SEBASTIAN FAGERLUND (b.1972): Mana for Bassoon and Orchestra, Woodlands for Solo Bassoon, KALEVI AHO (b.1949): Bassoon Concerto, Solo V for Solo Bassoon.
Catalogue Number: 12S072
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Fagerlund's concerto shares many characteristics with the fine and accessible works by the composer that we've previously offered (04Q088, 07N102); a modern idiom with a strong tonal basis, inventive and colorful instrumentation, and a concern with 'big themes', philosophical and existential. The title 'Mana' means different things in different cultures, but has in common implications of invocation, supernatural powers, and death. The exceptionally virtuosic solo part has a shamanistic rôle, leading the orchestra in incantation, wildly propulsive ritual dance, intoxicated meditation (with much use of otherworldly multiphonics) and a final ecstatic, orgiastic climax. Woodlands, an extended solo, was a study piece for Mana, evoking a mystical realm in many of the flexible technical devices used in the concerto. Aho's Solo V is not dissimilar in its technical and expressive demands, or its complete departure from the 'clownishness' sometimes associated with the bassoon. From its resonant, Sibelian opening, Aho's concerto announces itself as a serious work of symphonic scope. Through a thorough understanding of instrumental acoustics and skilled, original orchestration the sonic palette of the solo instrument is enhanced and reinforced in the orchestra. The first movement is dark and dramatic, with some impressive orchestral climaxes, and the second is a driven scherzo. The slow movement is a somber, ponderous passacaglia with a polyphonic theme in intertwined parts and shifting registers. After a long, virtuosic cadenza featuring vocal multiphonics the finale erupts in a burst of irrepressible energy. Bram van Sambeek (bassoon), Lahti Symphony Orchestra; Okko Kamu (Fagerlund), Dima Slobodeniouk.