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Aho: Symphony 4 / Chinese Songs Import


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Audio CD, Import, September 19, 2000
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$20.75
$20.75 $9.99
$20.75 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Aho: Symphony 4 / Chinese Songs + Piano Concerto No. 2, Symphony No. 13
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Product Details

  • Performer: Tiina Vahevaara
  • Orchestra: Lahti Symphony
  • Conductor: Osmo Vanska
  • Composer: Kalevi Aho
  • Audio CD (September 19, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Bis
  • ASIN: B00004YLCC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #597,729 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Chinese Songs, song cylce for soprano voice & orchestra: No. 1 - Punainen aurinko (The Red Sun)
2. Chinese Songs, song cylce for soprano voice & orchestra: No. 2 - Miten taipuisa (How Pliant)
3. Chinese Songs, song cylce for soprano voice & orchestra: No. 3 - Kultainen lintuhiusneula (The Golden Bird Hairpin)
4. Chinese Songs, song cylce for soprano voice & orchestra: No. 4 - Yöllä, aivan päihdyksissä (At Night, Very Drunk)
5. Chinese Songs, song cylce for soprano voice & orchestra: No. 5 - Syksyn tuuli (The Wind of Autumn)
6. Chinese Songs, song cylce for soprano voice & orchestra: No. 6 - Lumen keskellä kevään viesti (Amid the SNow, the Message of Spring)
7. Symphony No. 4: No. 1 - Adagio
8. Symphony No. 4: No. 2 - Allegro, Presto
9. Symphony No. 4: No. 3 - Lento

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By L. Johan on November 14, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The Finnish contemporary composer Kalevi Aho's (b. 1949) fourth symphony from 1972-73 is here coupled with the composer's song cycle "Kiinalaisia lauluja" ("Chinese songs" - sung in Finnish, beautifully performed by Tiina Vahevaara) from 1997.

This is contemporary music with a remarkable high musical quality and expressive impact - it is no wonder that Aho is regarded being Finland's leading composer of today. Because these two works are indeed original, deeply moving, powerful, and memorable.

Like many other contemporary composers, Aho is quite traditional in his harmonic style. That is, the style is 'traditional' in the shostakovian sense, looking backwards from a contemporary point of view.

The recording is clean and spacious, with perfect balance and detail, and the performance (Osmo Vänskä/Lahti Symphony Orchestra) is of course first class. Strongly recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By B. R. Merrick on November 4, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
He has an impressive résumé: student at the Sibelius Academy in Finland then in West Berlin, lecturer in musicology at Helsinki University, professor of compositions at the Sibelius Academy, and now composer in residence with the Lahti Symphony since 1992.

Why it is that the rest of the world hasn't heard more about this guy is beyond me. The subtleties of sound and motion in the Chinese Songs and the Fourth on this disc are too strangely intoxicating to be put into words. Amazingly, there are a great many similarities between Aho's Fourth and Shostakovich's, although Aho gets points for painting more mysterious and intruiguing pictures with his musical brush.

The Lahti Symphony, whose exactness and emotive force are evident with their handling of Sibelius, are up to the task here as well, although Aho seems content to branch out much further with tonality than Sibelius ever dreamed. This is one of the few living composers whose works I am as interested in as all the greats who have passed on, even though his sound is as modern as they come. I doubt you would be disappointed either.
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Format: Audio CD
The BIS label has recorded nearly all of Kalevi Aho's symphonies to date, and it has usually paired them with other orchestral pieces from this prolific Finnish composer. This release from 2000 is no exception, featuring his mighty fourth and a later song cycle. Osmo Vänskä leads the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, with soprano Tiina Vahevaara.

In his three-movement Symphony No. 4 (1972-73), Aho clearly took Shostakovich as a symphonic model. Indeed, the second movement is built up from martial drumbeats and eventually reaches the kind of "troops on horseback trampling peasants" sound found in Shostakovich and his epigones. However, in his programme note, Aho is quick to emphasize the abstract nature of this music, and certainly one can appreciate the musical development in itself without it being representational. From an early age, Aho showed great talent in writing counterpoint, which distinguishes the outer movements. He is also more ready to layer on the dissonance than his Soviet model. Consequently, I think this work will appeal to fans of e.g. Bartók and Nielsen as well.

While Aho went into pretty bleak and harshly dissonant territory in the early 1980s, he eventually came out of it and some of his later works go out of their way to appeal to a subscriber audience. A friend of mine applies the label "New Age" to Aho's recent music, but I don't find all the works as flaccid and samey as a Hovhanness or Rautavaara. In any event, the "Chinese Songs" for soprano and orchestra (1997) are quite heart-on-sleeve, unafraid to keep the soprano's line as purely beautiful and aria-like as possible; think Sibelius's "Luonnotar". These ancient poems by Li Yu, Zhuo Wenjun and Li Qingzhao are set in Finnish translation.
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