PERTTU HAAPANEN (b.1972): Flute Concerto, Compulsion Island, Ladies’ Room for Soprano and Chamber Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 11V071
Reference: ODE 1307-2
Description: Haapanen's music is accessible, perhaps unexpectedly given the range of techniques that he uses freely (which can include quite advanced extended playing methods and abrupt juxtaposition of tonal and atonal material); a good part of this is the sense of narrative dramaturgy present throughout these works. His interest in the Japanese graphic and animation style of Anime may provide a key to this; in it, he says, "reality, fantasy, sentimentality, the cute, the grotesque, the disturbing and the amazingly perceptive interweave in stylized and ambiguous fashion - which neatly sums up what his music does as well. The half-hour Flute Concerto consists of sections of completely different character, which follow one another with abrupt 'scene changes' rather than transitions, reinforcing the idea of a succession of quasi-operatic episodes adding up to an overall narrative arc (which is at best ambiguous). Breathing sounds are important from the start, as though emphasizing that we are involved at close quarters with the events surrounding a very human protagonist. Long recitatives by the soloist, with minimal accompaniment, sound more like soliloquies in a variety of scenes or situations than conventional concertante cadenzas. Rhythmically energetic passages, with police whistles, could be pursuits or fights; harmonically stable episodes with the flute's soliloquizing punctuated by the sounds of squeaky toys or a typewriter are what? domestic scenes with children or dogs? a scene of workplace monotony? Everything is meticulously drawn, nothing is explained. Compulsion Island abounds in the kind of uneasy, irrational drama suggested by the ambiguous title; a substantial symphonic poem for large orchestra, it traverses a range of stressful episodes, ranging from the manically, obsessively active to the near-catatonic. Ladies' Room is a sequence of nine short songs, and turns out to be an homage to the schizophrenic artist Adolf Wölfli. Diverse texts alternate with songs to repetitive, sometimes childlike, nonsense syllables set to virtuosic extended vocal techniques, and gradually the linking of motifs from the texts reveal the underlying narrative. Yuki Koyama (flute), Helena Juntunen (soprano), Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Hannu Lintu, Dima Sobodeniouk.