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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Dundonnell on May 28, 2008, 02:43:07 PM

Title: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell on May 28, 2008, 02:43:07 PM
Quite a few members have mentioned in passing the outstanding contemporary Finnish composer Kalevi Aho. I think that he deserves a thread of his own!

I won't repeat what I said about him in another post but I shall provide the link-

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,7529.40.html

Hopefully other admirers might like to comment :) ;)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Greta on May 28, 2008, 03:11:48 PM
You've got my attention here!  ;D

Kalevi Aho is just great. And the disc with the Clarinet Concertos is fantastic. Martin Frost is a beast!

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51cto0ePwEL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I don't know a whole lot of Aho yet, but I love the Insect Symphony, it's outrageously fun and imaginative.

Special mention goes to his Symphonic Dances, a 30 min delicacy of air, wind, and fire, which wouldn't sound out of place in a movie! Vivid and dancy writing.

Dundonnell, what else can you suggest? He has written a lot...
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: gomro on May 28, 2008, 04:27:48 PM
Quite a few members have mentioned in passing the outstanding contemporary Finnish composer Kalevi Aho. I think that he deserves a thread of his own!

I won't repeat what I said about him in another post but I shall provide the link-

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,7529.40.html

Hopefully other admirers might like to comment :) ;)

I have one disc of Aho, the Symphonic Dances (after Uuno Klami) and the 11th Symphony. Both very fine; I need to try some more of his work!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Keemun on May 28, 2008, 04:38:06 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51cto0ePwEL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I've always thought that album cover is ridiculous.  What exactly is Martin Frost supposed to be doing?  Running from a clarinet thief?  Jazz dancing?  Winding-up to whack his agent with his clarinet?  ;D 


What are your recommendations for someone new to Aho? 
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Greta on May 28, 2008, 06:33:13 PM
I've always thought that album cover is ridiculous.  What exactly is Martin Frost supposed to be doing?  Running from a clarinet thief?  Jazz dancing?  Winding-up to whack his agent with his clarinet?  ;D 

Well, it's Martin Frost. ;D He's kinda crazy like that, see below...

Frost and Aho talking about the concerto

http://www.youtube.com/v/17DKJziXppQ

Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: vandermolen on May 29, 2008, 12:14:24 AM
This is a composer I need to explore. Where do I start please?
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell on May 29, 2008, 02:16:07 AM
Exploring the music of a new composer to whose idiom one feels attuned is a wonderful voyage of discovery(I know that sounds a bit pretentious-but it's true!). When it is a living composer one has the additional knowledge that the composer will develop his art further in the future(hopefully, at least). And when a record company has kindly put most of that composer's music onto disc the task is so much easier! :)

I started with Aho's Symphony No.1 because it was the first one recorded and because it had been highly praised by the perceptive British music critic Robert Layton-whose views I respect, particularly with regard to Scandinavian music on which he is an authority.
The 1st is clearly indebted to Shostakovich(the Shostakovich of the Eighth and Eleventh symphonies, for example) but shows considerable imagination for a 20-year old composer still in his first year as a student at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki(studying under Rautavaara)with its eerie distortions of a baroque idiom. The fourth movement is a very Russian-sounding, grimly impressive fugue of considerable power. It seemed obvious to me that this was a young man with something to say, that there was a clear underlying purpose to the music, that it was 'going somewhere'-which is not something, I fear, that I can say of some very modern music!

(I admit that I do like a lot of Scandinavian music for that very reason and because the serious, Nordic sound does appeal very much to my ear.)

Of course, Aho's idiom does develop and become somewhat more challenging in the later symphonies but I can appreciate and admire them all. He has not 'lost me' despite my 'conservative' tastes in music.

Sorry if I am rambling over-subjectively! :) I shall try to pull myself together to comment more objectively on some of the later symphonies anon.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: vandermolen on May 29, 2008, 05:21:54 AM
Colin,

That's actually very helpful. Thank you.

Jeffrey
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 29, 2008, 11:37:41 AM
I downloaded Aho's Eighth Symphony for organ and orchestra a few weeks ago, but haven't come round yet to listening to it. When I have, I'll report back.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Brewski on May 29, 2008, 11:46:14 AM
The only Aho I've heard is the "Insect" Symphony (No. 7), both the BIS recording and a broadcast online with Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra (recorded in 2005).  Fascinating piece, and one I'd like to get to know much better.  IIRC Vänskä intends to do more Aho on his Minnesota programs. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Drasko on May 29, 2008, 11:51:46 AM
He did very fine orchestration of Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death. Available on BIS with Salminen singing accompanied by Lahti/Vänskä.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell on May 29, 2008, 04:13:58 PM
To add a little to my earlier posts-

Aho's symphonies really divide into three groups:

Firstly, those he wrote whilst still in his twenties(Nos. 1-6, 1969-80). Of these, No. 1 is clearly indebted to Shostakovich with a very Russian sense of the grotesque, No.2 is a very fine work in one movement which, as in several of the early Aho symphonies makes extensive use of the fugue. No. 5, again in one huge movement requires a very large orchestra and, although it has received an adequate recording on Ondine by the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra under Max Pommer, BIS has not yet got round to recording either it or No. 6 because Robert von Bahr is looking for a larger orchestra than the Lahti Symphony to perform these works(which does seem a little odd since the Lahti orchestra has managed very well with the others!).

My own favourite out of these first six(I haven't heard No.6 of course) is No.4. This is on BIS-CD-1066 coupled with the Chinese Songs.
The symphony was composed in 1972-73(when Aho was 23 years old). It is a big symphony-44'20 minutes long and is immensely impressive, in my opinion. Yes, it does still-to an extent-remind one of Shostakovich or, to a lesser extent, Prokofiev-particularly in the violent percussive second movement-but there is a power and grandeur which is almost Brucknerian in its intensity without sounding like Bruckner-if I can make that distinction-in other words it doesn't sound like Rautavaara's 3rd.

Secondly, there is No. 7-the 'Insect Symphony'(1988)-which does stand apart from the others. Yes, it is great fun but it really is more of a suite, drawing as it does on material from Aho's Opera 'Insect Life'.

Thirdly, there are the symphonies Aho has composed for the Lahti Symphony Orchestra as composer-in-residence-Nos. 8-14. I haven't heard Nos. 12-14 but Nos. 8-11 are an extremely interesting and diverse group. No. 8 is for organ and orchestra, No. 9 is a virtuoso tour de force for trombone and orchestra, and No. 11 an amazing work for six percussionists and orchestra.

My own personal favourite out of the later symphonies is No.10(1996), a monumental masterpiece in my judgment and one of the greatest contemporary symphonies. The symphony quotes from both Mozart and Bruckner. It contains passages of tremendous lyrical outpourings from the strings, particularly in the 20 minute long Adagio slow movement.

I urge all those who have not heard any or much Aho to try Symphonies No.4 and No.10! They are fantastic achievements. I can think of few-if any-living composers still capable of writing such extended compositions combining strength, power and beauty as to be found in these two symphonies! As I write I am listening again to the Lento finale of No.4. It contains the most breathtaking desolation, a la Shostakovich, but a beauty too which recalls the magical world of the early Stravinsky ballets, just occasionally(believe it or not) Vaughan Williams-but all in a modern contemporary idiom. Sometimes I think of Schnittke but without the manic depressive overtones. I defy anyone not to be swept away, however, by the closing pages of a great symphony!

And...if you don't believe me, try this-

http://www.andante.com/article/article.cfm?id=12114&highlight=1&highlightterms=&lstKeywords=


There....enthusiastic enough for you?? :) :)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 29, 2008, 08:57:46 PM
You're setting your kilt on fire, if you're not careful, Colin! Calm down!

I'll download #4 and #10. Just to check the veracity of your rant, mind you, nothing more.

 ;)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: mr_espansiva on May 30, 2008, 12:16:08 AM
I've got the disc of No 4 with the Chinese Songs and it is a mightily impressive piece for a young composer. It may not quite sustain its length but it has an epic seriousness and traditional tonality that is quite rare in stuff written after the war.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell on May 30, 2008, 01:27:09 AM
You're setting your kilt on fire, if you're not careful, Colin! Calm down!

I'll download #4 and #10. Just to check the veracity of your rant, mind you, nothing more.

 ;)

I am sure that you will enjoy them, Johan.

Just for the record....never worn a kilt in my life :)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell on May 30, 2008, 01:27:50 AM
I've got the disc of No 4 with the Chinese Songs and it is a mightily impressive piece for a young composer. It may not quite sustain its length but it has an epic seriousness and traditional tonality that is quite rare in stuff written after the war.

Well said!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 30, 2008, 01:28:39 AM
I am sure that you will enjoy them, Johan.

Just for the record....never worn a kilt in my life :)

Neither have I any clogs...  ;)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell on May 30, 2008, 01:42:09 AM
 :)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: rickardg on May 30, 2008, 10:14:16 AM
I don't know if you've seen it, but BIS is releasing Aho's Symphony No 12 "Luosto". I'm listening to the first movement on Naxos Music Library as I type, lot's of exciting percussion and brass!

It's not on the BIS web site yet, but eclassical's got it (http://www.eclassical.com/eclassic/eclassical?&composer=Kalevi+Aho&q=aho&limit=0&genre_id=5&last_page=record_list&page=record_list&y=0&cd_nr=BIS1676&x=0).

Quote from: the blurb on eclassical.com
Aho: Symphony No. 12 (Luosto Symphony). Written for a performance on the slopes of Mount Luosto in Finnish Lapland, it makes use of two orchestras, two vocal soloists and a number of brass players and percussionists placed at various distances from each other and the conductor, surrounding the audience. The primary inspiration for this four-movement work came from the natural surroundings and traditions of Lapland, and parts of it were actually composed during a bitterly cold spell in the solitude of a cottage at the foot of Orresokka, the mountain next to Luosto.
Taina Piira, soprano; Aki Alamikkotervo, tenor; Lahti Symphony Orchestra; Chamber Orchestra of Lapland; John Storgårds, conductor.

(http://www.eclassical.com/i/pictures/bis/BIS-CD-1676_72_150.jpg)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Christo on May 30, 2008, 11:30:38 AM
Neither have I any clogs...  ;)

I, however, did  :D - and I even used to wear them, as a youth, when they were the most practical footwear imaginable, in that specific context. (However, a colleague who used to stumble around with them in an Amsterdam university, history department, 9th floor, was generally conceived to behave somewhat weird ... )  :)

At the same time: a never saw a windmill or for that matter: tulips, in my life.  8) And I never really tried Aho's music,  :-\  :'( even if I own a few BIS CD's, the Eight among them, bought in Stockholm, but perhaps never played ... I surely will now!!  0:) :)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 30, 2008, 02:42:52 PM
I, however, did  :D - and I even used to wear them, as a youth, when they were the most practical footwear imaginable, in that specific context. (However, a colleague who used to stumble around with them in an Amsterdam university, history department, 9th floor, was generally conceived to behave somewhat weird ... )  :)

Ah... Yes, the Free University - the English department where I studied (for a very short time) was one floor up...
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: vandermolen on May 31, 2008, 01:57:24 PM
Neither have I any clogs...  ;)

Yes, but I bet you eat lots of Edam cheese  ;D

Must try those Aho symphonies now.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 31, 2008, 02:47:57 PM
Yes, but I bet you eat lots of Edam cheese.

By the carload.

 0:)  ;D
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: marvin on June 10, 2008, 09:23:25 AM
Hello all!

Just wanted to let you all know that the brand new recording of Aho's Symphony No. 12 "Luosto" will be broadcast on "Classical Discoveries" on Wednesday morning, June 11 at 10:00 am (Eastern time).  The broadcast can be listened on line at http://www.wprb.com
The Classical Discoveries website address is http://www.classicaldiscoveries.org
A very exciting work!!

Best,
Marvin
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: vandermolen on June 14, 2008, 10:43:16 AM
Am listening to Aho Symphony 4. My first encounter with this composer. An extraordinary gripping work; clearly some influence of Shostakovich. Will probably take a few listens to get my head round it.

A section of the second movement sounds like it's straight out of George Antheil's 4th Symphony!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell on June 14, 2008, 04:56:19 PM
Am listening to Aho Symphony 4. My first encounter with this composer. An extraordinary gripping work; clearly some influence of Shostakovich. Will probably take a few listens to get my head round it.

A section of the second movement sounds like it's straight out of George Antheil's 4th Symphony!

I am delighted that you are giving Aho a go-so to speak! No.4 is indeed extraordinarily gripping. I am sure that it will reward future listens, Jeffrey!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: vandermolen on June 14, 2008, 10:18:42 PM
I am delighted that you are giving Aho a go-so to speak! No.4 is indeed extraordinarily gripping. I am sure that it will reward future listens, Jeffrey!

Thanks Colin, it is an extraordinary work and I already want to listen to it again. Some clear influences including DS and Antheil but it is also not like anything else either. I can't afford all the symphs, so after No 4 what would be your next recommendation?

Jeffrey
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 14, 2008, 11:49:10 PM
I downloaded Aho's 8th for organ and orchestra a few months ago. I think I'll have a listen...

Later: the work sounds like Rautavaara's 7th, but much wilder for most of its length. Though the last 10 minutes or so are as ethereal as anything Rautavaara can come up with. The work has great atmosphere. I'll have to listen to it again to understand its structure, though: it's in one movement and 50 minutes long.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell on June 16, 2008, 01:25:43 PM
Thanks Colin, it is an extraordinary work and I already want to listen to it again. Some clear influences including DS and Antheil but it is also not like anything else either. I can't afford all the symphs, so after No 4 what would be your next recommendation?

Jeffrey

I think that the Symphony No.10 is a masterpiece-it has the most beautiful and moving slow movement-but it is more 'advanced' in idiom('wilder' in Johan's terminology). Perhaps, therefore, I would suggest Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2. They were written when Aho was 20 and 21 years old and the composer was obviously still finding his feet but in both there is a clear sense of purpose and forward movement. The first and fourth movements of the 1st are fugues and the 2nd is entirely a triple fugue in one movement. Aho's explanation is worth quoting as an indication of his musical thinking-

"One(factor in his decision to use a fugue in a symphonic context) was a reaction against the developmental trends in the modern music of the 1960s. Tonality had broken down, melody had become a taboo subject, and musical form had become so fragmented that the formal logic of modern compositions was often very difficult to follow. In consequence an abyss opened up between the concert-going public and modern music. Modern music was displaced beyond the realms of normal concert activity; it came to occupy its own ghetto. The fugue form, which had already been pronounced dead, seemed to offer one possible solution-one well worth exploring-to the problem of reconciling the form of modern music and the reception it was accorded. This solution was to remain close to the traditional stereotype without hiding the structure at an unfathomably deep level."

These sentiments are 'music' to my ears. A contemporary composer seeking to communicate with his audience but without lapsing into either neo-romanticism or minimalism(not that I dislike either of these necessarily!),

I am extremely pleased that you rate the 4th symphony as "extraordinary"(obviously using the word in a complimentary sense) and hope that-in time-you will be able to explore more of the work of a composer I certainly have come to esteem.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Est.1965 on June 17, 2008, 04:21:40 AM
You cruel lot. >:(
This thread is so interesting on a composer I've never heard of that I'm going to have buy some. >:(
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell on June 17, 2008, 04:40:15 AM
You cruel lot. >:(
This thread is so interesting on a composer I've never heard of that I'm going to have buy some. >:(

Why are you  >:( ?

Go on...give Aho a try! I am sure that you will like him :)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Est.1965 on June 17, 2008, 04:48:11 AM
Why are you  >:( ?

Go on...give Aho a try! I am sure that you will like him :)

I am certain I will like him too Dundonnell.  It's my walet that dislikes being part of this forum. :P   Can't wait to get some, the eclassical link below will help!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell on June 17, 2008, 04:58:10 AM
I am certain I will like him too Dundonnell.  It's my walet that dislikes being part of this forum. :P   Can't wait to get some, the eclassical link below will help!

Yep, my bank balance is suffering too! I think that I am addicted to buying CDs-particularly of composers whose music I have recently discovered. I went through a phase of buying different versions of the same piece(usually one of the great/famous symphonies) but I can't afford to do that AND buy new music. Unfortunately, this does mean that I have a lot of obscure stuff to which I don't return! Never mind-there are worse ways to spend one's money :)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: vandermolen on June 17, 2008, 11:20:20 PM
Yep, my bank balance is suffering too! I think that I am addicted to buying CDs-particularly of composers whose music I have recently discovered. I went through a phase of buying different versions of the same piece(usually one of the great/famous symphonies) but I can't afford to do that AND buy new music. Unfortunately, this does mean that I have a lot of obscure stuff to which I don't return! Never mind-there are worse ways to spend one's money :)

Yes, I'm in the same boat here, with 20 copies of Walton's First Symphony etc  :o
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 17, 2008, 11:39:12 PM
Yes, I'm in the same boat here, with 20 copies of Walton's First Symphony etc  :o

Which is your favourite, Jeffrey? I love Walton's First, but I have noticed it is a special work that needs the right conductor to really bring it off. He has to match the intensity the music possesses.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Est.1965 on June 18, 2008, 04:17:14 AM
Ok, not so hard on my wee pennys this time, 7.99.  I have just bought it and am now going to listen to it - the seventh, 'Symphony of the Insects' sounds right up my street (a childhood thing) and I'm looking forward to it.  Will report back later.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: vandermolen on June 18, 2008, 10:45:53 AM
I think that the Symphony No.10 is a masterpiece-it has the most beautiful and moving slow movement-but it is more 'advanced' in idiom('wilder' in Johan's terminology). Perhaps, therefore, I would suggest Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2. They were written when Aho was 20 and 21 years old and the composer was obviously still finding his feet but in both there is a clear sense of purpose and forward movement. The first and fourth movements of the 1st are fugues and the 2nd is entirely a triple fugue in one movement. Aho's explanation is worth quoting as an indication of his musical thinking-

"One(factor in his decision to use a fugue in a symphonic context) was a reaction against the developmental trends in the modern music of the 1960s. Tonality had broken down, melody had become a taboo subject, and musical form had become so fragmented that the formal logic of modern compositions was often very difficult to follow. In consequence an abyss opened up between the concert-going public and modern music. Modern music was displaced beyond the realms of normal concert activity; it came to occupy its own ghetto. The fugue form, which had already been pronounced dead, seemed to offer one possible solution-one well worth exploring-to the problem of reconciling the form of modern music and the reception it was accorded. This solution was to remain close to the traditional stereotype without hiding the structure at an unfathomably deep level."

These sentiments are 'music' to my ears. A contemporary composer seeking to communicate with his audience but without lapsing into either neo-romanticism or minimalism(not that I dislike either of these necessarily!),

I am extremely pleased that you rate the 4th symphony as "extraordinary"(obviously using the word in a complimentary sense) and hope that-in time-you will be able to explore more of the work of a composer I certainly have come to esteem.

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  :)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: vandermolen on June 18, 2008, 10:52:56 AM
Which is your favourite, Jeffrey? I love Walton's First, but I have noticed it is a special work that needs the right conductor to really bring it off. He has to match the intensity the music possesses.

My opinion keeps changing Johan but the famous Previn version is not one of my favourite recordings as I think that it lacks mystery at the start, which is my crucial test:

My favourites are Boult (Pye/Dutton version not BBC Radio Classics)but it has a poor recording quality. I like the Sargent (unavailable), Thomson on Chandos is excellent, Haitink on EMI a worthwhile unidiomatic version. I prefer the later Previn RPO, which is more epic than the more famous recording. Mackerras (EMI/CFP) is very good as is Ashkenazy on Decca. For budget versions, Adrian Leaper, with the unlikely Orchestra of Grand Canary (Arte Nova) is very good indeed. Handley (EMI with Hindemith Variations) is v good.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 18, 2008, 12:31:36 PM
My opinion keeps changing Johan but the famous Previn version is not one of my favourite recordings as I think that it lacks mystery at the start, which is my crucial test:

My favourites are Boult (Pye/Dutton version not BBC Radio Classics)but it has a poor recording quality. I like the Sargent (unavailable), Thomson on Chandos is excellent, Haitink on EMI a worthwhile unidiomatic version. I prefer the later Previn RPO, which is more epic than the more famous recording. Mackerras (EMI/CFP) is very good as is Ashkenazy on Decca. For budget versions, Adrian Leaper, with the unlikely Orchestra of Grand Canary (Arte Nova) is very good indeed. Handley (EMI with Hindemith Variations) is v good.

Excellent survey, Jeffrey! Thanks!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Est.1965 on June 18, 2008, 12:47:30 PM
The Insect Symphony has set my kilt on fire.  :P
As has been said, it is not a bona fide Symphony (not following traditional Symphonic structure), but more of a suite.  I love the Dung beetles grieving over some stolen dung, and the fantastic foxtrot and tango of the butterfly...I just love this sort of thing.  Of course, on listening I am seeing a number of dung beetles observing and investigating a patch of dung which they once had delight in and planned to delight in again, except this time its gone, and the orchestral forces are smelling that lost love up for them as they scratch and scramble around the stolen dung patch, filled with suspicion and each one a possible suspect.  (Probably nothing like what Aho had in mind with his 'Dung beetles grieving over some stolen dung', but this is what the music 'does' to me.) ;D
'The Ants' is busy as hell, fine marching, just as I see them.
It looks like my next buy will be No 10.  I still haven't listened to number 2 though. :-[
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell 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.)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 18, 2008, 01:20:02 PM
Review by controversial (on these boards) David Hurwitz on Classics Today:

                                                           (http://classicstoday.com/images/coverpics/11705_coverpic.jpg)

                                                  (http://classicstoday.com/images/sp_art/p10s10.gif)



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
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell 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!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: rickardg 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 (http://www.eclassical.com/eclassic/eclassical?&composer=Kalevi+Aho&q=aho&limit=0&genre_id=5&last_page=record_list&page=record_list&y=0&cd_nr=BIS1676&x=0), iTunes Music Store and Naxos Music Library (the previous mention (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,7786.msg189051.html#msg189051) got lost in a discussion on kilts, clogs and cheese).  :)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 18, 2008, 11:44:18 PM
FWIW, if you're in a hurry it's available electronically on eclassical (http://www.eclassical.com/eclassic/eclassical?&composer=Kalevi+Aho&q=aho&limit=0&genre_id=5&last_page=record_list&page=record_list&y=0&cd_nr=BIS1676&x=0), iTunes Music Store and Naxos Music Library (the previous mention (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,7786.msg189051.html#msg189051) got lost in a discussion on kilts, clogs and cheese).  :)

It can also be found on eMusic (http://www.emusic.com/album/John-Storgards-AHO-Symphony-No-12-Luosto-MP3-Download/11224192.html) (for those that have a subscription there).
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: paul 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?
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 24, 2008, 01:35:48 PM
                                                     (http://www.emusic.com/img/album/108/881/10888188_155_155.jpeg)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: paul on June 24, 2008, 01:54:08 PM
Thanks!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell 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!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell on July 13, 2008, 04:02:34 PM
Any more feedback from those members who were off to explore more Aho?
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 13, 2008, 08:54:11 PM
On 7.7.2008 I wrote this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61RyBuMqvRL._SS500_.jpg)

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

I should listen to it for a second time to be less terse...
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Est.1965 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.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Christo 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!  :)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell 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

Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: vandermolen 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.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg 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.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell 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
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg 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.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Renfield 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. :)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell 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
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: matti on March 09, 2009, 03:15:48 PM
Born March 9th 1949. Balloons, cakes and fireworks!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 09, 2009, 03:18:21 PM
Thanks for pointing that out, Matti ;D

Many, many happy returns to a quite magnificent composer! May he write many more symphonies, concertos and other works!

And BIS....get on and record the missing symphonies please ;D
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: matti on March 09, 2009, 03:34:17 PM
I was in the audience when his Insect Symphony no 7 was premiered in 1989. He was younger then than I am now. How quickly time passes! I haven't even started my first. If I don't hurry, even Brahms will beat me.

 ;D
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 09, 2009, 03:43:43 PM
As you can probably see if you have looked through this thread I am a HUGE admirer of Aho's music ;D

One of my oldest friends is the former Director of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestram Hugh Macdonald. Hugh hired Osmo Vanska as Principal Conductor of the orchestra and they played some Aho with the composer present. Apparently Aho is a very nice man...as well as a very good composer :)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: matti on March 09, 2009, 04:06:51 PM
For my money Aho's music will live and prosper, (although) he is a very intellectual composer, very well aware of the past and the present music - as well as things aside, e.g politics. His appearance and utterance is that of a reserved intellectual, but in fact he is ALSO a hilarious lunatic! Just think about his 12th symphony... what a crazy idea!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 09, 2009, 04:58:27 PM
For my money Aho's music will live and prosper, (although) he is a very intellectual composer, very well aware of the past and the present music - as well as things aside, e.g politics. His appearance and utterance is that of a reserved intellectual, but in fact he is ALSO a hilarious lunatic! Just think about his 12th symphony... what a crazy idea!

I would love to go to Luosto to see and hear the symphony performed there :)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: snyprrr on March 09, 2009, 07:12:32 PM
i used to have that original Ondine cd with sym 7 and one other (5 ?) before BIS began their series. i remember being very impressed, and i liked to go between that cd and the original Rautavaara Ondine label symphonies. i remember thinking they were somewhat similar, but it's interesting how they've diverged since.

BIS BIS BIS...never ending.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell on April 02, 2009, 04:43:33 AM
Symphony No.14 "Rituaaleja" for sixteen strings, wind quintet and two percussionists will be released by BIS later this month in an intriguing coupling-

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/BIS/BISCD1686
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Benji on April 02, 2009, 08:57:46 AM
Symphony No.14 "Rituaaleja" for sixteen strings, wind quintet and two percussionists will be released by BIS later this month in an intriguing coupling-

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/BIS/BISCD1686

Oooooooooh!  ;D

I've been listening to the Symphonic Dances a lot lately. I only just cracked it after giving it a blast about once a year and now I can't get enough. It reminds me a lot of Bartók and Ravel, not through similarity in style at all, just through the tangible sense of the magical the music conjours. I'd gladly recommend it to anyone who loves The Wooden Prince, The Miraculous Mandarin or Daphnis et Chloe. And if that wasn't enough, the music would definitely win an award for most convincing use of wind machine, if such an award existed.  8)

p.s How beautiful are the closing few minutes?! 
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: monafam on July 15, 2009, 01:42:33 PM
I have three Aho symphonies to date (2, 7, & 12 -- which I all enjoy).  In addition, I have a Tuba Concerto and Contrabasson Concerto -- I may not have even known that these instruments were ever featured   :) but I like what I hear.   

I'm definitely an Aho fan and hope to add to my collection soon.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho SPACE (born 1949)
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on August 03, 2009, 07:47:10 AM
Symphony No. 6: I'm wondering if it has ever been recorded? If not, why not?
Yeah, Aho seems to be "traditional enough" for a 20/21st century composer in order to attract me. I'm knowing the Symphonic Dances.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 07, 2009, 11:47:47 PM
Oooooooooh!  ;D

I've been listening to the Symphonic Dances a lot lately. I only just cracked it after giving it a blast about once a year and now I can't get enough. It reminds me a lot of Bartók and Ravel, not through similarity in style at all, just through the tangible sense of the magical the music conjours. I'd gladly recommend it to anyone who loves The Wooden Prince, The Miraculous Mandarin or Daphnis et Chloe. And if that wasn't enough, the music would definitely win an award for most convincing use of wind machine, if such an award existed.  8)

p.s How beautiful are the closing few minutes?! 

Very persuasive. I have listened to a few of the symphonies, but these Symphonic Dances were still on my wishlist. Now's the time, I think, to have a stab at them.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on August 08, 2009, 09:17:49 AM
A number of years ago I ordered just one Kalevi Aho disc because as a big fan of Mattti Salminen I wanted to hear Aho's arrangement and orchestration of Mussorgsky's Songs and Dance of Death sung by Salminen. On the same disc is Aho's Symphony No. 3.

This disc rested peacefully in my collection, listened to rarely, and today I stumble upon this thread,  mainly because I wanted to see what one of my favourite GMG members, Jezetha had to say about Aho.

Thank you, Jezetha, thank you very much indeed, because now in my amazon basket are 6 Aho discs! - Before I click on 'order' please mail me your credit card number!  ;D -
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 08, 2009, 09:38:58 AM
A number of years ago I ordered just one Kalevi Aho disc because as a big fan of Mattti Salminen I wanted to hear Aho's arrangement and orchestration of Mussorgsky's Songs and Dance of Death sung by Salminen. On the same disc is Aho's Symphony No. 3.

This disc rested peacefully in my collection, listened to rarely, and today I stumble upon this thread,  mainly because I wanted to see what one of my favourite GMG members, Jezetha had to say about Aho.

Thank you, Jezetha, thank you very much indeed, because now in my amazon basket are 6 Aho discs! - Before I click on 'order' please mail me your credit card number!  ;D -

Just missed you, dear Brünnhild, ewiges Weib! Thanks for the very flattering words. But sorry - I don't have a credit card* (praise Wotan!)  ;)

* Credit cards aren't very common in the Netherlands...
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on August 08, 2009, 09:54:24 AM
So be it, I clicked on 'order' and shall search the net for new variations of Macaroni and Cheese, sustenance for the next months!

You mean you folks pay cash for all your purchases, cash, like in coins and pieces of paper?  :o
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 08, 2009, 10:19:27 AM
So be it, I clicked on 'order' and shall search the net for new variations of Macaroni and Cheese, sustenance for the next months!

You mean you folks pay cash for all your purchases, cash, like in coins and pieces of paper?  :o

No, most people simply have a bank card. It's mostly business people or those who stay or buy a lot in foreign parts, who own a credit card.

Remember Einstein's famous formula? (Brünnhilde)Ewig=macaronicheese2.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: gomro on August 09, 2009, 03:07:25 AM
So be it, I clicked on 'order' and shall search the net for new variations of Macaroni and Cheese, sustenance for the next months!

You mean you folks pay cash for all your purchases, cash, like in coins and pieces of paper?  :o

The voice that used to haunt me in such cases had only three accusing words to say:
"EAT THE CDS..."

All jokes aside, I'm about to spring for some more Aho too. I have the Symphonic Dances and the 11th and 12th symphonies -- anyone have recommendations for the ESSENTIAL Aho piece? Right at present I'm leaning toward the concertos for tuba and contrabassoon.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 09, 2009, 03:56:06 AM
-- anyone have recommendations for the ESSENTIAL Aho piece?

Well, Dundonnell, who started this thread, seems most enthusiastic about Symphonies 1, 4, and 10 (he'll correct me if I'm wrong). Those I've ordered along with 2/7 and the Symphonic Dances/11. Currently the only Aho I own is the Flute Concerto. Thanks to those responsible for reviving this thread. It's spurred me into action.

Sarge
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Benji on August 31, 2009, 06:51:19 AM
Very persuasive. I have listened to a few of the symphonies, but these Symphonic Dances were still on my wishlist. Now's the time, I think, to have a stab at them.

How did your stabbing go?  ;)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 31, 2009, 10:08:47 PM
How did your stabbing go?  ;)

Aho has survived it. Very attractive, colourful music.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on July 02, 2010, 01:56:14 PM
Bumping this because of the new release of a disk containing the second piano concerto and Symphony No. 13. This is one of my favorite new disks. The two pieces on the disk could not be any more different from each other. The piano concerto is scored only for solo piano and a 20 piece string orchestra. It is a work with piano writing that stems from the Brahmsian piano tradition, but is still in a modern idiom. It is quite a "joyful" piece (according to the composer) and makes use of the piano quite well. The Symphony is a huge work, clocking in at 40 minutes, and has two 20 minute movements. It uses a huge orchestra, including some brass placed in the audience (I didn't notice any spatial effects in the recording), and is a piece of extremes that is very soft at times, but very bombastic and loud at times. It is a serious piece in contrast to the concerto, with lots of smaller sections within the two large movements that are all interconnected.

Also, regarding the still unrecorded symphony, I read somewhere that the reason why it has not been recorded yet was because, and I directly quote, "it is too large for the Lahti Symphony Orchestra". As far as I know, they still have no plans to record it. The next recordings in production are the three chamber symphonies, the double bass concerto, the clarinet quintet, and the trio for clarinet, viola, and piano. All of this info came from email correspondence with BIS.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: just Jeff on November 13, 2010, 01:42:50 AM
Premiere recording of the Aho 4th Symphony:

(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af80/hiptone/LP%20covers_labels/Ahosym4FT.jpg)

String Quartet No. 3:

(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af80/hiptone/LP%20covers_labels/AhostringQno3FINLANDIAFT.jpg)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: CRCulver on July 15, 2011, 08:08:31 AM
I listened to the Cello Concerto this evening, my first exposure to Aho. Silly me, I thought Aho was a lightweight, easy listening composer as he studied under Rautavaara (and wrote a major study of that composer) and has stayed aloof from the Finnish modernists. But I haven't heard as much angry crashing and clanging since Pärt's early Credo or Carter's Symphonia, it's great. While I'm not so wowed to immediately go out and buy everything, I do intend on exploring Aho's output in greater depth when I find the time.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: snyprrr on July 18, 2011, 09:28:26 AM
I listened to the Cello Concerto this evening, my first exposure to Aho. Silly me, I thought Aho was a lightweight, easy listening composer as he studied under Rautavaara (and wrote a major study of that composer) and has stayed aloof from the Finnish modernists. But I haven't heard as much angry crashing and clanging since Pärt's early Credo or Carter's Symphonia, it's great. While I'm not so wowed to immediately go out and buy everything, I do intend on exploring Aho's output in greater depth when I find the time.

Do study this guy before purchase!

btw- I'm assuming that I'm seeing a lot of you Great Reviews on Amazon? ;)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: snyprrr on December 05, 2011, 09:20:58 AM
I listened to the Cello Concerto this evening, my first exposure to Aho. Silly me, I thought Aho was a lightweight, easy listening composer as he studied under Rautavaara (and wrote a major study of that composer) and has stayed aloof from the Finnish modernists. But I haven't heard as much angry crashing and clanging since Pärt's early Credo or Carter's Symphonia, it's great. While I'm not so wowed to immediately go out and buy everything, I do intend on exploring Aho's output in greater depth when I find the time.

How did he get up to 14 Symphonies behind my back? >:D

I just checked Amazon last night, and wow! :o, look at all that BIS! I used to have the Ondine disc of 5/7, but I'm curious, I've been turned on to the likes of Norgard 5 and I'm wondering if Aho (what an Aho! :D) has anything with the same submersing feeling?

14 Symphonies!! :o
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: springrite on December 05, 2011, 09:25:57 AM

14 Symphonies!! :o

Once a symphonist gets past #9 with no dire consequence, they sure take off, don't they?
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: snyprrr on December 05, 2011, 09:27:24 AM
Once a symphonist gets past #9 with no dire consequence, they sure take off, don't they?

Haha! ;) Just ask Segerstam,...oy! :o

Do you Aho?
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: springrite on December 05, 2011, 09:31:25 AM
Haha! ;) Just ask Segerstam,...oy! :o

Do you Aho?

Don't ask. Don't tell.







Alright, on occasions.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on December 05, 2011, 12:31:23 PM
14 Symphonies!! :o

Actually, Aho now has 15 symphonies (and I have recordings of all of them, teehee). He's probably the only other composer besides Shostakovich to write that many full length symphonies with such consistent quality. On the other hand, I recently heard Leif Segerstam's Symphony No. 212, which was nice, but... yeah, I can imagine there would be a serious proportional drop-off in quality in relation to quantity. I'm eagerly waiting Aho's 16th symphony (which I assume is coming) and any new BIS disks! His chamber symphonies are supposedly up next in BIS's release queue.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: snyprrr on December 05, 2011, 09:31:10 PM
Actually, Aho now has 15 symphonies (and I have recordings of all of them, teehee). He's probably the only other composer besides Shostakovich to write that many full length symphonies with such consistent quality. On the other hand, I recently heard Leif Segerstam's Symphony No. 212, which was nice, but... yeah, I can imagine there would be a serious proportional drop-off in quality in relation to quantity. I'm eagerly waiting Aho's 16th symphony (which I assume is coming) and any new BIS disks! His chamber symphonies are supposedly up next in BIS's release queue.

Gimme yer... Top5. Where to start? ???
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on December 05, 2011, 11:08:53 PM
Gimme yer... Top5. Where to start? ???

I'm not sure I could say where the best places to start are, but I can try my best. In no order: 1, 3, 7, 8, 13. I picked the two early symphonies 1 and 3 because I think that, even though they are heavily indebted to Shostakovich and other symphonists that Aho admires, they are very well crafted works and have some great music in them. The 3rd symphony is pretty much a violin concerto in all but name and is quite beautiful. The seventh is his "Insect Symphony", which takes music from his (as far as I know) unrecorded opera "Insect Life". It's a funny symphony that reminds me a lot of the satirical Schnittke. The eighth is a huge symphony with a large organ part. However, it is conveniently segmented into lots of short contrasting movements and has some very grand organ writing and some fierce sections that show off a lot of virtuosic interplay between organ and orchestra. The 13th symphony to me is a large sort of concerto for orchestra in two huge movements. It calls for a large orchestra that contains of all things a heckelphone (he seems to like this instrument) and some brass that is distributed in the orchestra. These are not necessarily my favorites, but I think these show off his style best and are the best places to start. Some others are quite quirky in their stylistic variety, such as the symphonies 9 and 14. The 9th symphony is sort of like getting in an erratic time machine, and the 14th symphony is like a trip to Africa, Indonesia, and the Middle East, all held together with European glue. I've heard all of them at least once, and there are some I definitely need to listen to a few more times, but as far as I've heard, I haven't found many relative weak spots in them that could happen with so much quantity. They've all held my attention, even though I definitely do prefer some over others.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: snyprrr on December 06, 2011, 07:01:17 AM
I'm not sure I could say where the best places to start are, but I can try my best. In no order: 1, 3, 7, 8, 13. I picked the two early symphonies 1 and 3 because I think that, even though they are heavily indebted to Shostakovich and other symphonists that Aho admires, they are very well crafted works and have some great music in them. The 3rd symphony is pretty much a violin concerto in all but name and is quite beautiful. The seventh is his "Insect Symphony", which takes music from his (as far as I know) unrecorded opera "Insect Life". It's a funny symphony that reminds me a lot of the satirical Schnittke. The eighth is a huge symphony with a large organ part. However, it is conveniently segmented into lots of short contrasting movements and has some very grand organ writing and some fierce sections that show off a lot of virtuosic interplay between organ and orchestra. The 13th symphony to me is a large sort of concerto for orchestra in two huge movements. It calls for a large orchestra that contains of all things a heckelphone (he seems to like this instrument) and some brass that is distributed in the orchestra. These are not necessarily my favorites, but I think these show off his style best and are the best places to start. Some others are quite quirky in their stylistic variety, such as the symphonies 9 and 14. The 9th symphony is sort of like getting in an erratic time machine, and the 14th symphony is like a trip to Africa, Indonesia, and the Middle East, all held together with European glue. I've heard all of them at least once, and there are some I definitely need to listen to a few more times, but as far as I've heard, I haven't found many relative weak spots in them that could happen with so much quantity. They've all held my attention, even though I definitely do prefer some over others.

Great,... I'm off!!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell on December 06, 2011, 09:30:24 AM
"Exploring the music of a new composer to whose idiom one feels attuned is a wonderful voyage of discovery(I know that sounds a bit pretentious-but it's true!). When it is a living composer one has the additional knowledge that the composer will develop his art further in the future(hopefully, at least). And when a record company has kindly put most of that composer's music onto disc the task is so much easier! :)

I started with Aho's Symphony No.1 because it was the first one recorded and because it had been highly praised by the perceptive British music critic Robert Layton-whose views I respect, particularly with regard to Scandinavian music on which he is an authority.
The 1st is clearly indebted to Shostakovich(the Shostakovich of the Eighth and Eleventh symphonies, for example) but shows considerable imagination for a 20-year old composer still in his first year as a student at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki(studying under Rautavaara)with its eerie distortions of a baroque idiom. The fourth movement is a very Russian-sounding, grimly impressive fugue of considerable power. It seemed obvious to me that this was a young man with something to say, that there was a clear underlying purpose to the music, that it was 'going somewhere'-which is not something, I fear, that I can say of some very modern music!

(I admit that I do like a lot of Scandinavian music for that very reason and because the serious, Nordic sound does appeal very much to my ear.)

Of course, Aho's idiom does develop and become somewhat more challenging in the later symphonies but I can appreciate and admire them all. He has not 'lost me' despite my 'conservative' tastes in music. "

"To add a little to my earlier posts-

Aho's symphonies really divide into three groups:

Firstly, those he wrote whilst still in his twenties(Nos. 1-6, 1969-80). Of these, No. 1 is clearly indebted to Shostakovich with a very Russian sense of the grotesque, No.2 is a very fine work in one movement which, as in several of the early Aho symphonies makes extensive use of the fugue. No. 5, again in one huge movement requires a very large orchestra and, although it has received an adequate recording on Ondine by the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra under Max Pommer, BIS has not yet got round to recording either it or No. 6 because Robert von Bahr is looking for a larger orchestra than the Lahti Symphony to perform these works(which does seem a little odd since the Lahti orchestra has managed very well with the others!).

My own favourite out of these first six(I haven't heard No.6 of course) is No.4. This is on BIS-CD-1066 coupled with the Chinese Songs.
The symphony was composed in 1972-73(when Aho was 23 years old). It is a big symphony-44'20 minutes long and is immensely impressive, in my opinion. Yes, it does still-to an extent-remind one of Shostakovich or, to a lesser extent, Prokofiev-particularly in the violent percussive second movement-but there is a power and grandeur which is almost Brucknerian in its intensity without sounding like Bruckner-if I can make that distinction-in other words it doesn't sound like Rautavaara's 3rd.

Secondly, there is No. 7-the 'Insect Symphony'(1988)-which does stand apart from the others. Yes, it is great fun but it really is more of a suite, drawing as it does on material from Aho's Opera 'Insect Life'.

Thirdly, there are the symphonies Aho has composed for the Lahti Symphony Orchestra as composer-in-residence-Nos. 8-14. I haven't heard Nos. 12-14 but Nos. 8-11 are an extremely interesting and diverse group. No. 8 is for organ and orchestra, No. 9 is a virtuoso tour de force for trombone and orchestra, and No. 11 an amazing work for six percussionists and orchestra.

My own personal favourite out of the later symphonies is No.10(1996), a monumental masterpiece in my judgment and one of the greatest contemporary symphonies. The symphony quotes from both Mozart and Bruckner. It contains passages of tremendous lyrical outpourings from the strings, particularly in the 20 minute long Adagio slow movement.

I urge all those who have not heard any or much Aho to try Symphonies No.4 and No.10! They are fantastic achievements. I can think of few-if any-living composers still capable of writing such extended compositions combining strength, power and beauty as to be found in these two symphonies! As I write I am listening again to the Lento finale of No.4. It contains the most breathtaking desolation, a la Shostakovich, but a beauty too which recalls the magical world of the early Stravinsky ballets, just occasionally(believe it or not) Vaughan Williams-but all in a modern contemporary idiom. Sometimes I think of Schnittke but without the manic depressive overtones. I defy anyone not to be swept away, however, by the closing pages of a great symphony!

And...if you don't believe me, try this-

http://www.andante.com/article/article.cfm?id=12114&highlight=1&highlightterms=&lstKeywords="


I wrote all this three years ago ;D ;D
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on December 06, 2011, 03:29:07 PM
That seems like a very good run through of his symphonic cycle. You really should check out 12-15, which could not be different from one another. 12 is of course the Luosto symphony, which is for orchestra and chamber orchestra, with tenor and soprano voices and an alto saxophone soloist. It is perhaps the most ambitious of his symphonies, which is meant to be performed outdoors at the foot of the Luosto mountain. There are some spatial effects in the recording, but I would imagine that it is one of those pieces where you really had to be at the premiere (as with most of these spatial or outdoors works). I talked about the 13th symphony a few posts ago, but now that I think of it, it seems to be almost a throwback in scope to the earlier, huge symphonies. The 14th symphony is for percussion soloist and chamber orchestra, and it is part of a concert-length cycle of 3 works, and the first two parts are Kysymysten Kirja (Book of Questions), which is a song cycle, and a Viola Concerto, and all three works are to be played attacca, almost as if they are one work. They are all performable separately, but they do share DNA, and they have similar sound. The solo percussionist plays darabuka, djembe, and gongs, but the piece doesn't have huge ethnic influences. The 15th symphony had its premiere this year. It reminds me of another recent work for orchestra, Minea (written in 2008), which has a real feeling of a procession, complete with ethnic drums and wind instruments playing incantation-like melodies. It has a much brighter, shimmering sound to it, though, than Minea. It has some similarities with the 14th symphony also, but it calls for a much bigger orchestra, and he exploits all of it.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: snyprrr on December 06, 2011, 10:02:49 PM
Wow, how can you not be impressed by Aho after those two Posts? :o :-* It's amazing how words can set of a firestorm of sounds in the mind.


I think there are many Composers (on BIS) who sound like Schnittke without the drama. That's good!

Thank you both.

Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Dundonnell on December 07, 2011, 11:47:05 AM
I have only very recently managed to come by copies of Symphonies Nos. 6 and 15-which makes the complete set for me too ;D-but have not yet had time to listen to them.

The trouble with such a recent quite amazing quantity of downloading of music I never expected in my wildest dreams to ever get the chance to hear is that there has been virtually no time-yet-to actually listen to much of it ;D ;D
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Christo on December 18, 2011, 02:18:14 AM
The trouble with such a recent quite amazing quantity of downloading of music I never expected in my wildest dreams to ever get the chance to hear is that there has been virtually no time-yet-to actually listen to much of it ;D ;D

That explains so many silences in a forum like this the best.  ;)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 30, 2012, 12:12:37 PM
I bought nine Aho recordings on BIS. I look forward listening to them and absorbing the music. He's certainly a fascinating composer.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 30, 2012, 07:54:29 PM
I just heard the first movement to Symphony No. 9 and it's amazing! Wow, I should have listened to a friend of mine from my days on TalkClassical that I would seriously enjoy Aho.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: radi on June 03, 2012, 03:23:54 AM
I just heard the first movement to Symphony No. 9 and it's amazing! Wow, I should have listened to a friend of mine from my days on TalkClassical that I would seriously enjoy Aho.

Symphony #9 is indeed a great piece. Fun and energetic.
Some of my favourites from Aho besides sym#9 include the Flute concerto, Clarinet concerto, Chamber symphonies 2-3 (recently released), Chinese Songs, Symphonies 3, 4, 11 (listen to the last movement, it's like you're in a sweet dream with some nightmares off and on), 12, 14.. But I do enjoy other stuff too, depends on my mood.
Can't wait for the release of Symphony #15. What a fantastic piece, I only have a radio recording of it. I heard BIS made a recording of it last summer with Slobodeniouk/Lahti SO, but so far it hasn't been released.
Aho seems to be a very productive composer, I think he had (or will have) four premieres this year. I hear he follows some kind of strict schedule that allows him to compose so much. How he keeps the level so high and keeps coming up with new ideas is beyond me. :) The latest I've heard of him are concertos for Percussion and Trombone. Both great pieces, unsurprisingly.


-r
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 03, 2012, 06:04:22 PM
Symphony #9 is indeed a great piece. Fun and energetic.
Some of my favourites from Aho besides sym#9 include the Flute concerto, Clarinet concerto, Chamber symphonies 2-3 (recently released), Chinese Songs, Symphonies 3, 4, 11 (listen to the last movement, it's like you're in a sweet dream with some nightmares off and on), 12, 14.. But I do enjoy other stuff too, depends on my mood.
Can't wait for the release of Symphony #15. What a fantastic piece, I only have a radio recording of it. I heard BIS made a recording of it last summer with Slobodeniouk/Lahti SO, but so far it hasn't been released.
Aho seems to be a very productive composer, I think he had (or will have) four premieres this year. I hear he follows some kind of strict schedule that allows him to compose so much. How he keeps the level so high and keeps coming up with new ideas is beyond me. :) The latest I've heard of him are concertos for Percussion and Trombone. Both great pieces, unsurprisingly.


-r

Thanks for your feedback, radi. Last night I listened to Symphonic Dances and thought it was absolutely thrilling. A first-rate work. I didn't think much of Symphony No. 3, but I know I'll need to listen to it again. Loved the Chinese Songs. Anyway, I'm still very new to this composer, but so far he's been quite consistent in what I've heard.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: nochmal on July 04, 2012, 04:21:09 PM
Aho seems to be a very productive composer, I think he had (or will have) four premieres this year. I hear he follows some kind of strict schedule that allows him to compose so much. How he keeps the level so high and keeps coming up with new ideas is beyond me. :)

I remember seeing an interview with him, where he said something like (I paraphrase from memory) "I don't do drafts – I start writing from the first page, and then continue to the end." I guess skipping a step saves some time?  ;D
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: radi on July 12, 2012, 01:38:02 PM
I remember seeing an interview with him, where he said something like (I paraphrase from memory) "I don't do drafts – I start writing from the first page, and then continue to the end." I guess skipping a step saves some time?  ;D

True. He only uses sketches rarely, just writes straight to the empty score pages with a pencil, and doesn't use computers. In an interview a few years ago he said (I'll try to translate): "You should be able to hear the music without tools (a computer). If a composer can't do that, then he's not a professional."
I'll try to translate parts of a radio interview from last March about his composing methods: "It's disciplined but not really inconceivable. My habit is to make complete scores without sketches. It speeds up the work immensely. You have to have a lot of experience to be able to write without sketches. You have to be really controlled and have a bright mind, you can't drink beer or anything. You have to be stone-cold sober ... As I've had a lot of commissions, I've learned to estimate how long it takes to write a single work. For example, I set aside four months for a concerto, six months for a symphony, an opera 1,5-2 years, chamber works a month or two, like big quintets and quartets ... Considering that I write a page a day, it means 120 pages in four months. Or if I write two pages a day then in four months it's quite a lot. Usually in works for orchestra I write two pages a day, and have some free days too, but still in four months it makes quite a lot of music." About using computers he says "It's a conscious decision. I've learned to use two composing software, Finale and Sibelius, and I tried to use them but I hated that the computer is there in between, and when you write a score you never see the whole page but only half of the page and you have to constantly move it up and down and take copies. For me it's much faster to write by hand, besides you get to see your own writing, your own work there. And also you can see two pages at a time. Even if they're only half-completed you'll get a better idea of the whole body."
About his near-future schedule he revealed that he's just begun writing an opera which is planned to be premiered in September 2014 in Helsinki. After that he's supposed to write two concerti, his second violin concerto and a concerto for soprano saxophone. And on to the 16th symphony after that...
About (SA)CD releases on BIS, I quote bissie on sa-cd.net: "It is going to be a bumper Aho year, starting with part 1 of his organ music in August (BIS-SACD-1946) and followed up with the Oboe Concerto (a really great piece) in November (BIS-SACD-1876), followed by...."

I hope you guys found something interesting in this post.  :)


-radi

edit: About the release schedule of the 15th symphony bissie wrote: "Kalevi Aho's 15th Symphony will, according to plan, be released in March of 2014, together with the Double-bass Concerto and Minea."
Sadly it's a long wait.. Well, at least I don't need to be holding my breath for a while anymore. :)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on July 12, 2012, 10:02:44 PM
Nice to see that there are more recordings in the works. I have to say that Minea is perhaps the best concise illustration of what Aho's music currently has to offer, and it will be good to get a commercial recordings of it.

Is Slobodeniouk the new guy for Aho? Vänskä did a great job with everything thus far, and I'd hate for him to fall out of the picture completely. I haven't heard much of Slobodeniouk, so I really don't know what to make of this. At least the Lahti players are going to continue in this series.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: radi on July 12, 2012, 11:36:42 PM
Nice to see that there are more recordings in the works. I have to say that Minea is perhaps the best concise illustration of what Aho's music currently has to offer, and it will be good to get a commercial recordings of it.

Is Slobodeniouk the new guy for Aho? Vänskä did a great job with everything thus far, and I'd hate for him to fall out of the picture completely. I haven't heard much of Slobodeniouk, so I really don't know what to make of this. At least the Lahti players are going to continue in this series.

Yeah, Minea is a great piece indeed. I like how it builds up from something small to an enormous virtuosic piece with complex rhythms and the full orchestra involved. Dare I say it's like Aho's Bolero. Nooooo, I didn't say that!  ;D
Somehow I've always felt that Symphony #15 is sort of related to Minea, except with more drama. Maybe it's the percussion sections that make me feel so.

I don't know if Slobodeniouk will be "the new guy". Lahti SO these days is led by Okko Kamu, but I've yet to hear him interpret Aho. Wouldn't worry about either of them though, both are very good conductors. Of course I wouldn't mind Vänskä recording Aho in the future. Perhaps something with the Minnesota Orchestra, I think that would be interesting. Or they might use various conductors and orchestras. The Contrabassoon Concerto was recorded with Bergen PO/Litton, Tuba Concerto with Norrköping SO/Rondin, Chamber Symphonies 1-2 with Tapiola Sinfonietta/Asbury and #3 with Kantorow, Sym#14 with CO of Lapland/Storgårds. All of those recordings are the more recent ones so it seems they don't use the same forces on every recording anymore.

-radi
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on July 13, 2012, 09:14:50 AM
That's right, I forgot that many recent recordings were made with other conductors/orchestras. I haven't heard one substandard recording yet, so I trust Slobodeniouk's recordings will be great, also.

Also, Minea is better than Bolero, heh.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 15, 2013, 07:42:32 PM
I rather like Aho's music now. I bought most of his recording on BIS and have went through them, but it seems now I appreciate his music much more. I listened to Symphonic Dances after a long hiatus and what a powerful work. Absolutely smoldering rhythms and the harmonic language was quite appealing. I'll be revisiting more of his music in the future.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: snyprrr on January 15, 2013, 09:18:04 PM
Thanks for your feedback, radi. Last night I listened to Symphonic Dances and thought it was absolutely thrilling. A first-rate work. I didn't think much of Symphony No. 3, but I know I'll need to listen to it again. Loved the Chinese Songs. Anyway, I'm still very new to this composer, but so far he's been quite consistent in what I've heard.

Here's your Post from June. ::) You still like the word 'absolutely' I see! ;)

You know I want to know which Symphonies you liked... tap, tap, tap! Especially from 8 onwards.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 15, 2013, 09:23:25 PM
Here's your Post from June. ::) You still like the word 'absolutely' I see! ;)

You know I want to know which Symphonies you liked... tap, tap, tap! Especially from 8 onwards.

Oh...absolutely. ;) :D

Anyway, I don't remember one note from his symphonies. I listened to Symphony No. 1 earlier and while it was a nice 'in the moment' kind of listening experience, I came away with nothing from it. That said, I'm going to try another symphony tomorrow. Maybe it will fare better.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on January 16, 2013, 01:45:31 AM
Aho didn't really find his own until from Symphony No. 7 onwards. The first symphony is a great little mishmash of influences from Shostakovich, Mahler, and his other idols that he composed when he was about 22, so it's hardly an indicator of his quality. I would suggest starting at the 7th symphony and moving onwards. When you actually develop a taste for Aho, then look at the earlier symphonies, which are great in their own right, but not for people starting out with his music.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: snyprrr on January 16, 2013, 07:53:15 AM
Aho didn't really find his own until from Symphony No. 7 onwards. The first symphony is a great little mishmash of influences from Shostakovich, Mahler, and his other idols that he composed when he was about 22, so it's hardly an indicator of his quality. I would suggest starting at the 7th symphony and moving onwards. When you actually develop a taste for Aho, then look at the earlier symphonies, which are great in their own right, but not for people starting out with his music.

It seems everything after the 7th is a monster:

No.8 (Organ Symphony) w/Pergamon

No.9 (Trombone Symphony) w/Cello Concerto

No.10 w/"...rejoicing..."

No.11 w/Symphonic Dances

No.12 ("Luosto", the 'mountain' one)

No.13??...

(     )

(     )


9, 11, or 12,... maybe 8,... that's what I'm curious about.

In my mind's eye, I hear a kaleidoscopic symphonic organic-ism,... in other words, I've formed EXPECTATIONS!,... so, I NEED the Aho that will fulfill those expectations, and I'm just sure that one of them will.

Which Aho will you live your life with?
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 16, 2013, 09:25:48 AM
Aho didn't really find his own until from Symphony No. 7 onwards. The first symphony is a great little mishmash of influences from Shostakovich, Mahler, and his other idols that he composed when he was about 22, so it's hardly an indicator of his quality. I would suggest starting at the 7th symphony and moving onwards. When you actually develop a taste for Aho, then look at the earlier symphonies, which are great in their own right, but not for people starting out with his music.

What are some of the characteristics of his mature compositional voice that I should take note of?
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on January 16, 2013, 10:05:45 AM
It seems everything after the 7th is a monster:

And some stuff before it is a monster, also. The 2nd, 5thn and 6th symphonies are very large works in one movement, and the 5th actually requires 2 conductors.

What are some of the characteristics of his mature compositional voice that I should take note of?

Just a few things to look out for are a great amount of satire and wit (not unlike Schnittke), usage of Eastern techniques (rhythms and scales), and very expansive landscapes of sound. There's a lot more to him than just these things, though, and some works ignore one or more of these elements completely. He has so much music that you will never get bored of it or find it predictable.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Brian on January 16, 2013, 10:10:41 AM
Just a few things to look out for are a great amount of satire and wit (not unlike Schnittke),

Indeed, I think it's the Ninth Symphony that has a lot of prankish jokes aimed at the classical era and a fake dance movement?

The Symphonic Dances are pure adrenaline, a piece that would raise the roof in concert.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 16, 2013, 10:19:29 AM

Just a few things to look out for are a great amount of satire and wit (not unlike Schnittke), usage of Eastern techniques (rhythms and scales), and very expansive landscapes of sound. There's a lot more to him than just these things, though, and some works ignore one or more of these elements completely. He has so much music that you will never get bored of it or find it predictable.

Interesting, thanks for the feedback.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 23, 2013, 07:03:27 PM
Just thought I would pass on my love for Aho. Goodness this guy is great. Thank God for BIS!!!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 23, 2013, 07:50:31 PM
Another great article by MusicWeb:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/Aho/Aho.htm
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on April 24, 2013, 05:08:57 AM
A new work by Kalevi Aho:

http://www.classiclive.com/Concerts/2013/April/Aho-Gejia-Finnish-premiere
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: relm1 on April 25, 2013, 10:12:41 PM
I remember seeing an interview with him, where he said something like (I paraphrase from memory) "I don't do drafts – I start writing from the first page, and then continue to the end." I guess skipping a step saves some time?  ;D

I love this composer for so many reasons.  Most importantly is because his craftsmanship is inspiring.  I don't think I've heard a single lazy note from him and that's unusual for some one so young and prolific.  It is as if he composed all his works as if it might be his last.  Additionally, like all great symphonists, he does not repeat himself but constantly progresses and expands what he says musically.  He is also someone who respects the symphonic tradition but still makes it his own.  I haven't heard all his music but have loved all I've heard from him.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: relm1 on December 04, 2013, 08:07:29 AM
The prolific composer, Kalevi Aho, is nearing completion on his Symphony No. 16 for the Finnish Radio Orchestra with voice - sounds interesting!  Has anyone picked up the new BIS recording with Minea and Symphony No. 15?
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: radi on December 04, 2013, 08:39:55 AM
The prolific composer, Kalevi Aho, is nearing completion on his Symphony No. 16 for the Finnish Radio Orchestra with voice - sounds interesting!  Has anyone picked up the new BIS recording with Minea and Symphony No. 15?

Thanks for the info. Can't wait to hear it.

Actually I've been meaning to write here about the Minea/Double Bass Concerto/Symphony 15 recording - to tell everyone that after a couple weeks of listening I've come to the conclusion that this is the single best Aho album so far in my opinion (and there's many great ones). Once again I'm amazed at what the man can still come up with, even with so many great and original works already. Symphony 15 for me is a close contender (with the Flute Concerto) for his very best single work.



Amazon.co.uk says that the CD won't be released until next month. Couldn't find it at all on Amazon.com. But you can get it from eClassical.com.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on December 04, 2013, 12:25:08 PM
Yup, have had that album for a couple of weeks. The Double Bass Concerto for me is a revelation, for it was the only piece I hadn't heard before (I had heard the world premieres of Minea and the Symphony No. 15). The duet between harp and bass in the first cadenza has to be one of my favorite parts of the whole work.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Brian on March 20, 2014, 04:51:13 PM
BIS CEO Robert von Bahr has some interesting things to say about Kalevi Aho's solo and concertante works for flute. The solo piece described below is "Solo III (http://www.eclassical.com/performers/bezaly-sharon/solo-flute-from-a-to-z-vol1.html)".

"I of course contacted Kalevi Aho, asking him, if he had anything for solo flute. He hesitated, but finally said, yes, but he was withdrawing it, since it was too difficult for anyone to play. I persuaded him to send the score, saying that I knew someone. Sharon [Bezaly] looked at it and said a flat "NO!" I told her that she would be pissing on me, because I had guaranteed that she could do it. So she relented, the recording was made, and I went to Finland with the first edit. Kalevi listened, listened again, and again, without a comment, then asked: Is this true, or had anything technically been done to make that speed? I said no and that this is why I guaranteed that Sharon could do it, and we agreed then and there that I commission a Concerto for her from him - a Concerto that I believe is the ultimate ever written for that instrument."
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on September 06, 2015, 12:30:03 PM
Watch Kalevi Aho's Symphony No. 16 here: http://yle.fi/aihe/tapahtuma/2015/09/03/thursday-series-1

Excellent piece, and it clocks in at 55 minutes. Another major work by this living legend.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: 71 dB on September 06, 2015, 03:20:03 PM
I think I should include Aho in my exploration of contemporary classical music. Too bad Naxos haven't released anything by him. I fear BIS because those discs are very often impossible to get cheap. However, the newer Aho discs on BIS seems to be SACD => stunning sonics.  :)

I'll see if I can listen to some Aho on Spotify and if the music is as great as people here say, maybe those BIS prices aren't that bad... ...or then I pass Aho and continue exploring on Naxos path... ...choices choices...
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: relm1 on September 08, 2015, 06:54:07 AM
Watch Kalevi Aho's Symphony No. 16 here: http://yle.fi/aihe/tapahtuma/2015/09/03/thursday-series-1

Excellent piece, and it clocks in at 55 minutes. Another major work by this living legend.

This was excellent, thanks for posting.  And posted by a fellow Los Angelino no less!  Aho is a rare composer who is very skilled and the craft of composition and also directly communicative.  I am glad he is so productive while maintaining high quality and individuality.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: vandermolen on September 08, 2015, 07:05:10 AM
Just ordered Symphony 11.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on September 08, 2015, 08:07:41 AM
Just ordered Symphony 11.

You won't be disappointed. For a work with 6 percussion soloists, it's often times very ethereal in much the same way that Takemitsu's From Me Flows What You Call Time is (although stylistically very different).
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: relm1 on September 08, 2015, 08:48:46 AM
You won't be disappointed. For a work with 6 percussion soloists, it's often times very ethereal in much the same way that Takemitsu's From Me Flows What You Call Time is (although stylistically very different).

I also think that like his fellow countryman and excellent symphonist, Rautavaara, Aho's output falls into distinct phases and has a linear progression one to the next.  It's not a bad idea to start at the very beginning and go in sequence though I don't believe No. 6 is available.  It seems like the categories are:

No. 1-4: Youthful and dramatic/epic
No. 5-6:Complex and full of turmoil  (though I've not heard 6 since it isn't yet available).  These might be more transitional symphonies from the Mahler/Shostakovich/Prokofiev of the earlier ones to the more individual later ones but all are well structured and easy to get in to.
No. 7-15: Large scale symphonies that might lose some of the grimness of the earlier symphonies but have a greater emotional range and architecture.
No. 16: somewhat different...maintains the large scale architecture but a lot of emphasis on texture and generally less manic.  Something of Shostakovich's No. 14 but less dark more poetic.

And thrown into the mix are concertante symphonies such as No. 3, 8, 9, 11, 13.

It's a great cycle and I'm hoping for much more to come!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: vandermolen on September 08, 2015, 09:46:25 AM
You won't be disappointed. For a work with 6 percussion soloists, it's often times very ethereal in much the same way that Takemitsu's From Me Flows What You Call Time is (although stylistically very different).
Thank you.  :)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on September 08, 2015, 04:00:00 PM
I have a recording of number 6. I'll have to relisten to the work and possibly plop it up on YouTube so others can hear it. From what I remember, it was very similar to 5, in that it was a large transitional work that doesn't quite fit into the mold that the other symphonies around it established.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 09, 2015, 02:26:22 AM
I don't find Aho that memorable of a composer nor do I think he has too distinctive of a compositional voice, but the concerti for clarinet and flute are among his most astonishing works IMHO. I also remember enjoying Symphony No. 10 a lot, especially with that long Adagio. Quite a powerful symphony.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: relm1 on September 09, 2015, 06:37:27 AM
I don't find Aho that memorable of a composer nor do I think he has too distinctive of a compositional voice, but the concerti for clarinet and flute are among his most astonishing works IMHO. I also remember enjoying Symphony No. 10 a lot, especially with that long Adagio. Quite a powerful symphony.

What do you think of No. 4?  That has some very fine long melodies and large scale structure.  For example:

https://youtu.be/5hAu4mQI8v8?t=2261

In the last movement, the William Walton trumpet fanfares (there are many trumpet fanfares and proclamations throughout this work) culminate in a huge multi octave sweeping string discourse that I find very satisfying.  He was maybe 25 years old when writing this so imagine a mid 1970's symphony by a young composer with such skill that incorporates the tradition and makes it his own.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on September 09, 2015, 07:27:16 AM
I don't find Aho that memorable of a composer nor do I think he has too distinctive of a compositional voice...

He doesn't really get a distinctive voice until partway through his compositional career (arguably just before his symphonies hit double digits), but even so, it's always been incredibly well-crafted music that rewards each time upon listening. I've not gotten bored with him yet, even his juvenalia.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 09, 2015, 02:35:02 PM
What do you think of No. 4?  That has some very fine long melodies and large scale structure.  For example:

https://youtu.be/5hAu4mQI8v8?t=2261

In the last movement, the William Walton trumpet fanfares (there are many trumpet fanfares and proclamations throughout this work) culminate in a huge multi octave sweeping string discourse that I find very satisfying.  He was maybe 25 years old when writing this so imagine a mid 1970's symphony by a young composer with such skill that incorporates the tradition and makes it his own.

I don't have an opinion of Symphony No. 4. I'll have to give it another listen at some point, but not anytime soon as I've got my own interests I'm pursuing now.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on September 13, 2015, 11:05:18 AM
Fellow Aho lovers should find this interesting. A good selection of his orchestral music is available for viewing on his publisher's website. It's a joy to see how his music works on paper.

http://www.fennicagehrman.fi/composers/aho-kalevi
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: snyprrr on September 13, 2015, 11:28:19 AM
I don't find Aho that memorable of a composer nor do I think he has too distinctive of a compositional voice, but the concerti for clarinet and flute are among his most astonishing works IMHO. I also remember enjoying Symphony No. 10 a lot, especially with that long Adagio. Quite a powerful symphony.

All this Aho talk has piqued my interest... AGAIN,... I still haven't cracked this can 'o worms open yet,... used to have the Ondine disc... oh, where to start?? I've asked this before...
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 13, 2015, 11:52:06 AM
All this Aho talk has piqued my interest... AGAIN,... I still haven't cracked this can 'o worms open yet,... used to have the Ondine disc... oh, where to start?? I've asked this before...

You could always start with the works I recommended. :-\
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 13, 2015, 12:43:47 PM
You could always start with the works I recommended. :-\

Why would he take your advice? You've made it clear Aho doesn't interest you. You've made it clear you won't be listening to him any time soon:

I don't find Aho that memorable of a composer nor do I think he has too distinctive of a compositional voice

I've got my own interests I'm pursuing now.

Why are you even posting in this thread?  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 13, 2015, 12:58:13 PM
Why would he take your advice? You've made it clear Aho doesn't interest you. You've made it clear you won't be listening to him any time soon:

Why are you even posting in this thread?  ;D

Sarge

Just because someone says they don't have a particular interest in a composer right now doesn't mean that they won't in the future. Remember who you're talking to. ;) I've had more phases than this earth has had seasons since its creation. :D Anyway, those works I recommend, I do believe a unique musical persona is at large. Anyway, I enjoy the works I mentioned and for this reason I have a right to be on this thread as much as anyone does whether I like one work or 20 of them.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 13, 2015, 01:11:51 PM
I have a right to be on this thread as much as anyone does whether I like one work or 20 of them.

Sure...but why do you think anyone would take the advice of someone who clearly states they have little to no interest in Aho? Why would you think snyprrr would be interested in the opinion of someone who has little knowledge of and almost no interest in the composer?

Sarge
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: relm1 on September 13, 2015, 03:11:22 PM
How in the world did you assume I have little knowledge of Aho? I own almost every Aho BIS recording to date and have heard many of his works on numerous occasions. I have examined his style and have paid attention to what it is this composer is about stylistically. Again, someone can make a recommendation despite how someone feels about the composer's music if there's actual music by said composer that I enjoy, thus, why I made the recommendation I did. This isn't some card trick. Also, I never said I didn't have an interest in the composer, I merely said, in passing, that I'm pursuing other interests at present. This doesn't imply anything nor should it be taken as some cold, hard fact. I like some of Aho's music, but, given how much time I've spent with the music, I have only found a couple of works worthy of my attention. I don't think he's a terrible composer by any stretch of the word nor did I make any such implication. You like more works then I do, then that's great, I'm happy for you and everyone else who does.

So, proceed good fellow. :)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 13, 2015, 03:38:38 PM
Mirror, you are sort of an arrogant prick.  I deduce this from your comments to me in Schnittke and now here as well.  Sarge did not say you have little knowledge of Aho.  He said you have no interest in him.  You might know everything about him but sure do act mightier than other opinions.   You are pretty consistently condescending and I take offense.

My apologies to Sarge and you, relm. I misread Sarge's post and overreacted. As a result, I deleted my post and with good reason. I'm not 'sort of' an arrogant prick. You don't know me from an atom, relm. I take offense to someone who has to use personal insults as a way of making a point. No need in that. Sorry for anything that I've said that offended you here or otherwise.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: relm1 on September 13, 2015, 04:08:27 PM
You know what, I am sorry too.  It just rubbed me the wrong way and I will edit my post.  I overreacted to your post.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Daverz on September 13, 2015, 06:29:01 PM
You know what, I am sorry too.  It just rubbed me the wrong way and I will edit my post.  I overreacted to your post.

Now I remember all those other times MI has said that "blah blah blah is not memorable."  It really shouldn't bother me, but it does.  I intend to retire the phrase from my own musical lexicon.

I think the last Aho that really grabbed me was the Trombone Symphony.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 13, 2015, 07:59:58 PM
Now I remember all those other times MI has said that "blah blah blah is not memorable."  It really shouldn't bother me, but it does.  I intend to retire the phrase from my own musical lexicon.

I think the last Aho that really grabbed me was the Trombone Symphony.

But people shouldn't take the criticism to heart. There are a lot of people who can't stand anything by Schnittke or Takemitsu, but I'm not worried about it as people are going to enjoy what they enjoy. As long as I'm not bashing a composer, I don't see any harm in stating my problem with a composer or just giving my reactions to the music. I mean, after all, this is what a forum is about. I mean we're not a bunch of 'yes' men/women.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on September 14, 2015, 12:18:13 AM
Some discussion back on the topic of the composer would be nice...

I found this dissertation on Aho's flute concerto, which contains a piano reduction by the author, quite interesting, and it might prove interesting to others as well:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CB8QFjAAahUKEwiP9JulmPbHAhVNrIAKHVpDC0w&url=https%3A%2F%2Frepositories.tdl.org%2Fttu-ir%2Fbitstream%2Fhandle%2F2346%2F58451%2FMCLACHLEN-DISSERTATION-2013.pdf%3Fsequence%3D1&usg=AFQjCNEplmfvEI8Aj5eKLb9w_O7NhlLsQQ&sig2=AWMIKG9F7nzhaLYOMeQUtg&cad=rja
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: snyprrr on September 14, 2015, 07:50:06 AM
I don't find Aho that memorable of a composer nor do I think he has too distinctive of a compositional voice, but the concerti for clarinet and flute are among his most astonishing works IMHO. I also remember enjoying Symphony No. 10 a lot, especially with that long Adagio. Quite a powerful symphony.

No.10 IS one that has been recommended before,... and now I'm really curious about the Flute Concerto.


My position on Aho, from the outside, would be that, clearly, with so much smoke over soooo many works, there MUST be some fire in there somewhere, and, with all these newer Syms. being lauded as having so many different directions, I can but only fantasize what I would be in store for.

OF COURSE- would I be over-expecting? I mean, at this point, I'm expecting Norgard-meets-Sallinen-meetsNature-meets-Sibelius-meets-SuperCoolSounds-meets-YourHighestExpectationsFulfilled,... so, I mean, I certainly don't want to pick the "wrong" work to blow my mind,... and, there's tooooo many CDs now, for the makings of a CDCDCD rash, a rabbit hole,... so,...



I'd be willing to try the No.10 disc (with Cello Concerto?), and then one or two of these huge later works, 11-16,... Sallinen-Norgard-Aho Axis????


I'm still unclear about 11-16,... the task seems overwhelming... and expensive!!!!$$$$
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949) SCIENTIFIC METHOD Sym. No.6
Post by: snyprrr on September 16, 2015, 05:36:31 PM
I have just applied my Patented Scientific Method to Aho's Discography, and Channeled all the Reviews, and blah blah, and I believe I can tell you what would be the Best Aho-

1) First, I've concluded that Symphony No.5 is the Monster here, and I do believe I had that Ondine disc, and remember a 30 minute single slab of non-stop density and loudness. And , then, everyone is waiting for the Symphony No.6 to come out, maybe this?

2) Then, it appears like a toss-up between Nos. 8 & 10, two more huge behemoths, but, broken up by movements.

3) The general Reviews for 11-15 have left me somewhat colder

4) The Cello Concerto emerges as something I'd like to hear. MI mentioned some great Flute Concerto, and also Clarinet, and,... what else here?


Frankly, for me, I think that's it. I might have let go of the Ondine disc because, though I may have appreciated the 5th, I can understand why I wouldn't want to be hearing it all the time. And then, the 7th isn't what we're looking for, so, my future with Aho probably lies with the CC, or Nos. 8 or 10.


Class Dismissed $:)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on September 16, 2015, 10:18:41 PM
Why not just take the plunge and listen to it all on eclassical.com or YouTube for nothing? Your preliminary reactions to the pieces without hearing them aren't really spot on...

I gave another listen to the 6th symphony today. It's definitely a monster, taking ideas from the 5th symphony a bit further. It leaves me puzzled, which I am not sure is a good or a bad thing. Maybe I'll post a detailed review soon...
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: CRCulver on September 17, 2015, 02:41:50 AM
I gave another listen to the 6th symphony today. It's definitely a monster, taking ideas from the 5th symphony a bit further. It leaves me puzzled, which I am not sure is a good or a bad thing. Maybe I'll post a detailed review soon...

Is that a radio recording you have? I've heard a rumour that the reason that the Sixth hasn't appeared on BIS is because Robert von Bahr considers it unrecordable, there's just too damn much going on.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on September 17, 2015, 07:45:16 AM
Yeah, I have a radio recording, probably of the premiere, of Jorma Panula conducting the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Too damn much going on? Unrecordable? I don't know about that. There are moments where it seems downright overwhelming, but it's nothing like I haven't heard before, though, and these moments where there are lots of layers are mostly in the first movement. The other movements (I think I counted two more but it is hard to determine) feature small groups of soloists more and the texture is much thinner. A translation of the program notes for this piece reveals that it is subtitled his Sinfonia Concertante No. 2 (oddly enough, his 9th symphony was at one point called his Sinfonia Concertante No. 2).
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: relm1 on September 19, 2015, 05:56:32 AM
Yeah, I have a radio recording, probably of the premiere, of Jorma Panula conducting the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Too damn much going on? Unrecordable? I don't know about that. There are moments where it seems downright overwhelming, but it's nothing like I haven't heard before, though, and these moments where there are lots of layers are mostly in the first movement. The other movements (I think I counted two more but it is hard to determine) feature small groups of soloists more and the texture is much thinner. A translation of the program notes for this piece reveals that it is subtitled his Sinfonia Concertante No. 2 (oddly enough, his 9th symphony was at one point called his Sinfonia Concertante No. 2).

I have it from a reliable source that there are plans to record the Symphony No. 6 but BIS hasn't found an orchestra for the task since it needs substantially larger forces that Sinfonia Lahti.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on September 19, 2015, 08:23:40 AM
I have it from a reliable source that there are plans to record the Symphony No. 6 but BIS hasn't found an orchestra for the task since it needs substantially larger forces that Sinfonia Lahti.

I've heard that same rumor. The forces required are: 4344, 1 heckelphone/4332, 1 baritone horn/12, strings

Now, that is large, but it is still not "substantially larger" than what has already been recorded in the part, particularly the 12th symphony. I think there is something else we are missing here.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: snyprrr on September 19, 2015, 03:18:56 PM
Why not just take the plunge and listen to it all on eclassical.com or YouTube for nothing? Your preliminary reactions to the pieces without hearing them aren't really spot on...

I gave another listen to the 6th symphony today. It's definitely a monster, taking ideas from the 5th symphony a bit further. It leaves me puzzled, which I am not sure is a good or a bad thing. Maybe I'll post a detailed review soon...

What would be your Top3 Aho Picks?

Am I wrong just to declare that Sallinen > Aho?,... as far as what I want,.. which is... mm,... let me get back to you,...

Maybe I'm feeling Aho is "too much"? I'm not sure I'd make it through the whooole Cycle, especially 11-16...

Basically, it's either buyBuyBUY!! some Aho, or just get the Sallinen Box. I get the feeling most everyone would go with the Sallinen Box?
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on September 19, 2015, 10:28:28 PM
I easily like Aho more than Sallinen. I haven't heard many pieces by Sallinen that have really grabbed me.

Top 3 Aho picks? That is too hard, not with his body of work. However, I would say that these disks are a good place to start:

http://bis.se/index.php?op=album&aID=BIS-CD-1316
http://bis.se/index.php?op=album&aID=BIS-CD-1066
http://bis.se/index.php?op=album&aID=BIS-1866

I think that the selection is very broad here, since you get a few of his different periods represented here. I especially think that the piano concerto no. 2 is one of the best piano concertos of the last little while and had to include that CD. The 4th symphony is from his earlier style, and I think it is the best of those early symphonies.

The now 16 symphony cycle is pretty rewarding. I don't think it is tiring to get through, even if some of them are quite long. The 16th is the longest, I believe, clocking in at just under 55 minutes. The 10th and 12th are around 45 or so. None of them feel overly long to me.

EDIT: I forgot that his 8th was 50 minutes. It's broken up into many smaller movements and hardly feels its length (in the best way). The 4th is around 42 minutes, the 13th is almost 40, etc. He might have 16 symphonies, but most are quite substantial.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: snyprrr on September 22, 2015, 03:57:07 PM
I easily like Aho more than Sallinen. I haven't heard many pieces by Sallinen that have really grabbed me.

Top 3 Aho picks? That is too hard, not with his body of work. However, I would say that these disks are a good place to start:

http://bis.se/index.php?op=album&aID=BIS-CD-1316
http://bis.se/index.php?op=album&aID=BIS-CD-1066
http://bis.se/index.php?op=album&aID=BIS-1866

I think that the selection is very broad here, since you get a few of his different periods represented here. I especially think that the piano concerto no. 2 is one of the best piano concertos of the last little while and had to include that CD. The 4th symphony is from his earlier style, and I think it is the best of those early symphonies.

The now 16 symphony cycle is pretty rewarding. I don't think it is tiring to get through, even if some of them are quite long. The 16th is the longest, I believe, clocking in at just under 55 minutes. The 10th and 12th are around 45 or so. None of them feel overly long to me.

EDIT: I forgot that his 8th was 50 minutes. It's broken up into many smaller movements and hardly feels its length (in the best way). The 4th is around 42 minutes, the 13th is almost 40, etc. He might have 16 symphonies, but most are quite substantial.

Yesterday, I YT'd most of each of these, in order:

Sallinen 3:= eh, not as I remembered... not what I'm looking for...

Aho 8: = oh noes, this is the organ symphony,... sorry,... next....

Sallinen 5:= ok, a little better than 3, but, mm, mmmaybe, but not really what I'm looking for...

Holmboe  8:= eh, no, too old fashioned... again, like Sallinen 3, just stormy post-Sibelius that I'm not looking for...

Sallinen 7:= more interesting...

Aho Cello Concerto:= noisy as fffffffffuuuuuu.....

Englund 'Blackbird':= ok, if it's going to be old fashioned, this is more what I like...

Blomdahl 'Facets':= ok, liked a little better than 'Blackbird'...

Aho 13:= eh,... not feeling the opening...

Aho 15:= HEEELLO!!!!! how surprising that I responded most to such a late work...

Nordgren 3:= YESSS!!! now this is what I was looking for!!!



So, the last two were most where I am in my post-Norgard world. IJUST CAN'T GO BACK and be impressed with Sallinen... yea, I was wrong there,... and now I certainly don't care about that Box...Norgard's Nature Music renders a lot of this just old fashioned to me... oy, and I forgot that earlier Aho could be soooo loud and noisy!!!! aye aye...

oh, btw-

Norgard 1:= ok, interesting,... not quite there, but somewhat interesting...


so, right now, Nordgren is the interesting one for me.... what of Norholm and Nordheim??? LOL!!!!! Norwahl??? LOL
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Wieland on September 25, 2015, 05:29:16 AM
I have a recording of number 6. I'll have to relisten to the work and possibly plop it up on YouTube so others can hear it. From what I remember, it was very similar to 5, in that it was a large transitional work that doesn't quite fit into the mold that the other symphonies around it established.
I would greatly appreciate if you do that. I have contacted BIS a year ago and they say they will record it but not any time soon. After listening to Sym 5 I wonder what could be even more difficult and challenging. I have all other symphonies so this would also complete my collection
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: snyprrr on September 28, 2015, 05:50:42 AM
I would greatly appreciate if you do that. I have contacted BIS a year ago and they say they will record it but not any time soon. After listening to Sym 5 I wonder what could be even more difficult and challenging. I have all other symphonies so this would also complete my collection

what do you recommend to the skeptic?
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Wieland on September 28, 2015, 06:15:18 AM
what do you recommend to the skeptic?
If you are a skeptic, it means that you know already some of his music. Sym 2-4 I would recommend to someone who just starts and who likes DSCH. If you are not interested in that period I would start with 10 or later. Actually I probably would recommend to start with 15 since you also get the tone-poem Minea and a double-bass concerto. If you don't like anything of this, just stop trying. Then Aho may not be your cup of tea.

Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: snyprrr on September 28, 2015, 01:09:38 PM
If you are a skeptic, it means that you know already some of his music. Sym 2-4 I would recommend to someone who just starts and who likes DSCH. If you are not interested in that period I would start with 10 or later. Actually I probably would recommend to start with 15 since you also get the tone-poem Minea and a double-bass concerto. If you don't like anything of this, just stop trying. Then Aho may not be your cup of tea.



Out of all the sampling, 15 was the one that spoke to me the most. OK, I'll file this one then...


I've been plowing through the Nordics here trying to find sooomething I like- Aho, no; Sallinen, no; Holmboe, no;,... Nordgren, maybe yes;, I do like Kokkonen (Sym. 4 today, two recordings); Eliasson, no; Norgard already taken care of; errrr, who's next???
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: vandermolen on September 29, 2015, 12:12:24 AM
Just received a second hand copy of No.11. Will report back.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Wieland on September 29, 2015, 03:38:09 AM
Out of all the sampling, 15 was the one that spoke to me the most. OK, I'll file this one then...


I've been plowing through the Nordics here trying to find sooomething I like- Aho, no; Sallinen, no; Holmboe, no;,... Nordgren, maybe yes;, I do like Kokkonen (Sym. 4 today, two recordings); Eliasson, no; Norgard already taken care of; errrr, who's next???
Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, Fartein Valen, Harold Saeverud, Halvor Haug...

Kokkonen 4 is one of the greats!!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: snyprrr on September 29, 2015, 10:39:46 AM
Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, Fartein Valen, Harold Saeverud, Halvor Haug...

Kokkonen 4 is one of the greats!!

What Lindberg would you recommend for those who've already been through the Ondine mill with him- and I don't have any of the Ondines anymore, sold a decade ago- and yet I surely want to give hi m another shot... the Sony discs?

Saariaho I have the one Ondine with 'fumee' and the Kronos piece... I like that, but have been wary of her other stuff.

Valen I have the SQ... Saeverud I would need the best possible recommendation...

Yes, Kokkonen is neck and neck woith Norgard in favorability


Any others? I'm all ears!!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Wieland on September 29, 2015, 11:16:17 AM
For me three of his best


Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: vandermolen on September 30, 2015, 10:40:19 PM


Kokkonen 4 is one of the greats!!
+1
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: vandermolen on October 01, 2015, 04:29:23 AM
Have just listened through Symphonic Dances, which I greatly enjoyed and I loved the hymn-like ending. Now on to Symphony 11.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho (born 1949)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 01, 2015, 04:31:54 AM
Have just listened through Symphonic Dances, which I greatly enjoyed and I loved the hymn-like ending. Now on to Symphony 11.

Do you mean Kokkonen, Lindberg, or Aho?  TIA  0:)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho (born 1949)
Post by: North Star on October 01, 2015, 04:42:57 AM
Do you mean Kokkonen, Lindberg, or Aho?  TIA  0:)


The Symphonic Dances are derived from Aho's completion of Klami's ballet Whirls - the premiere of which I managed to see.  8)
I should revisit the work, I recall enjoying it.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 01, 2015, 04:46:53 AM



The Symphonic Dances are derived from Aho's completion of Klami's ballet Whirls - the premiere of which I managed to see.  8)
I should revisit the work, I recall enjoying it.

Groovy, thanks!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: vandermolen on October 01, 2015, 10:43:29 AM
Hi Karl. North Star is right. I should have made it clearer.   ::)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: relm1 on July 18, 2017, 05:32:48 AM
Kalevi Aho has completed a massive new Symphony No. 17.

From the composer:
I have been asked a more detailed information about the 17th symphony, which was finished a couple of days ago. The subtitle of the work is “Sinfonisia freskoja” (Symphonic Frescoes). The titles and the durations of the three movements are: I. Syvyydestä (From the Depth; 26’); II. Scherzo macabre (13’30’’); III. Kaukaisia lauluja (Distant Songs; 23’30’’). The total duration of the work is 63 minutes. Each movement can be played also as an independent symphonic poem. The size of the orchestra is big, but not too big (about 70-75 musicians are enough). There are in the in the instrumentation three rare instruments: lupophone (the lupophone part can be played also by heckelphone or bassoon); contraforte (can be played also by contrabassoon) and organ (used as orchestral instrument; there are no solo cadenzas for organ as in my 8th symphony). The score has 274 pages and I started to compose the work in March. The premiere will take place in spring 2019.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Maestro267 on July 18, 2017, 10:29:07 AM
Oddly enough, I genuinely had a look last night to see if a Seventeenth Symphony was on the way, so this is very exciting news!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: lescamil on July 18, 2017, 04:30:08 PM
Kalevi Aho has completed a massive new Symphony No. 17.

From the composer:
I have been asked a more detailed information about the 17th symphony, which was finished a couple of days ago. The subtitle of the work is “Sinfonisia freskoja” (Symphonic Frescoes). The titles and the durations of the three movements are: I. Syvyydestä (From the Depth; 26’); II. Scherzo macabre (13’30’’); III. Kaukaisia lauluja (Distant Songs; 23’30’’). The total duration of the work is 63 minutes. Each movement can be played also as an independent symphonic poem. The size of the orchestra is big, but not too big (about 70-75 musicians are enough). There are in the in the instrumentation three rare instruments: lupophone (the lupophone part can be played also by heckelphone or bassoon); contraforte (can be played also by contrabassoon) and organ (used as orchestral instrument; there are no solo cadenzas for organ as in my 8th symphony). The score has 274 pages and I started to compose the work in March. The premiere will take place in spring 2019.

Whoa! I can't wait to hear this. Hopefully it will end up on the YLE site where we can listen to or watch it for free.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: North Star on July 18, 2017, 10:12:34 PM
Whoa! I can't wait to hear this. Hopefully it will end up on the YLE site where we can listen to or watch it for free.
Agreed, this is very exciting news indeed.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Maestro267 on January 11, 2019, 08:15:47 AM
The 17th Symphony is set for its world premiere as part of a 70th birthday concert for the composer on 4th April 2019: https://www.sinfonialahti.fi/konsertit-ja-liput-arkisto/symphony-concert-20/?lang=en (https://www.sinfonialahti.fi/konsertit-ja-liput-arkisto/symphony-concert-20/?lang=en)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: relm1 on January 11, 2019, 04:59:46 PM
The 17th Symphony is set for its world premiere as part of a 70th birthday concert for the composer on 4th April 2019: https://www.sinfonialahti.fi/konsertit-ja-liput-arkisto/symphony-concert-20/?lang=en (https://www.sinfonialahti.fi/konsertit-ja-liput-arkisto/symphony-concert-20/?lang=en)

Additional details (looks epic):
 3433 4332 13, harp, org, str [pic, afl, ehn, lupophon, bcl, contraforte]

Category

Works for Orchestra or Large Ensemble

Premiere

Sinfonia Lahti, Dima Slobodeniuk, cond. April 4, 2019, Lahti, Finland

Movements

I - Syvyydestä - From the deep
II - Scherzo macabre
III Finale - Kaukaisia lauluja - Distant songs
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Maestro267 on April 04, 2019, 06:24:56 AM
Bumping this thread as it is the day of the premiere of Symphony No. 17. No idea if it will be on Youtube afterwards, like No. 16 was, but you never know...

65 minutes, scored for large orchestra including organ...this looks awesome!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 27, 2019, 02:40:29 PM
I’m beginning to go through Aho now. The early symphonies i’ve heard haven’t done much for me but #8 I find very impressive.
I also love the disk with the tuba and contrabassoon concertos. These are amazing, both studies in the Wisdom of Bass Instruments, but quite different from each other (guess I better listen to the Double Bass Concerto).
Also found a recording of his SQ3 on YT. This very good, but I gather he hasn’t pursued SQs, which is a pity.
On to the later symphonies!
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 30, 2019, 01:26:57 PM
Oh, I’m surprised and rather disappointed that I haven’t found any works of Aho’s apart from those I mentioned above which I really like. Plus I have only a limited amount of funds to pour into the Swedish economy via Bis, so I think I’ll give Aho a rest for the moment. Even the much-praised Symphony No. 10 didn’t do anything for me  :(
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on August 30, 2019, 03:05:05 PM
We have to agree to disagree here about his symphonies.  8)

Some may sound shostakovian-like, granted, but I do feel they are better than imagined. They're bleak, heavy and with a touch of personal irony. From the 5th Symphony on is even more noticed. It begins to be free from the Shostakovich influence to become more personal. And regarding especially the 10th, for me has been tremendous, shocking and with a weirdly enthralling atmosphere. The orchestration is shattering in a good way, a consummate work and one that leaves a strong impression. The Adagio is the largest and impressive. It's close to a candidate to a masterpiece IMO.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: relm1 on August 30, 2019, 03:07:28 PM
Oh, I’m surprised and rather disappointed that I haven’t found any works of Aho’s apart from those I mentioned above which I really like. Plus I have only a limited amount of funds to pour into the Swedish economy via Bis, so I think I’ll give Aho a rest for the moment. Even the much-praised Symphony No. 10 didn’t do anything for me  :(

Check out 12, you might like that.  If not, then yeah, you'll prefer mozart or something.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 31, 2019, 12:11:43 PM
Check out 12, you might like that.  If not, then yeah, you'll prefer mozart or something.

Well I do like Mozart, but I comparing Aho to his contemporaries and near-contemporaires.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: relm1 on August 31, 2019, 03:37:07 PM
Well I do like Mozart, but I comparing Aho to his contemporaries and near-contemporaires.

So then Aho isn't your thing.  What do you want, mate?  If you've gone through everything people have recommended and don't like it, move on.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 31, 2019, 06:16:31 PM
Think I what's what I just told everyone I was about to do.  ;)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: pjme on September 11, 2019, 09:59:25 PM
(https://bis.se/shop/thumbnails/shop/17115/art15/h9011/5029011-origpic-7807e1.jpg_0_0_100_100_250_250_0.jpg)

The Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra was commissioned for Jörgen van Rijen, who also performs it here. The concerto is actually Aho’s second concertante piece for the trombone – his Symphony No. 9 (1994) included a substantial and very virtuosic solo part for the instrument. In that work, and even more so in the concerto, the composer’s aim has been to extend the expressive and virtuosic possibilities of the trombone. Composed around the same time, the Trumpet Concerto is scored for the wind section of a medium-sized symphony orchestra, plus two saxophones, baritone horn and percussion. It was given its premiere by the same musicians that perform it here, the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins supporting its principal trumpet Alain De Rudder in what is often a surprisingly jazzy work. (Source = BIS)

Alain De Rudder isn't only principal in Antwerp, he  works regularly with the Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt, the NDR-Sinfonieorchester Hamburg,he played with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and  I Solisti del Vento, Oxalys and Champ d'Action.
He is equally at home with the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, Collegium Vocale Gent, Il Gardellino, B’Rock, Le Concert Lorrain and. Gli Angéli Genève.

I only heard the trumpet concerto and liked its spiky dynamism.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on June 03, 2020, 12:23:30 PM
I'm taken by his concertos. This man has a great imagination to compose. And the variety of concertos he has written thus far is impressive, not to count the chamber works, symphonies, etc. Aho is clearly one of my favorite living composers.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: CRCulver on June 03, 2020, 01:38:42 PM
I'm taken by his concertos. This man has a great imagination to compose. And the variety of concertos he has written thus far is impressive, not to count the chamber works, symphonies, etc. Aho is clearly one of my favorite living composers.

I like Aho’s concertos of the 1970s and 1980s, but I find the concertos of the new millennium to be less inspired. In recent decades he set himself the challenge of writing a concerto for every instrument, even obscure ones, but a composer is not a factory and cannot churn out work of invariably outstanding quality simply because he wants to.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 03, 2020, 01:47:58 PM
I'm taken by his concertos. This man has a great imagination to compose. And the variety of concertos he has written thus far is impressive, not to count the chamber works, symphonies, etc. Aho is clearly one of my favorite living composers.

We are certainly in agreement, Cesar. I find much to enjoy in his symphonies as well. He’s also composed some song cycles that are worth exploring. I just did a recount and whenever I receive those three newer Aho recordings I ordered, I will own 21 recordings in total. All BIS, too, so it makes me wonder whether he has some kind of exclusive contract with them? I know there were some recordings on Ondine and maybe another label, but that’s about it.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 03, 2020, 02:58:51 PM
My Aho collection:

(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h8767/4438767-origpic-d853e5.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h8452/4438452-origpic-c65c43.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h2505/4442505-origpic-6104bc.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h7589/4447589-origpic-e8142b.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h5480/4435480-origpic-a94f46.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h4151/4434151-origpic-790c9b.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h4659/4444659-origpic-45ec95.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h5151/4445151-origpic-c55351.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h6616/4446616-origpic-52c36a.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h7108/4437108-origpic-f72b90.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h0337/4440337-origpic-a2a49e.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h0461/4460461-origpic-c4ce12.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h0385/4440385-origpic-98b541.png)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h9244/4819244-origpic-24f724.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h9011/5029011-origpic-7807e1.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h1427/5021427-origpic-cd4431.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h2972/5012972-origpic-b95fc1.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h5509/4835509-origpic-a79547.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h6936/4716936-origpic-654796.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h0163/4930163-origpic-ae57a1.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h9525/4439525-origpic-bbd062.jpg)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on June 03, 2020, 03:15:16 PM
I like Aho’s concertos of the 1970s and 1980s, but I find the concertos of the new millennium to be less inspired. In recent decades he set himself the challenge of writing a concerto for every instrument, even obscure ones, but a composer is not a factory and cannot churn out work of invariably outstanding quality simply because he wants to.

Those concertos you mention are the most "dissonant" and "aggresive" as far as I can hear. I've heard the Flute Concerto, Tuba Concerto, Timpani Concerto, and Clarinet Concerto, which are from 2000's. I've enjoyed them very much so far.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on June 03, 2020, 03:19:01 PM
My Aho collection:

(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h8767/4438767-origpic-d853e5.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h8452/4438452-origpic-c65c43.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h2505/4442505-origpic-6104bc.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h7589/4447589-origpic-e8142b.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h5480/4435480-origpic-a94f46.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h4151/4434151-origpic-790c9b.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h4659/4444659-origpic-45ec95.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h5151/4445151-origpic-c55351.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h6616/4446616-origpic-52c36a.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h7108/4437108-origpic-f72b90.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h0337/4440337-origpic-a2a49e.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h0461/4460461-origpic-c4ce12.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h0385/4440385-origpic-98b541.png)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h9244/4819244-origpic-24f724.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h9011/5029011-origpic-7807e1.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h1427/5021427-origpic-cd4431.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h2972/5012972-origpic-b95fc1.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h5509/4835509-origpic-a79547.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h6936/4716936-origpic-654796.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h0163/4930163-origpic-ae57a1.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h9525/4439525-origpic-bbd062.jpg)

Superb collection, John! From those discs I've heard all the symphonies. Most of them are really good. Now we need a recording of his Symphony No. 6 and the last ones (I think he has composed 17).
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: relm1 on June 03, 2020, 03:25:18 PM
My Aho collection:

(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h8767/4438767-origpic-d853e5.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h8452/4438452-origpic-c65c43.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h2505/4442505-origpic-6104bc.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h7589/4447589-origpic-e8142b.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h5480/4435480-origpic-a94f46.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h4151/4434151-origpic-790c9b.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h4659/4444659-origpic-45ec95.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h5151/4445151-origpic-c55351.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h6616/4446616-origpic-52c36a.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h7108/4437108-origpic-f72b90.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h0337/4440337-origpic-a2a49e.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h0461/4460461-origpic-c4ce12.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h0385/4440385-origpic-98b541.png)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h9244/4819244-origpic-24f724.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h9011/5029011-origpic-7807e1.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h1427/5021427-origpic-cd4431.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h2972/5012972-origpic-b95fc1.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h5509/4835509-origpic-a79547.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h6936/4716936-origpic-654796.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h0163/4930163-origpic-ae57a1.jpg)(https://bis.se/shop/17115/art15/h9525/4439525-origpic-bbd062.jpg)

Not impressed.  You are missing Symphony No. 5.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 03, 2020, 03:31:03 PM
Superb collection, John! From those discs I've heard all the symphonies. Most of them are really good. Now we need a recording of his Symphony No. 6 and the last ones (I think he has composed 17).

Thanks, Cesar. Yep, the 6th, 16th and 17th haven’t been recorded yet.

Not impressed.  You are missing Symphony No. 5.

I’m also missing a lot of chamber music that has been released, which I hope to remedy soon. The reason I didn’t get the 5th is because I’m sticking with BIS for the Aho releases. Hopefully, they'll record the 5th, 6th and the remaining ones like the 16th and 17th.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 03, 2020, 03:38:45 PM
Those concertos you mention are the most "dissonant" and "aggresive" as far as I can hear. I've heard the Flute Concerto, Tuba Concerto, Timpani Concerto, and Clarinet Concerto, which are from 2000's. They're not as I've enjoyed them very much so far.

I agree. The later concerti are quite inspired and the writing is some of the best he’s done in his entire career, IMHO.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: relm1 on June 04, 2020, 04:45:39 AM
I’m also missing a lot of chamber music that has been released, which I hope to remedy soon. The reason I didn’t get the 5th is because I’m sticking with BIS for the Aho releases. Hopefully, they'll record the 5th, 6th and the remaining ones like the 16th and 17th.

I was teasing since your collection puts mine to shame.  I once asked either Aho or BIS about No. 5 and No. 6 and one of them (sorry forgot who I asked) said No. 5 is extremely difficult to conduct and record.  Does anyone else know why these aren't available on BIS?  They are very fine based on youtube and the ondine recording but probably Aho at his most complex.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 04, 2020, 05:01:06 AM
I was teasing since your collection puts mine to shame.  I once asked either Aho or BIS about No. 5 and No. 6 and one of them (sorry forgot who I asked) said No. 5 is extremely difficult to conduct and record.  Does anyone else know why these aren't available on BIS?  They are very fine based on youtube and the ondine recording but probably Aho at his most complex.

Its a good question, indeed. I haven’t heard the 5th or 6th, but I couldn’t imagine them being any more difficult than the 12th, which calls for massive forces --- two orchestras I think.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 04, 2020, 03:19:39 PM
I wonder what Jeffrey (Vandermolen) thinks about Aho’s music?
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: kyjo on June 04, 2020, 03:43:54 PM
You guys are reminding me, I need to listen to more Aho! I’ve been quite enthralled by his timpani and flute concerti recently. Aho is especially good at creating mysterious, spellbinding atmospheres in his works.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 04, 2020, 04:03:21 PM
You guys are reminding me, I need to listen to more Aho! I’ve been quite enthralled by his timpani and flute concerti recently. Aho is especially good at creating mysterious, spellbinding atmospheres in his works.

Have you heard the Clarinet Concerto, Kyle? Yes, I agree about the mysterious nature of Aho’s music. Nobody sounds like him.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: arpeggio on June 04, 2020, 05:23:44 PM
There many living composers that are tonal and still evoke a unique sound world.  They prove that a C major is not obsolete.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 04, 2020, 05:27:10 PM
There many living composers that are tonal and still evoke a unique sound world.  They prove that a C major is not obsolete.

Very true. I take it you’re a fan of Aho? Any favorite works?
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: arpeggio on June 04, 2020, 05:44:58 PM
Very true. I take it you’re a fan of Aho? Any favorite works?

My favorite is his First Symphony.  Very impressive first.  I also like his Contrabassoon and Oboe Concertos.  I heard Frost perform his Clarinet Concerto.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 04, 2020, 05:52:54 PM
My favorite is his First Symphony.  Very impressive first.  I also like his Contrabassoon and Oboe Concertos.  I heard Frost perform his Clarinet Concerto.

Very nice, indeed. I’ll have to revisit his Symphony No. 1 soon. I don’t think I’ve heard the Contrabassoon Concerto yet.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: relm1 on June 05, 2020, 05:27:00 AM
Its a good question, indeed. I haven’t heard the 5th or 6th, but I couldn’t imagine them being any more difficult than the 12th, which calls for massive forces --- two orchestras I think.

I believed the 5th had two simultaneous tempos so needs two conductors if I remember correctly but overall, not that much worse than Aho at his more complex mode.  It could be orchestras are more accustomed to off tempi music after the past decade or two.  I recall Marin Alsop once mentioning after a rehearsal of Thomas Ade's Asyla that she realized she was the only person in the orchestra on a beat.  Everyone else was written to have a different rhythm than what she was conducting.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 05, 2020, 06:27:50 AM
I believed the 5th had two simultaneous tempos so needs two conductors if I remember correctly but overall, not that much worse than Aho at his more complex mode.  It could be orchestras are more accustomed to off tempi music after the past decade or two.  I recall Marin Alsop once mentioning after a rehearsal of Thomas Ade's Asyla that she realized she was the only person in the orchestra on a beat.  Everyone else was written to have a different rhythm than what she was conducting.

It appears that only one conductor is on the recording of the 5th:

(https://img.discogs.com/Hyv8c3WNlNHVKP4MHOSHjdAsZpQ=/fit-in/599x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-3154953-1318273273.jpeg.jpg)
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: kyjo on June 05, 2020, 09:45:55 AM
Have you heard the Clarinet Concerto, Kyle? Yes, I agree about the mysterious nature of Aho’s music. Nobody sounds like him.

I believe I started listening to it at one point but never finished. I should give it a more committed spin! ;)

Also, came across this on YT - an a live performance of the ending of Aho’s Minea (Concertante Music for Orchestra): https://youtu.be/Won_6LJ3Emg

What thrilling music, full of inexorable forward momentum and great percussion writing. Time to go listen to the whole thing! It’s contained on this BIS album:

Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 05, 2020, 09:49:17 AM
I believe I started listening to it at one point but never finished. I should give it a more committed spin! ;)

Also, came across this on YT - an a live performance of the ending of Aho’s Minea (Concertante Music for Orchestra): https://youtu.be/Won_6LJ3Emg

What thrilling music, full of inexorable forward momentum and great percussion writing. Time to go listen to the whole thing! It’s contained on this BIS album:



Yep, I own that recording. I’m not sure if you saw my Aho collection on the previous page or not, but I’d be interested in knowing what works you preferred or have enjoyed from my personal collection.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on June 06, 2020, 10:42:26 AM
I believe I started listening to it at one point but never finished. I should give it a more committed spin! ;)

Also, came across this on YT - an a live performance of the ending of Aho’s Minea (Concertante Music for Orchestra): https://youtu.be/Won_6LJ3Emg

What thrilling music, full of inexorable forward momentum and great percussion writing. Time to go listen to the whole thing! It’s contained on this BIS album:



I haven't listened to Minea yet. Sounds like a real treat for me. Thank you, Kyle.
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: relm1 on June 06, 2020, 04:37:23 PM
It appears that only one conductor is on the recording of the 5th:

(https://img.discogs.com/Hyv8c3WNlNHVKP4MHOSHjdAsZpQ=/fit-in/599x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-3154953-1318273273.jpeg.jpg)

It appears you didn't see this from the ondine site:

Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra
Max Pommer, conductor
Kalevi Aho, assistant conductor
Title: Re: Kalevi Aho(born 1949)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 06, 2020, 05:00:49 PM
It appears you didn't see this from the ondine site:

Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra
Max Pommer, conductor
Kalevi Aho, assistant conductor

No, I only looked at the back cover image. Thanks for the info.