JUHANI NUORVALA (b.1961): 7.13 for Soprano, Tenor and Period Instrument Ensemble (Tuuli Lindberg [soprano], Topi Lehtipuu [tenor], Battalia; Kirmo Lintinen), Boost for Cello and Moog synthesizer (Juho Laitinen [cello], Jouko Laivuori [Moog]), Prélude non retouché for Organ in mean-tone tuning (Susanne Kujala), Solo per viola da gamba (Markkku Luolajan-Mikkola), 5 Pieces for Flute and Clarinet (Mikael Helasvuo [flute], Heikki Nikula [clarinet]), Concertino for Basset Clarinet, Electronic Soundtrack and Bass Guitar (Harri Mäki [basset clarinet], Juhani Nuorvala [soundtrack], John Vihervä [bass guitar]).

Catalogue Number: 03S075

Label: Alba

Reference: ABCD 376

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Nuorvala is an iconoclastic outsider in Finnish contemporary music, unapologetically avoiding brooding landscapes in favor of a lively urban world, with borrowings from American minimalism and rock and pop music. He is also fascinated by unusual tuning scales, though, and exploits the microtonal uncertainties generated by these to provide a piquant instability to his predominantly tonal language. Boost, for instance, sounds very like a slightly malfunctioning minimalist piece, except that the cello is partnered by a Moog synthesizer, proudly displaying its retro, 1980s credentials, and furthermore, the music keeps shifting around microtonally. Or the Prélude, played on a meantone-tuned organ, which begins and ends like a transcription in slightly questionable taste of a raucous rock song, then settles into a kind of deliberately irritating (like Satie's Vexations) repetitive piece of minimalism. 7.13 is a sort of mini opera, a Beckett-like dialogue between two characters, incongruously scored for Baroque ensemble, in which the harpsichord plays the minimalist riffs, and the rest of the ensemble mostly doesn't. The Concertino is full of cheesy techno pulsation, with the melody line on clarinet. The odd piece out is the ascetic Solo, which plays extensively with complex relations between different tuning systems, in a spare, introverted meditation.


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