JUHO MIETTINEN (b.1978): Piano Sonata No. 1 “Sixth Sense”, MATEI GHEORGHIU (b.1984): Piano Sonata No. 3, MATTHEW WHITTALL (b.1975): The Wine-dark Sea V, EERO HÄMEENNIEMI (b.1951): Kanggul vellam / Yön tulva, Le Trastevere Variazioni.

Catalogue Number: 11U075

Label: Alba

Reference: ABCD 423

Format: SACD hybrid

Price: $18.98

Description: As the pianist says, "a small sample of recent Finnish piano repertoire [is] included on this one disc." but it is an appealing and diverse sample of world premiere recordings, none of them any less than thoroughly approachable. The two sonatas are muscular, three-movement specimens. The Miettinen is the more traditional, a more or less neo-romantic piece with a dramatic opening and motoric, virtuoso sections in the outer movements and an 'hypnotic' middle movement held together by a pulsing chime. Gheorgiu's sonata is rhythmically and harmonically denser and more discontinuous, but resolves into a fine, pealing, tonal romantic climax at the end of the last movement. Hämeenniemi is an improvising, free-jazz pianist, but his composed works are not experimental at all; they seem to be based on composers from the established canon whom he admires; in this case, Liszt (and especially the 2nd Ballade) and Frescobaldi (though with more modern harmonies). Whittall's piece is a Northerner's response to the 'Wine-Dark Sea' of the Mediterranean, with atmospheric opening gestures that flow into the currents of a piece of post-minimalism. Risto-Matti Marin (piano).

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