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Pekka Kuusisto, Finnish RSO, Hannu Lintu - Sebastian Fagerlund: Violin Concerto 'Darkness in Light'; Ignite (2015)

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Pekka Kuusisto, Finnish RSO, Hannu Lintu - Sebastian Fagerlund: Violin Concerto 'Darkness in Light'; Ignite (2015)

Sebastian Fagerlund - Violin Concerto 'Darkness in Light'; Ignite (2015)
Pekka Kuusisto, violin; Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Hannu Lintu

EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue&Log) ~ 214 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 135 Mb | Scans included
Genre: Classical | Label: BIS | # BIS-SACD-2093 | Time: 00:56:56

The style in which the Finnish composer Sebastian Fagerlund composes might be described as ‘magic realism’, combining elements of surrealism with factual narrative. Drawing upon the symphony orchestra’s full spectrum of colours, the music reflects not only the traditions of impressionism, modernism and post-minimalism but also reveals the composer’s acute ear for other genres, from cool jazz to ambient music. An earlier recording of orchestral works by Sebastian Fagerlund was described in BBC Music Magazine as displaying 'boundless technical resource at the service of a considerable imagination'. These qualities, and his receptivity towards different musical traditions Fagerlund shares with Pekka Kuusisto, to whom the violin concerto Darkness in Light is dedicated. The title of the work is a subtle reference to a quote from author Haruki Murakami’s novella Firefly: ‘Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it’. The disc closes with the orchestral work Ignite, composed for and performed here by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, under its chief conductor Hannu Lintu.

This is BIS’s third disc devoted to the music of the Finn Sebastian Fagerlund (b1972). David Fanning was not wholly convinced by the earlier orchestral release (including Isola and the Clarinet Concerto, 9/11) but I warmed rather more to the present pairing, in style not so dissimilar from his elder Swedish contemporary, B Tommy Andersson.

The Violin Concerto Darkness in Light (2012) was composed for and dedicated to Pekka Kuusisto, who gives a dazzlingly virtuoso account of it here. The three movements, as might be inferred from the title (derived from the writing of Haruki Murakami), explore and try to reconcile mutually exclusive elements, heard at the outset in the opposition of the dark writing for bass clarinets, timpani and tuba with the solo violin and supporting group of upper winds and bright percussion. Kuusisto navigates his way brilliantly through the gamut of effects including multiple-stopping, microtones, harmonics et al, all expressed within a broadly legato flow; even the more angular and hostile episodes serve to illuminate the music’s broader context.

Ignite (2010) is similarly a work of dark and light, its structure dominated by spirals, the music calming to near stasis as it approaches the centre before being flung out again into the turbulent finale. It is an invigorating and virtuosically scored symphonic poem and finds Lintu and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra fully on their mettle. Superb sound, as always from the black label.

Review by Guy Rickards, Gramophone

Finnish composer Sebastian Fagerlund has previously appeared on the BIS label with a Clarinet Concerto and other works made a Recording of the Month by Oleg Ledeniov. Many of the descriptive words used for that recording apply here, in a Violin Concerto which is symphonic in its orchestral scale and monumental in its intensity and white-hot pitch of creative engagement.

Violinist Pekka Kuusisto is a major partner in the composition of Darkness in Light, his skill as a performer and the artistic collaboration between the two artists “fuelled the composition process.” There is for instance a cadenza in which the composer trusts Kuusisto to improvise freely, resulting in some extraordinary but entirely idiomatic sounds from the violin. This is the kind of work you need to hear a few times to gain a real grip of its content, not because the idiom is difficult, just because there is so much happening that, like a good movie, you know there will be plenty of details and nuances to pick up on and appreciate during re-runs. The title ‘Darkness in Light’ covers every aspect and any associations you have while listening. The first and third movements might be considered devilishly dark and the second radiating heavenly light, but all are chock full of opposing tensions. The booklet points out the connection of these aspects with death and life, but in this case it is the desperate brevity of living and the infinite span of non-living which occupies us, referring to the Hotaru quote “’Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.’ Death illuminates life because being reminded of it intensifies the present moment.”

We are not permitted real repose in this concerto. The slow movement has its quietness and beauty but this is not sleepy stasis, rather a constant motion towards the unknown. The finale returns us to the wildness of the first movement, Bruscamente in action and tone. Fagerlund’s music has an inner life which is dramatic and theatrical as well as being a life-and-death struggle, the soloist often crushed by the orchestra but re-emerging as a defiant leader, the timbres of the orchestra filled with detail even when in full cry, the presence of the solo violin a pulsing artery without which the orchestra would atrophy.

Ignite is a fine coupling for the Violin Concerto, its dark moods and nervy restlessness occupying comparable terrain. The booklet directs us towards a ‘spiral movement’ in terms of formal structure, with musical material returning “as if from the point of view of a continually expanding orbit.” This creates continuity as well as a fantastic ride full of surprise and apparently endless invention, a “constant collision of ideas that ‘ignites’ new energy.” There are some fragments which might suggest John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine, and Ignite has a romantic streak which sets it apart from the more enigmatic concerto. There are cinematic effects and grand gestures which throw us into different ‘scenes’ like an instrumental opera, from perhaps the stillness of a dense forest in the Lento misterioso to a frenetic chase between mythical entities in the final Estalto.

Performed with remarkable virtuosity by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and with BIS’s usual superlatively detailed and ideally balanced recording, this is a release which deserves being heard by all enthusiasts for good 21st century music.

Review by Dominy Clements, MusicWeb-International.com

Pekka Kuusisto, Finnish RSO, Hannu Lintu - Sebastian Fagerlund: Violin Concerto 'Darkness in Light'; Ignite (2015)



Pekka Kuusisto, Finnish RSO, Hannu Lintu - Sebastian Fagerlund: Violin Concerto 'Darkness in Light'; Ignite (2015)



Pekka Kuusisto, Finnish RSO, Hannu Lintu - Sebastian Fagerlund: Violin Concerto 'Darkness in Light'; Ignite (2015)



Tracklist:

Violin Concerto 'Darkness in Light' (2012):

01. I. Energico - (12:51)
02. II. Lento intenso - (08:33)
03. III. Bruscamente (05:30)

Ignite for orchestra (2010):

04. I. Presto, furioso - (04:11)
05. Interlude I. Espressivo - (00:49)
06. II. Energico, molto ritmico - (07:00)
07. Interlude II. Espressivo - (01:04)
08. III. Lento misterioso, molto calmo - (11:38)
09. Interlude III. Intenso - (00:35)
10. IV. Esaltato (04:41)


Exact Audio Copy V1.0 beta 3 from 29. August 2011

EAC extraction logfile from 27. June 2015, 17:31

Finnish Radio SO, Hannu Lintu / Fagerlund - Darkness in Light; Ignite

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Additional command line options : -V -8 -T "Date=%year%" -T "Genre=%genre%" %source%


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9 | 51:39.47 | 0:35.23 | 232472 | 235119
10 | 52:14.70 | 4:41.07 | 235120 | 256201


Range status and errors

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Peak level 97.5 %
Extraction speed 2.1 X
Range quality 100.0 %
Test CRC 46D493E0
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No errors occurred


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==== Log checksum ECEC17C9C11081AF6DF90728F9621F967E35D2F4D7CC0BF72B36153C18FBF47E ====

foobar2000 1.2 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2016-03-19 13:16:34

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Analyzed: Finnish Radio SO, Hannu Lintu / Fagerlund - Darkness in Light; Ignite
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
DR16 -0.23 dB -21.82 dB 4:11 04-Ignite - I. Presto, furioso -
DR15 -7.05 dB -30.67 dB 0:50 05-Ignite - Interlude I. Espressivo -
DR17 -0.36 dB -23.01 dB 7:00 06-Ignite - II. Energico, molto ritmico -
DR10 -26.18 dB -44.92 dB 1:05 07-Ignite - Interlude II. Espressivo -
DR21 -0.77 dB -32.17 dB 11:38 08-Ignite - III. Lento misterioso, molto calmo -
DR11 -14.59 dB -33.22 dB 0:35 09-Ignite - Interlude III. Intenso -
DR16 -0.22 dB -21.87 dB 4:41 10-Ignite - IV. Esaltato
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Number of tracks: 7
Official DR value: DR15

Samplerate: 44100 Hz
Channels: 2
Bits per sample: 16
Bitrate: 514 kbps
Codec: FLAC
================================================================================

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Analyzed: Pekka Kuusisto, Finnish Radio SO, Hannu Lintu / Fagerlund - Darkness in Light; Ignite
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
DR18 -0.97 dB -26.63 dB 12:51 01-Violin Concerto 'Darkness in Light' - I. Energico -
DR15 -2.99 dB -25.27 dB 8:34 02-Violin Concerto 'Darkness in Light' - II. Lento intenso -
DR15 -0.97 dB -23.65 dB 5:30 03-Violin Concerto 'Darkness in Light' - III. Bruscamente
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Number of tracks: 3
Official DR value: DR16

Samplerate: 44100 Hz
Channels: 2
Bits per sample: 16
Bitrate: 514 kbps
Codec: FLAC
================================================================================

Pekka Kuusisto, Finnish RSO, Hannu Lintu - Sebastian Fagerlund: Violin Concerto 'Darkness in Light'; Ignite (2015)

All thanks to original releaser - A-Z

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