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Reviews: Fagerlund: Violin concerto, Ignite - Kuusisto, Lintu

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Reviews: 2

Review by wehecht July 28, 2015 (10 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Since none of our more musically knowledgeable folks has submitted a review of this outstanding disc I'll take the bit between my teeth and try not to embarrass myself or Mr. Fagerlund. In order to set the stage for my own comments and because I lack the musicological language necessary to describe what I'm hearing I'll quote a few lines from the notes: "Fagerlund's music is characterized by incessantly flowing, layered soundscapes, in which forceful, angular figures and static, brooding motifs trace out strong lines or exist as independent blocks....We hear incessant motifs, machine-like rhythmic figues and violent avalanches, which hint at Stravinskian primitivism and musical multiculturalism ranging from heavy metal to big band."

All of which sounds, at least to me, vaguely worrying and off-putting. And yet, while I can't dispute the accuracy of the description, it fails to explain how ultimately seductive the actual music is. This is music that drew me in, gently, slowly, and persistently until I felt almost mesmerized, and certainly transported into the composer's world of strange images and striking beauty. The performances by Hannu Linto and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra are superb but Pekka Kuusisto deserves to be singled out for his extraordinary rendering of the solo part in Fagerlund's violin concerto "Darkness in Light". The range of tone and expression that Mr. Fagerlund calls for is extreme and Mr. Kuusisto's execution is simply dazzling. The recording was engineered by Finnish Radio personnel and is quite realistic (I listened in mc only).

I can only end by recommending all three of BIS' Fagerlund sacds in the highest possible terms and extending thanks to Robert for his commitment to music outside the standard rep(see also: Fagerlund: Döbeln - Oramo and Fagerlund: Isola - Slobodeniouk).

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Review by JJ August 29, 2015 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
The Finnish composer Sébastian Fagerlund, born in 1972, studied violin at the Turku Conservatory before turning towards composition at the Sibelius Academy, where he obtained a diploma in 2004. His music deals most notably with nature, mixing spiritual and dreamlike visions, as well as ecstatic natural landscapes. Often qualified as a “post-modern impressionist,” he still remains anchored to a legacy – not forgetting a past of multiple influences – that is both occidental and oriental. With a consequential repertoire that embraces such different musical genres as opera or chamber music, it is in orchestral music that Sébastian Fagerlund is at his best. And the present recording proves it with force and conviction. “Darkness in Light” is the title of the Concerto for Violin that opens an enchanting program. Dating from 2012, it is a commission from the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and is dedicated to the violinist Pekka Kuusisto. “Ignite” for orchestra is a work in seven movements dating from 2010. It is also the fruit of a commission from the Finnish Broadcasting Company and is dedicated to the conductor Sakari Oramo. In order discover a contemporary composer whose musical discourse, which is both captivating and inspired, cannot leave one indifferent, this SACD is a first step one should make without further delay.

Jean-Jacques Millo
Translation Lawrence Schulman

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