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SALLINEN: Works for String Orchestra (Complete)

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 24, 2009
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SALLINEN: Works for String Orchestra (Complete) by Okko Kamu

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Product Details

  • Performer: Mats Rondin, Hanna Juutilainen
  • Orchestra: Finnish Chamber Orchestra
  • Conductor: Okko Kamu
  • Composer: Aulis Sallinen
  • Audio CD (July 24, 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alliance
  • Run Time: 65 minutes
  • ASIN: B0000014F3
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #628,337 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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The previous reviewer said it all I will just add a little complaint I felt about this music. Unknown to the works of Sallinen I first got hold of him being played by the Kronos Quartet playing an excerpt of String Quartet No. 3. Intrigued I bought this but felt disappointed. Sallinen doesn't exercise enough friction in his works, it's only the "joy of creating" that shines through withouth ever reaching the goal of creating something unique. Quartet No. 3 has a few enticing passages, mostly were he mixes it with the folkmelody but he doesn't manage to create a coherent work. Chamber Music II op. 41 for alto flute and string orchestra stands out as the best effort, clearly romantic in its building it has a sheer beauty much of the other works lack. Still, it's worth the money, but not much more. **(*) on the barometer.
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Format: Audio CD
Aulis Sallinen (b. 1935) is maybe the most famous Finnish composer abroad apart from Sibelius (or at least he was before Rautavaara), and String Quartet No. 3 (1970, arrangation for string orchestra 1981) is probably his best-known instrumental work - at least in Finland (Washington Mosaics, for example, might be better known abroad). Quartet No. 3 isn't a "real" string quartet in sonata form, but a one-movement series of variations on the Finnish folk tune Hintriikki Peltoniemi's Funeral March (better translation). The first two Chamber Musics make use of similar techniques, and elements of folk music are also present in them, though not so obviously. I (1975) is scored for pure strings, while II (1976) gets a special colour from a solo part for alto flute.
A common feature to these three works is that they are all (intentionally) short of thematic material, but it's viewed in many different aspects and varied richly through various possibilities of composition and playing that modern music can provide. Still, Sallinen's work is firmly based on traditions of tonality and melody which have sometimes made him known as a "Neo-Romantic" composer. His music is also easily approachable because of clarity, spontaneity and the unique feel of "joy of invention" that has been its characteristic trademark from the beginning.
In the two remaining works from the 1980s the "Neo-Romantic" epithet becomes more and more justified. Both compositions make use of some material from Sallinen's celebrated operas (The King Goes to France and Kullervo) and there's a slight touch of programme music in themselves, too. Chamber Music III (1986) contains a solo part for cello - a close instrument to Sallinen, whose major works include a concerto for it.
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