: July 09, 2008, 02:59:56 PM »
I don't know how many members may have bought the new BIS CD of Aho's Symphony No.12 "Luosto"-but I can strongly recommend it!!

It is, admittedly, short measure at 48'56 but BIS has the grace to add a note to say-

"In accordance with the composer's wishes, this monolith of a symphony is allowed to stand alone, despite its playing time of just under 50 minutes. Its many-dimensional character-along with the huge forces involved-make it into a unique music and audio experience which renders any additional work meaningless in the context of a single SACD."

Goodness knows what the work sounds like in 5.0 Surround sound but it's pretty spectacular in ordinary stereo! The opening-with thunderous bass drums beating out hypnotic Shamanic drumming-is truly exciting and the last movement represents a storm in the wastes of Lapland with wind machines and rainsticks which is terrifyingly realistic.

 Review from David Hurwitz-
http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=200410

Unlike Mr. Horwitz, I would love to hear the work live in the open-air on the slopes of Luosto mountain! The fact that the LuostoClassic Festival plans to play the work every few years with different orchestras speaks volumes for Finnish cultural progressiveness!

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #49 on: July 13, 2008, 04:02:34 PM »
Any more feedback from those members who were off to explore more Aho?

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #50 on: July 13, 2008, 08:54:11 PM »
On 7.7.2008 I wrote this:



Listening to Aho's Second Symphony - dark, concentrated and intense.

I should listen to it for a second time to be less terse...
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline Est.1965

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #51 on: July 14, 2008, 04:23:56 AM »
On 7.7.2008 I wrote this:

I should listen to it for a second time to be less terse...

This is the Aho album I also have.  The second is indeed dark and intense, and magical too.  And isn't it amazing that dung beetles can play a major part in a symphonic work.
Dear Hans Rott
In the 1980s there was a creative punk group called "Big Audio Dynamite".  I have decided to apply the term to you, my man.  And I still haven't properly finished your Screenplay yet.  Too bad.  Take care anyway old chum, I'm off to listen to Brahms!
Kind regards, John

Offline Christo

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #52 on: July 14, 2008, 04:58:58 AM »
Any more feedback from those members who were off to explore more Aho?

Little yet, I'm afraid. I tried the Eight, but didn't come to grips with it in one listen. To be continued!  :)
… 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 Dundonnell

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #53 on: September 30, 2008, 08:14:33 AM »
For a splendid new and extraordinarily comprehensive survey of the BIS Aho survey see-

http://www.musicweb-international.com/Aho/Aho.htm


Offline vandermolen

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #54 on: September 30, 2008, 08:22:56 AM »
Any more feedback from those members who were off to explore more Aho?

Trying to limit mad/compulsive CD expenditure, so haven't ventured beyond No 4 yet: a great work.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #55 on: October 01, 2008, 12:42:24 AM »
I am listening to the Tenth. Will report back.

Have listened. I think the work hangs together very well. The atmosphere is serious. The third, slow, movement gives you a shock, like the opening of Rautavaara's Third does and for the some reason - the Return of Bruckner. Aho's Adagio quotes the Adagio from Bruckner's Ninth. This is such a striking move, I don't yet know how to assess the movement as a whole. Another composer this movement reminded me of was Stravinsky, the close of Orpheus.

I'll have to listen a second time.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2008, 01:50:21 AM by Jezetha »
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #56 on: October 01, 2008, 03:37:53 AM »
Thanks for the report, Johan :)

There can't be that many composers of Aho's age(under 60 that is) composing music of this sort and this quality today ;D

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #57 on: October 01, 2008, 03:48:44 AM »
Thanks for the report, Johan :)

There can't be that many composers of Aho's age(under 60 that is) composing music of this sort and this quality today ;D

I think I agree. The work is impressive, without sounding derivative. The Bruckner quote isn't a sign of weakness, either - I think Aho is invoking a whole tradition.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #58 on: January 02, 2009, 05:36:15 PM »
I just caught up on this thread. Fascinating reading, and (symphonic) Aho certainly had me at the Bruckner quote, if nowhere else!

Now, to draw up a battle-plan... I'll have a look at what's available locally, tomorrow morning, and see where I might take it from there. :)

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
« Reply #59 on: January 02, 2009, 05:55:49 PM »
I just caught up on this thread. Fascinating reading, and (symphonic) Aho certainly had me at the Bruckner quote, if nowhere else!

Now, to draw up a battle-plan... I'll have a look at what's available locally, tomorrow morning, and see where I might take it from there. :)

Good for you :) Go for it, young man ;D ;D