Lauri Porra: Entropia and other works – Lahti Symphony Orchestra/ Jakko Kuusisto cond – Hybrid SACD BIS

Fascinating modern compositions, but I could live without the Finnish Rap Music

Lauri Porra: Entropia and other works – Lahti Symphony Orchestra – Jakko Kuusisto cond – Hybrid SACD BIS 2305  (2/2/2018) TT: 83:18 *** 1/2

Great-grandson of composer Jean Sibelius, Lauri Porra began playing the cello at the age of six, but later switched to bass guitar. In addition to his work as a composer for orchestra, film and media, he is a member of the heavy metal band Stratovarius with which he has recorded four albums and performed concerts in over 60 countries.

Highly versatile, Porra also leads his own Lauri Porra Flyover Ensemble, combining musical styles ranging from rock and jazz to classical, electronic and film music. Entropia, his concerto for electric bass and orchestra heard on this disc, was premièred by the composer and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra at the concert that opened the 2015 season, Jean Sibelius s 150th anniversary year. On this recording, the concerto is preceded by the three-part Domino Suite, which features substantial solos for piano and jazz drum set.

This is truly avant-garde music, but I found the album an enjoyable challenge. The first work on the disc, Kohta, written in 2016 was pretty dispensable from my point of view. While the music was interesting, the vocal is rap music performed by Pepieri T, and it’s just not my thing. To make matters more difficult, the rapping is in Finnish, and while the music was interesting I disliked the vocals. Happily, as a bonus on the disc, the piece is played sans rapping.

The title work on this SACD is Entropia for Symphony Orchestra and Bass Guitar. I found the work provocative and interesting.

This disc is very nice in 5.0 surround, with instruments placed around the listening room. The engineering is impeccable, and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra succeeds with this difficult to master music.

It’s hard to give a glowing recommendation to this disc unless your tastes run to contemporary, experimental and sometimes atonal music. If they do, I can give a hearty endorsement to this offering. Other than the rap piece, I found the compositions involving and emotional.

—Mel Martin

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