Sallinen: Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op 86; From a Swan Song for cello and piano, Op 67; Piano Trio, Op 96

Reviewed on Thu 09 Apr, 2015

The Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen (born 1935) can be relied upon for quixotic music and diverting listening, whether symphony or opera. Here is some choice chamber composition. Of the four movements of Sonata for Cello and Piano (2004, Arto Noras & Ralf Gothóni), the first is lyrical, intense and melancholy, and then with a nice line in extemporisation (second movement) and gruff and jazzy badinage (third). The relatively lengthy finale is probing, an emotional outpouring. These artists then play From a Swan Song (1991), in which a crepuscular world is created, edgy in dynamic contrasts and increases of speed – all mysteriously compelling. Finally, with violinist Elina Vähälä, is the one-movement Piano Trio from 2010, compelling from the off and sustaining 18 minutes in the most beguiling way, creativity full of fancy. There is a wealth of sentiment and incident here, sometimes reminding of Ravel. These dedicated performances are explicitly recorded.
–Colin Anderson