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Aho: Concertos For Violin & Cello

Aho: Concertos For Violin & Cello

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Having broken off work on a second violin concerto in 2012, the prolific Finnish composer Kalevi Aho only returned to the project after being contacted by the violinist Elina Vähälä. While aware of the weight of tradition and eager to avoid the pitfalls of violinistic clichés, Aho nevertheless wrote a virtuoso work dominated by the soloist, who is offered many possibilities to realise her own interpretative conception. The orchestral part was specifically composed for the Kymi Sinfonietta with its sound in mind. With his second cello concerto, Aho also wanted to write a piece that orchestras of the size of a sinfonietta could include in their programmes. Here too the solo writing is particularly well suited to the instrument. The youngest winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2015, cellist Jonathan Roozeman takes on this work in five movements played without interruption and in the last section delivers a cadenza as unusual as it is clever. The Kymi Sinfonietta is conducted here by Olari Elts, a champion of contemporary Baltic composers.


The music of composer Kalevi Aho is difficult to categorize among the various schools of the day. It is broadly expressive, and in these two concertos, Aho uses virtuosity in a thoroughly Romantic way. Yet the rigor of their construction is of a thoroughly modern kind. Consider the solo passage in the middle of the first movement of the Violin Concerto No. 2. It is… what, exactly? A cadenza? Aho uses the word in his informative notes, but it is really more of a distillation of what has happened previously. The entire movement is filled with powerfully difficult violin writing.

The edgy Violin Concerto and the lyrical, rather moody Cello Concerto are quite different in character, but both balance complex instrumental writing with long orchestral passages in inventive ways. The Violin Concerto has the unusual feature of having been written not only for its soloist, Elina Vähälä, but also for its orchestra, the Kymi Sinfonietta, and it holds together tightly; both works were conceived in chamber orchestra terms. The Kymi Sinfonietta is a remarkable example of the deep bench of Finnish orchestral music. Both of these works ought to be more widely played in concert, and it may be that this fine recording will help make that happen.


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Product Description:

  • Release Date: February 03, 2023

  • UPC: 7318599924663

  • Catalog Number: BIS-2466

  • Label: BIS

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: Contemporary

  • Composer: Kalevi Aho

  • Conductor: Olari Elts

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Kymi Sinfonietta

  • Performer: Elina Vahala, Jonathan Roozeman


  1. Violin Concerto no. 2

    Composer: Kalevi Aho

    Ensemble: Kymi Sinfonietta

    Performer: Elina Vähälä

    Conductor: Olari Elts

  2. Cello Concerto no. 2

    Composer: Kalevi Aho

    Ensemble: Kymi Sinfonietta

    Performer: Jonathan Roozeman

    Conductor: Olari Elts