ATTERBERG: Symphony No. 7, Op. 45. Symphony No. 9, Op. 54.
Anna Larsson, mezzo-soprano. Olle Persson, baritone. Gothenburg Symphony Chorus and Orch/Neemi Järvi, cond.

KUUSISTO: Play III for String Quartet, Op. 21 (2008). Valo for Violin and Piano, Op. 23 (2009). Play II for Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano, Op. 16 (2005-2006). Loisto for Violin and Piano,Op. 12 (2000). Jurmo for Piano Solo, Op. 31 (2015).
Meta 4. Jaakko Kuusisto, violin. Paavali Jumppanen, piano. Knusisto, violin.
Riitta-Lisa Ristiluoma. viola. Jan-Erik Gustafsson, cello. Heini Kärkkäinen, piano.
BIS SACD 2192 TT: 54:18

BACH: Suite in C minor BWV 997. Suite in E minor BWV 996 (arr. Ismo Eskelinen). Prelude, Fugue and Allegro BWV 998 (arr. Oscar Ghiglia). Wachet auff, ruft uns die Stimme BWV 645 (arr. Ismo Eskelinen,.
Ismo Eskelinen, guitar.
ALBA SACD 385 TT: 54:03

Kurt Atterberg captured the admiration of the musical world in 1928 when his Symphony No. 6 won Columbia Records world-wide competition. .It received many performances and famous conductors including Toscanini and Beeham played it. Fourteen years later, Atterberg produced his Symphony No. 7 utilizing many themes from his opera Fanal. Originally there were four movements to this rather short symphony (28:45) but in 1969 Atterberg omitted one. The symphony has these movements: Dramatico, Semplice, Feroce. It is called the romantic symphony. The third movement supposedly is a wild sensual dance (which it isn't). Hermann Abendroth conducted the premiere un 1943. Symphony No. 9. scored for mezzo and baritone soloists as well as chorus, is longer (34:18), actually a series of songs with a text from the Icelandic poem “Volupsa”relating how evil came into the world resulting in total destruction. The premiere in Helsinki was successful and even Sibelius was impressed. However, beautiful as much of the music is, there is reason for this score's neglect—and Atterberg's musical depiction of evil is tame indeed. There are nine songs, each is tracked separately, and complete texts in Finnish and English are provided.This disc in the last in the Chandos series. It is a boon for collectors to have these in such fine performances and excellent sound. This last issue is in SACD format, as were most of the others. There are other recordings of Atterberg symphonies on CPO conducted by Ari Rasilnen.

Violinist, conductor and composer Jaakko Kuusisto, one of Finland's best-known contemporary composers, is featured on this challenging new BIS SACD. Here we have six of hius works, the earliest dating from 2000. These are scored for small groups of instruments inclujding string quartet, violin, viola, cello and piano. Throughout, Kuusisto pays tribute to some of his favorite composers including Stravinsky, Prokofievand Sibelius, but you will have to listen carefully to detect these snippets. It seems the composer is taxing all of the instruments to their extremes, and seldom is it pleasant to hear, with manifold scurring strings. Some might find this avant-guarde chamber music intriguing—I do not. But there is no question it is played to perfection by the artists involved, and the BIS engineers have captured all of the sounds with resounding clarity.

Young Finnish guitarist Ismo Eskelinena already is famous in the guitar world. He has given numerous concerts, appeared with many orchestras, and made many acclaimed recordings. On this new SACD, he plays transcriptions of music of Bach originally compsed fpr for a keyblard instrument. Eskelinena made most of the arrangements; a few were arranged by Oscar Ghiglia. In the SACD notes technical information is provided with details of how this was accomplished. managed. particularly the fact that the guitar has no low notes. It all sounds quite convincing and surely is a delight to the ear. Sound of the instrument is very close-up. The only debit is the very broef playing time (54:03). Easily more music could have been included.

R.E.B. (September 2016)