NEW KYMI SINFONIETTA DISC ON THE INTERNATIONAL BIS LABEL –
VIOLIN AND CELLO CONCERTOS BY ONE OF TODAY’S GREATEST COMPOSERS
The Kymi Sinfonietta, with conductor Olari Elts, violinist Elina Vähälä and cellist Jonathan Roozeman, is releasing a new disc on the international BIS label on Friday February 3. The disc features two concertos by one of today’s foremost Finnish composers and symphonists, Kalevi Aho: his second Violin and Cello Concertos. Its release is keenly awaited, because the Violin Concerto was recorded before the Covid pandemic and the Cello Concerto was finally recorded in December 2021.
The recording is the fruit of long-term collaboration between the Kymi Sinfonietta and Kalevi Aho. The orchestra premiered his second Violin Concerto in the autumn 2016 season, with the outstanding Elina Vähälä as the soloist. It had been requesting something new from Aho for a decade. Chairman of the International Uuno Klami Composition Competition since 2003, Aho had got to know the Kymi Sinfonietta, was well aware of its all-round ability to perform new music, and eagerly set to work. Aho’s is, says Elina Vähälä, one of the best new concertos for the violin and she was only too happy to perform it. Its flamboyant style and its format make extremely great demands of the soloist, and Aho readily admits that it exploits the instrument’s potential to the full.
Encouraged by its warm reception, the Kymi Sinfonietta performed the Violin Concerto again in the spring 2019 season; the conductor was the orchestra’s Artistic Advisor Olari Elts and the soloist was again the greatly talented Elina Vähälä. The Concerto was heard not only in the Kymi Sinfonietta’s home cities Kotka and Kouvola but also at Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki. The concerts got rave reviews. The Concerto was then recorded for BIS in the aftermath of these concerts, at the Kuusankoski Hall in Kouvola in spring 2019.
BIS decided to couple the Violin Concerto with Aho’s Cello Concerto no. 2 premiered at the Naantali Music Festival in 2014. Aho himself has described the work as follows: “The core of the Concerto is the third movement, Adagio. The soloist dominates this cadenza-like movement throughout. As in my Double Cello Concerto, I have again tried to make it sit well on the cello, and I have personally tested on the cello (at a very slow tempo) everything I wrote for the solo instrument.” Aho’s Cello Concerto no. 2 was recorded at the Kuusankoski Hall with Olari Elts conducting in December 2021. The soloist was the dazzling rising cellist star Jonathan Roozeman, who summarised his feelings as follows: “It was a great honour for me to record Kalevi’s second Cello Concerto with the Kymi Sinfonietta and Olari Elts. I’m tremendously inspired by the work, and I eagerly await the disc’s release.”
The recording is especially significant in that Kalevi Aho is one of the contemporary Finnish composers in greatest demand internationally. His star has been very much in the ascendant in the past few years particularly. He is an unusually prolific and sought-after composer, and it has been a great honour for the Kymi Sinfonietta to record works by him. The fact that Olari Elts has profiled himself as an expert on contemporary Nordic and Baltic music makes this release even more momentous.
The release is also a major international boost for the Kymi Sinfonietta, a cultural dynamo in SE Finland, and for the orchestra’s image as a noteworthy, first-rate performer of new music. The Kymi Sinfonietta is the only company-based, two-city orchestra in Finland, and holds concerts regularly in Kotka and Kouvola.
The new CD can be purchased from February 3: online from BIS at www.bis.se, online from Naxosdirect, at well-stocked record shops and the Kymi Sinfonietta Office. It will also be on sale at Kymi Sinfonietta concerts. The distributor is Oy Fg-Naxos Ab in Finland.
Further info: www.kymisinfonietta.fi