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Jouni KAIPAINEN (b. 1956)
Horn Concerto, Op. 61 (2000-2001) [27:53]
(Allegro maestoso - Cadenza [10:06]; 2. Larghetto [11:01]; 3. Vivace [6:47])
Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 65 (2002) [36:44]
(Andante febbrile; possibilmente rubato - Allegro con brio [17:38]; Largo - Cadenza attacca [13:20]; Allegretto [5:47])
Esa Tapani (horn)
Marko Ylönen, (cello)
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Hannu Lintu
rec. House of Culture, Helsinki, 3-4 Jan 2005 (Horn); 5, 7 Jan 2005 (Cello). DDD
ONDINE ODE 1062-2 [64:48]

Kaipainenís music is not hard work. If you can accept Shostakovich and Britten then you will have no problems on that count. He was a composition pupil at the Sibelius Academy of Sallinen and Heininen. To my ears it is Sallinen, himself a composer of Finlandís most grippingly exciting Cello Concerto, whose influence can on occasion be most clearly felt in these two works.

Kaipainenís Horn Concerto is no half-pint job. It runs to not far short of half an hour. The first movement is a tour de force with a real chasseur character. This carries over into the pell-mell howling-growling finale. Familiar landmarks include the horn writing in Brittenís Serenade as well as the ruthless determination of Arnold Cooke. At times the violence has an abrupt Panufnik-like tread. There are lighter moments too as towards the end of the movement where there is a husky cantilena from Sarasateís Zigeunerweisen. Not for the last time is Kaipainenís music allusive; in the slow movement of the Cello Concerto we get decidedly Tchaikovskian episodes. These retrospective references are more in the nature of fully resolved asides rather than extended pastiche. Not so much a case of Rochberg as of Silvestrov (Symphony No. 5) or, where the quote is direct, Shostakovich (Symphony No. 15). This is a composer who can wink gleefully at the listener, spiral and spin into sumptuously imaginative melodies yet hold open the door to the macabre and the tragic. He writes mercurial works where moods change chameleon-like within and between movements. The Cello Concerto across its three movements traverses nightmare intensity, calming ebb and flow and quicksilver fantasy. In its final gasp this concerto looks back to the ghastly visions of the opening. Both soloists are extremely impressive and the double stopping in the first movement of the Cello Concerto is almost forbidding.

The concertos two works are stunningly recorded; alive with detail both gritty and mellifluous. Design and documentation are all they should be. In fact Ondine have surreptitiously outstripped the national competition in presenting Finnish contemporary music. Long may they continue.

Worth remembering that Ondine have already recorded Kaipainen's Symphony No. 2, Oboe Concerto, Sisyphus Dreams. Helén Jahren, oboe, Finnish RSO/Sakari Oramo, on ODE 855-2. I have not heard this as yet.

Two grippingly unruly and imaginative concertos stunningly recorded and annotated.

Rob Barnett



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