EERO HAMEENNIEMI: Symphony No. 3 in C; Viola Concerto – Tommi Aalto, viola/ Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/ Sakari Oramo, Hannu Lintu, conductors – Alba

by | Jun 15, 2007 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

EERO HAMEENNIEMI: Symphony No. 3 in C; Viola Concerto – Tommi Aalto, viola/ Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/ Sakari Oramo, Hannu Lintu, conductors – Alba ABCD 214 [Distr. by Albany], 43:24 ***(*):

Finnish composer Eero Hämeenniemi (b. 1951) calls himself a “monothematic” composer because he works with single themes, and finds the challenge of doing so quite rewarding. The term should not be taken in too doctrinaire a manner though, because much of this music seems variant in nature, albeit the structural elements are quite tightly presented. Indeed, working with just one principal theme leads to some very original and delicately nuanced writing, and the symphony is a particularly interesting example where the trading back and forth of the theme leads not to monotony or lack of interest, but to a heightened awareness of the structure. The music is tonal, original, and should present no problems of accessibility other than the structural elements involved.

The Viola Concerto has more of a somber nature about it, and it again is based on one theme, not unlike that found in the symphony. Indeed, the composer in the notes states that these two works are “sisters”, and even though the tempo slows down and becomes more introspective, one could almost imagine these two movements being tagged onto the symphony’s two to form a larger edifice without any lack of coherence on the part of either work.

The music is quite fine, while not spectacular, and I think that repeated hearings will cause this to grow on me. The sound is excellent, and the playing of the FRSO almost note perfect (there are a few questionable spots, but nothing significant). Three and one-half stars from me on this one, the stingy total timing factoring into this decision.

— Steven Ritter 
 

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