ANDERS ELIASSON (1947-2013): Symphony No. 1 (USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra; Gennadi Rozhdestvensky), Concerto for Bassoon and Strings (Knut Sönstevold [bassoon]), Ostacoli (Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra; Juha Kangas).
Catalogue Number: 08P001
Reference: CAP 21381
Description: This important reissue of three seminal works by one of the most genuinely original composers of our time, has sadly become a memorial tribute, as Eliasson died prematurely in May. The 1982 Bassoon Concerto starts in media res, in a mood of extreme agitation. The soloist spends the first movement in a state of frantic restlessness, constantly egged on by stabbing interjctions from the strings. This exhilarating but exhausting turbulent opening is suddenly replaced by an eloquent soliloquy, the strings now taking on an accompanying role. However, they soon reassert themselves in an increasingly dense, crescendoing passage in Eliasson's characteristic highly directional yet unstable vocabulary of harmonic progression around free-floating centers. The initial bustling activity reappears, as does the soloist, and then the music winds down to an elegiac, lyrical conclusion. The Symphony represents the culmination of Eliasson's musical development during the 1980s; a large-scale, ambitious four-movement work, it contains many elements of the composer's mature style, not least the buoyant, constantly active harmonic motion. An especially appealing aspect of Eliasson's methods is the sudden resolution into a kind of tonal center of complex, unstable music, like a shaft of light piercing roiling storm-clouds. A tumultuous opening movement is followed by a luminous, slow-moving movement suggesting natural processes in constant metamorphosis. The finale begins vigorously, with dueling percussion and tympani suggesting a less tonal extension to the argument presented in the latter stages of Nielsen 4. Unexpectedly, the texture lightens, and the ferocious turbulence gives way to a headlong race to the work's exhilarating conclusion. The lean, muscular Ostacoli rounds out the disc, its every gesture, its effervescent textures, unpredictable intervallic relationships and kinetic rhythms evolving organically from a germinal motif presented at the outset. Original 1990 releases.