New contemporary and classical albums for spring and summer 2015

The new Juhani Nuorvala album (Alba Records ABCD 376) is a collection of the composer’s recent works, the newest being Prélude non retouché from 2012, a solo work for organ in meantone tuning. Electronics are strongly present in the album, exemplified by Boost (2009) for cello and Moog synthesizer, and Concertino (2001) for basset clarinet and tape. Another trending theme is baroque, audible both in the “miniature opera” 7.13. (2001) and the viol work Solo per viola da gamba (2008). As a counterpoint to the newer pieces the album includes also one much older work, Five Pieces for flute and clarinet from 1994. The works were originally recorded by Finnish Broadcasting Company by well-known Finnish musicians, including soprano Tuuli Lindeberg, tenor Topi Lehtipuu, and cellist Juho Laitinen.

The forthcoming Ondine release (ODE 1259-2) includes Lotta Wennäkoski’s orchestral works, the flute concerto Soie (2009), as well as orchestral works Hava (2007) and Amor Omnia Suite (2014). The last is an adaptation of Wennäkoski’s soundtrack for Konrad Tallroth’s silent film Amor Omnia from 1922. The composition was part of an extensive project, where the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra commissioned five Finnish composers to make scores for old silent films. All of the works are played by Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor Dima Slobodeniouk, with Kersten McCall as flute soloist in Soie.

Another new Ondine album presents the world premiere recording of Veli-Matti Puumala’s (b. 1965) opera Anna Liisa. The libretto is based on a play by Finnish writer Minna Canth (1844-1897), and it tells the story of a young woman Anna Liisa, caught between the norms of the society and her own moral conscience. Puumala’s work was premiered at the Helsinki Festival in 2008, and the performers include several notable artists like soprano Helena Juntunen in the name role, as well as folk singer Sanna Kurki-Suonio.