JOONAS KOKKONEN (1921-1996): Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4, Cello Concerto.
Catalogue Number: 09L085
Reference: ODE 1098-2
Description: The Third (1967), marks a turning point in Kokkonen's output. The most immediately apparent change is the greatly expanded coloristic palette that the composer employs, compared to the relative austerity of the first two symphonies. The tonality, though palpable, is of an advanced and personal kind; the musical argument remains as direct and cogent as ever. As Kokkonen tended to do, this and the Fourth symphonies both have slow outer movements, avoiding any suggestion of exposition or resolution through bombastic display; all his symphonies seem to progress from question to unresolved conflict, with the most vehement argument played out in between. The Fourth is the most tonal and most accessible (which is not to suggest that the others are 'difficult', or that this powerful three-movement essay with its opening suggestive of a brewing storm and characteristic slow finale, is in any sense lightweight), and shows us most clearly Kokkonen as the natural successor to Sibelius and direct precursor of Sallinen (whose symphonic career followed immediately on the heels of Kokkonen's) and the later generation of Finnish composers such as Lindberg. Marko Ylönen (cello), Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Sakari Oramo.