SACDs

Kalevi Aho (b.1949)

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Aho: Symphony No. 12 ‘Luosto Symphony’

Aho: Symphony No. 12 ‘Luosto Symphony’


Taina Piira (soprano), Aki Alamikkotervo (tenor) & Hannu Lehtonen (saxophone)

Lahti Symphony Orchestra & Chamber Orchestra of Lapland, John Storgårds

BIS releases the first recording on CD of Kalevi Aho’s Symphony No.12 - ‘Luosto’. It was written for a performance on the slopes of Mount Luosto in Finnish Lapland. It makes use of two orchestras, two vocal soloists and a number of brass players and percussionists placed at various distances from each other and the conductor, surrounding the audience. The primary inspiration for this four-movement work came from the natural surroundings and traditions of Lapland, and parts of it were composed during a bitterly cold spell in the solitude of a cottage at the foot of Orresokka, the mountain next to Luosto. The three-dimensional qualities written into the score makes it the perfect subject for a Surround Sound recording and during the recording sessions in the acclaimed acoustics of the Lahti Sibelius Hall, great pains were taken to recreate the set-up of the first performance. This took place in 2003, in front of – or rather around – an audience of over 2000 people, and became the starting point of ‘LuostoClassic’, an annual summer music festival which in 2008 features another performance of Aho’s symphony.

“Like Vaughan Williams's Seventh, Aho's Twelfth is a work of immediate effect yet needs time to make its full impact.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2008

Super Audio CD

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Hybrid Multi-channel

BIS - BISSACD1676

(SACD)

$14.25

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Aho: Symphony No. 15

Aho: Symphony No. 15


Aho:

Minea (Concertante Music for Orchestra)

Osmo Vänskä

Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra

Eero Munter (double bass)

Jaako Kuusisto

Symphony No. 15

Dima Slobodeniouk


'My apotheosis of the dance' is how Kalevi Aho describes his Symphony No.15. With two dance movements and rhythm a central element, the score calls for numerous percussion instruments, including non-Western ones such as bongos, darbuka, djembe and the riqq, an Arabian tambourine. The composer's interest in non-Western music and instruments has been evident in several recent works, such as his Symphony No. 14 (recorded on BIS-1686) and Oboe Concerto (BIS-1876). It also played an important part during the creation of Minea, composed as a concert opener for the Minnesota Orchestra on the initiative of Osmo Vänskä, who also conducts the work here. Mentioning Indian ragas, Japanese shakuhachi music, Arabian rhythms and Eastern scales, Aho explains that his aim has been to expand his own sound world with elements of other classical music cultures, and to try to view the Western musical tradition from other perspectives. Minea and Symphony No.15 frame the composer's Concerto for Double Bass, composed in 2005 for Eero Munter. In order to be able to write idiomatically for the instrument, the composer borrowed a double bass, and as work on the piece progressed, he actually grew proficient enough to try out most of the solo part – albeit at a very slow tempo, as he freely admits! The concerto offers the opportunity to hear the solo instrument in highly unusual contexts, for instance in the two accompanied cadenzas – the first a pizzicato duet with the harp, and the second a trio with two percussionists. Throughout the disc we hear the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, which for more than 20 years has made a remarkable commitment to the composer, performing and recording a large number of his works. The orchestra is conducted by Jaakko Kuusisto and Dima Slobodeniouk, as well as by the above-mentioned Osmo Vänskä.

“I have only praise for the Lahti Symphony Orchestra displaying an unfailing instinct for Aho’s turbulent sound-world of absorbing textures and enticing rhythms. Each conductor seems impeccably prepared and maintains a firm grip, securing alert and involving performances.” MusicWeb International, 9th April 2014

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

BIS - BIS1866

(SACD)

$14.25

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Brahms & Ligeti: Horn Trios

Brahms & Ligeti: Horn Trios


Aho:

Solo X for French horn

Brahms:

Horn Trio in E flat major, Op. 40

Ligeti:

Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano

(‘Hommage à Brahms’)


Marie-Luise Neunecker (horn), Antje Weithaas (violin) & Silke Avenhaus (piano)

BIS present two major works for horn, violin and piano, bringing together Johannes Brahms, generally regarded as the great traditionalist of the late 19th century, and György Ligeti, born 90 years after Brahms, and one of the most innovative and progressive figures of his time.

The death of Brahms’s mother had a great impact on his Trio, especially on the elegiac third movement.

Ligeti composed his trio to be performed during the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Brahms’s birth.

The two trios frame a substantial, newly composed piece for horn solo written by Kalevi Aho with the present recording in mind.

Marie-Luise Neunecker is acclaimed as a chamber musician as well as soloist: György Ligeti wrote for her one of his last works, the Hamburg Concerto for solo horn and chamber orchestra. She is joined by Antje Weithaas and Silke Avenhaus, both appearing for the first time on the BIS label.

“Neunecker has a fascinating horn sound. She distinguished effectively between open and stopped timbres, but even her open sound is quite narrow and constrained...any new recording [of the Brahms] has to fight on the merits of its performance. Fortunately then, this one stands favourable comparison with the best of them.” MusicWeb International, June 2012

Super Audio CD

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Hybrid Multi-channel

BIS - BISSACD1859

(SACD)

$14.25

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Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

Fagerlund & Aho: Bassoon Concertos

Fagerlund & Aho: Bassoon Concertos


Aho:

Solo V

Bassoon Concerto

Fagerlund:

Bassoon Concerto, 'Mana'

Woodlands


Bram van Sambeek (bassoon)

Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu, Dima Slobodeniouk

The Finnish composer Kalevi Aho and his younger colleague and compatriot Sebastian Fagerlund have both received international recognition for their masterful treatment of large orchestral forces. This they have demonstrated in purely orchestral as well as in concertante works – Aho has written 26 concertos to date (most of them in his monumental project to compose a concerto for each of the main orchestral instruments), and Fagerlund’s concertos for clarinet and for violin have been released by BIS to critical acclaim. On this disc the two composers appear side by side with their respective concertos for bassoon and orchestra, works that to a certain extent illustrate different approaches to the concerto genre. If the Romantic concept of the concerto was that of a struggle between the soloist and orchestra, Fagerlund in his Mana (2014) instead gives the bassoon the role of a spiritual leader, conjuring up new sound worlds from the orchestra. (In Swedish – Fagerlund’s mother tongue – ‘mana’ is a verb that suggests invocation; in Finnish the word alludes to exorcism). Kalevi Aho, on the other hand, has endeavoured to enrich and expand the solo instrument’s sonic and expressive possibilities through his use of orchestration and describes his concerto as ‘quite symphonic in character’. Soloist in both works is Bram van Sambeek, the first bassoonist ever to receive the prestigious Dutch Music Prize and the musician for whom Fagerlund composed Mana as well as the solo piece Woodlands, written in preparation for the concerto. Kalevi Aho also contributes a substantial and dramatic solo piece, Solo V, which makes use of multiphonics as well as microintervals.

“A truly captivating disc…Bram van Sambeek takes everything in his evidently extensive stride. The agility, conviction, impish humour and searing seriousness all stem from a remarkably rounded musicianship: taste and personality in abundance, but at the same time strongly focussed. I’ve a feeling composers will soon be queueing up to write for him” BBC Music Magazine, February 2017 *****

“Mana is an imaginative fantasia…[and] its dedicatee Bram van Sambeek relishes its demands and is given wonderful support by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Okko Kamu…[Aho’s Bassoon Concerto] is beautifully played…in a nuanced and balanced account” Gramophone Magazine, February 2017

“All in all this is a very welcome release of works that every admirer of these fine composers will want to hear, especially with bassoon playing of such a high order.” The Classical Reviewer, 5th February 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

BIS - BIS2206

(SACD)

$14.25

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In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Kalevi Aho: Chamber Symphonies Nos 1–3

Kalevi Aho: Chamber Symphonies Nos 1–3


Aho:

Chamber Symphony No. 1

Stefan Asbury

Chamber Symphony No. 2

Stefan Asbury

Chamber Symphony No. 3 for alto saxophone and string orchestra

John-Edward Kelly (alto saxophone)

Jean-Jacques Kantorow


The Tapiola Sinfonietta here performs Kalevi Aho’s three chamber symphonies: three works that stretch the expressive capabilities of a string orchestra, and are thus highly demanding for the players.

The solo alto saxophone part in Chamber Symphony No.3 was written for the soloist John-Edward Kelly who appears here. Aho describes the piece as ‘a hybrid of chamber symphony and saxophone concerto’.

The Tapiola Sinfonietta has earned high praise from reviewers around the world for its recordings ranging from Arvo Pärt to Saint-Saëns and von Weber.

The conductors Jean-Jacques Kantorow and Stefan Asbury are both close collaborators with the orchestra.

“The Tapiola Sinfonietta's performances are splendid, crisp and lithe in Nos 1 & 2 under Asbury's taut direction. Kantorow elicits more expansive but no less electric playing in No. 3, where they partner Kelly (the original soloist on dazzling form here) as equals. BIS's SACD recording is first-rate, the acoustic of the Tapiola Concert Hall affording these works the finest possible environment in which to be heard at their best.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2012

“a fascinating trilogy and a spectacular vehicle for this fearless ensemble. Superb SACD and CD sound, as one expects from this label.” Classical Music, 21st April 2012 *****

“Recorded sound is absolutely spectacular, capturing every detail of these superb performances. The Tapiola Sinfonietta produces a vigorous, fresh ensemble sound for both conductors, entirely appropriate to these works, and it sounds as though every member of the orchestra is in fact a world-class soloist. Kelly clearly lives the third Chamber Symphony; his technical capacity is beyond dispute...Recommended unreservedly.” International Record Review, June2012

“Aho shows that he understands the saxophone's capabilities, inventively blending and contrasting it with the strings.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2012 *****

“Fans of Aho's music who have no doubt already collected the many BIS discs devoted to his music will need no further prompt while others new to it might certainly find much to enjoy in these contemporary, though quite accessible works. This is yet another splendid addition to Aho's already imposing discography.” MusicWeb International, May 2012

Super Audio CD

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BIS - BISSACD1126

(SACD)

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Kalevi Aho: Horn Concerto & Theremin Concerto

Kalevi Aho: Horn Concerto & Theremin Concerto


Aho:

Concerto for Horn and Chamber Orchestra

Annu Salminen (horn)

Concerto for Theremin and Chamber Orchestra 'Acht Jahreszeiten'

Carolina Eyck (theremin)


Lapland Chamber Orchestra, John Storgårds

Widely regarded as one of today's most important composers of orchestral music, Kalevi Aho has written fifteen symphonies as well as over twenty concertos.

The horn concerto is a one-movement work with a 'ritualistic' element: the horn’s first entries are heard from backstage, after which the soloist enters the stage, moving gradually from left to right before leaving the stage again towards the end.

After having been introduced to the theremin by Carolina Eyck, Aho composed 'Eight Seasons': a concerto in eight movements, played without a break, and based on the traditional division of the year by the Sami. His score exploits Carolina Eyck's unusual ability to simultaneously sing and play the theremin.

CD-EXTRA: This disc also includes a video clip, playable on your computer, with Carolina Eyck’s introduction to the theremin and to Kalevi Aho’s concerto.

“Virtuosity in the service of imagination is the abiding impression of all Aho's concertos, and the quality of soloists, orchestra, conductor and recording here is fully up to that of the music itself. Another outstanding issue in a magnificent series from BIS.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

BIS - BIS2036

(SACD)

$14.25

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This item is currently out of stock at the UK distributor. You may order it now but please be aware that it may be six weeks or more before it can be despatched. (Available now to download.)

Kalevi Aho: Ludus Solemnis

Kalevi Aho: Ludus Solemnis

Music for and with Organ


Aho:

Quasi una fantasia for horn and organ

Petri Komulainen (horn)

Epilogue

or trombone and organ

Jussi Vuorinen (trombone)

Häämarssi I (Wedding March I)

Häämarssi II (Wedding March II)

Ludus Solemnis

In memoriam

Laulu maasta (Song of the Earth) for violin, oboe and organ

Kaija Saarikettu (violin) & Anna-Kaisa Pippuri (oboe)

Hääsoitto (Wedding Music)

Bach, J S:

The Art of Fugue, BWV1080: Contrapunctus XIV

completion by Kalevi Aho


Jan Lehtola (organ)

A companion to Jan Lehtola’s previous recording of Aho’s monumental Organ Symphony ‘Alles Vergängliche’ (BIS1946), the present disc includes five smaller pieces by Aho for organ solo, as well as three compositions for organ and one or two other instruments.

“The combination of oboe, violin and organ [in Song of the Earth] is remarkably transparent, and the poignancy of the music is unmistakable...this release is yet another triumph for Jan Lehtola and his colleagues and should be snapped up by Aho fans without delay.” MusicWeb International, 3rd June 2014

“Aho's writing for organ certainly betrays the same ear for instrumental colour as his orchestral works, and it is refreshing to hear what one might call a 'non-French' approach to the instrument.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2014

Super Audio CD

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Early Music

BIS - BIS1966

(SACD)

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Kalevi Aho: Oboe Concerto & Sonata

Kalevi Aho: Oboe Concerto & Sonata


Aho:

Oboe Concerto

Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Martyn Brabbins

Solo IX for oboe

Oboe Sonata

with Yutaka Oya (piano)


Piet van Bockstal (oboe)

Kalevi Aho enjoys large-scale projects. One such project has been his ‘oboe project’, composing works in every genre for the instrument. The concerto is of particular interest being influenced by Arabic scales and Aho’s use of a fresh tonal approach.

“There’s a chamber-like intensity to this concerto – a heightened instrumental clarity if you will – and oboist Piet Van Bockstal is a gentle and evocative soloist throughout...Fine music and musicianship, faithfully caught; what BIS does best.” MusicWeb International, 15th May 2013

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

BIS - BIS1876

(SACD)

$14.25

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Kalevi Aho: Organ Music

Kalevi Aho: Organ Music


Aho:

Three Interludes for Organ

Symphony for Organ 'Alles Vergängliche'


Jan Lehtola (playing the 1907/2008 Åkerman & Lund organ of St Johannes kyrka, Malmö, Sweden)

BIS presents a disc of organ works from Finnish composer Kalevi Aho.

Aho is known principally for his large orchestral scores but he came to writing for organ via the orchestra by featuring it as the solo instrument in his Eighth Symphony.

The Finnish organist Jan Lehtola urged Aho to write the Symphony for Organ after playing the organ part for the Eighth. The subtitle Alles Vergängliche (‘All that is perishable’), comes from the end of Goethe’s Faust, and alludes to the symphony’s Faustian character

The Three Interludes depicts a mid-summer journey on the Arctic Ocean, when everything, in the absence of night, was ‘bathed in an endless blue-tinged light’.

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

BIS - BIS1946

(SACD)

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Kalevi Aho: Works for Solo Piano

Kalevi Aho: Works for Solo Piano


Aho:

Preludes (19)

Small Piano Pieces (3)

Easy Piano Pieces for Children (2)

Sonatina for Piano

Solo II

Sonata for Piano


Sonja Fräki (piano)

On the present disc, the Finnish pianist Sonja Fräki presents Kalevi Aho’s output for solo piano. The disc opens with Aho’s earliest published work, the Nineteen Preludes from 1965-68, including a first version of Prelude No. 8 from 1963. These works display a characteristic fascination with the virtuosic and technically brilliant side of music-making; this quality comes to the fore in the Sonata, with its sparkling first movement and percussive, toccata-like second movement followed by a searching Tranquillo molto, characterized by a trill which continues almost without interruption throughout the movement. Commissioned as a set piece for a piano competition, Solo II is likewise a challenge for any pianist, and forms part of a series of big (roughly ten-minute) solo works for various instruments, of which several have been recorded by BIS.

“Sonja Fräki rises to the challenge…of all the music on this disc.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2015

“A genuine jaw-dropper, this; almost certain to be one of my recordings of the year.” MusicWeb International, March 2015

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

BIS - BIS2106

(SACD)

$14.25

(also available to download from $10.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

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