One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger


Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Seppo POHJOLA (b. 1965)
String Quartet No. 3 (2000) [14:14]
New York New York (2001) [13:04]
Game Over (1996) [19:04]
A Night at the Opera (2002) [6:25]
Liebelei (2001) [11:41]
Minttu Pesu (sop)
Zagros Ensemble/Dmitri Slobodeniouk
rec. Aug-Sept 2002, Kuusankoski Hall, Helsinki. DDD
ALBA ABCD 187 [65:06]

This is the second of two Alba CDs to come my way recently. The Tuukkanen disc presents music that takes us into Madetoja-Wirén territory. Pohjola’s music is contemporary with linkages to Nyman and Shchedrin. Wild pell-mell eerie hunts alternate with the reflective and the discursive. Rhythmic material is precious to Pohjola. An example of the interplay between patterning and melody can be heard at 12.00 onwards in the String Quartet where the composer has clearly been influenced by the Ravel quartet. The work ends in this pattering and whispering rustle.

New York New York (piano quartet) won the Uussävel competition at the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival in 2002. It is a work Pohjola had rewritten when he received the news of the destruction of the World Trade Center. Its searchingly poignant music shares a certain stillness with the Arvo Pärt Cantus, the piano music of Urmis Sisask and Schnittke's Spiegel im Spiegel. The angry Bartókian stony hammering of the central episode provides contrast.

Game Over (fl, cl, perc, pf, vn, va, vc) is from five years previously. The chatter of woodwind and percussion brings to mind the birdcall patterns of Rautavaara's Cantus Arcticus mixed with the moving mosaic of L'Enfant et les Sortilèges.

A Night at the Opera (soprano and string quartet) is a strange work in three sections. At first it has the soprano singing warming-up syllables like those in Bliss's Rout and Rhapsody. The piece is about love from besotted to pained to anger in betrayal. If you like Bliss’s The Enchantress perhaps with a more modernistic edge then you will like this.

Liebelei is said, by note writer Osmo Tapio Räihälä, to reflect Pohjola's passion for the cinema. The title is the same as that of the film by Max Ophuls. The music is laid out for wind septet, piano and string quintet. This chatters along, determined and busy, and then relents in some probingly elegiac writing.

Pohjola is of the same family as Erkki Pohjola, founder of the Tapiola Choir. Sakari Oramo, the conductor of the CBSO, is his cousin.

This is an extremely promising first disc.

Rob Barnett

We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.