> Sounds from the Tampere Conservatory [HC]: Classical CD Reviews- Jun2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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This double-CD set is published by the Tampere Conservatoire and everyone involved (composers, soloists, conductors and orchestra) is – or has been – connected with the Conservatoire.

Jussi-Pekka NUTO (born 1962)
Clap (1997)a
Ilari LAAKSO (born 1952)

AM – Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (1992)a
Leonid BASHMAKOV (born 1927)

Clarinet Concerto (1990)b
Sakari VAINIKKA (born 1945)

Trumpet Concerto (1985)b
Esko SYVINKI (born 1943)

Piano Concerto No.1 Op.4 (1978)b
Lauri Voipo (cello); Pekka Ahonen (clarinet); Aki Välimäki (trumpet); Hikka Servo-Junttu (piano); Tampere Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra; Tuomas Piriläa, Juha Törmäb
Recorded: Tampere Conservatoire Hall, February 1999


Jussi-Pekka Nuto is the youngest composer featured in this selection. He studied at the Tampere Conservatoire with Bashmakov, Syvinki and Vainikka, and is now a full-time teacher at the Conservatoire. His orchestral piece Clap dates from 1997 and is thus the most recent work recorded here. It is a fairly short orchestral fantasy, a bit uncertain in terms of style and direction. It is at times redolent of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (however of the latter’s quieter moments), but it is quite expertly written.

Laakso’s AM from 1992 is more ambitious. It is in one single movement falling into several shorter sections. It opens rather tentatively, but the music really takes flight halfway through the work. The last section, which is by far the most successful, is really very fine and has a grand tune of great beauty cut short by an abrupt ending. A bit uneven, maybe, but well worth hearing.

Leonid Bashmakov, almost the "Grand Old Man" here, is a fairly familiar name in Finnish music. A number of his works (e.g. his flute concerto Impresioni Marine dating from 1974, available on BIS CD-687), have been recorded. He has a sizeable body of works to his credit, including nearly a dozen of concertos. His Clarinet Concerto is in one single movement made of several contrasted sections. It is a colourful, melodic, sometimes more dramatic work of some substance and a really fine addition to the repertoire; and one of the finest works here.

Sakari Vainikka’s Trumpet Concerto dating from 1985, also in one movement, is a quite nice piece of music, full of fine ideas which emphasise the trumpet’s lyrical qualities rather than its more virtuosic possibilities. The overall mood of the piece is rather elegiac and meditative than overtly exuberant, but the solo part is still quite demanding in flawless, expressive legato playing more than in sheer bravura fireworks. A quite substantial and very accessible piece of music that should definitely be better known. I for one would certainly want to hear more of his music.

Esko Syvinki’s Piano Concerto No.1 Op.4 from 1978 is a longer, more ambitious work. It is in five contrasted movements: a slow introduction for piano leading into a lively Allegro fading into the first slow movement Andante inquieto followed by a fanciful Scherzo, a second slow movement with cadenza, and a final Allegro (subtitled Dithyrambos). As the other pieces recorded here, Syvinki’s concerto is cast in a fairly traditional idiom (i.e. in 20th Century terms) often redolent of, say, Prokofiev, but none the worse for that.

Most composers here were totally unknown to me, which is a reason why releases such as the present one should be encouraged, though they might be of more local interest; but they provide for a most welcome opportunity to get in touch with unfamiliar, worthwhile music, the more so when the standards of performance are as high as here. The student orchestra may sound a bit under-nourished (particularly the string section) but play with assurance and dedication. Well worth investigating, especially for the Bashmakov and the Vainikka concertos.

Hubert Culot


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