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Helsinki Recital Hybrid SACD - DSD

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, June 12, 2007
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 12, 2007)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: Ondine
  • ASIN: B000PAAIBG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #628,614 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Keith O. Harmon on January 17, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In a disc assembled from live performances at the Finnish National Opera recorded in Super Audio CD by the fine Ondine label Karita Mattila and the pianist Martin Katz achieve a rare conversation between a full and supple dramatic voice and a piano which is allowed to be equal partner to the thrilling diva. In a program of Duparc, Saariaho, Rachmaninov, and Dvorak the demands for each artist are exhaustive and achieved in a manner which positions this recital disc as one of the most thrilling ever recorded for a public which should be most grateful.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Let me say at the outset that I love, luv, looooooove Karita Mattila's singing! Truly I do. I bought this cd as a gift and wish I had taken a closer look at the repertoire! It is interesting and beautifully sung, but most of it is not for the faint of heart. Unless you are a real conniseur of 20th century art song, pick a different CD by Ms. Mattila and enjoy her fantastic singing.
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Format: Audio CD
Karita Mattila's Helsinki recital in 2007 contained works by several composers. However, this review treats only Kaija Saariaho's "Quatre instants" (2003).

Present here in its original arrangement for soprano and piano, "Quatre instants" are four songs setting poetry by Amin Maalouf on love and desire. I found this piece disappointing in a couple of regards. For one, Saariaho's music with its microtonal inflections and careful management of overtones doesn't fit the piano well. Indeed, the piano is conspiciously missing from her output for solo instruments and duos, with only an inconsequential piece here or there. The subsequent arrangement of this material for soprano and orchestra is richer. However, Saariaho's writing has stagnated of late, with little of the spookiness of earlier works like "Amers", "Du cristal ...a la fumee" or -- to name something more recent -- her flute concerto. It seems that writing her first opera "L'amour de loin" set her on the path to retreading the same ground, with Amin Maalouf contributing text after text on the invariable themes of love, death and desire. All this focus on the human drama precludes any search for new sounds, other approaches to musical form. Furthermore, I'm unhappy with Mattila's grasp of French here.

Perhaps I wouldn't mind sitting through the piece when attending a recital, but listening at home with Saariaho's entire recorded output at my fingertips, I've always found it a struggle to get all the way through "Quatre instants" in this arrangement. Saariaho fans who are not completists ought to think carefully before investing in this import CD (with hybrid SACD layer) where her piece is only a few minutes of a longer recital.
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