Rhineland-Palatinate State Philharmonic Orchestra
The title of Sallinen's single-movement Eighth Symphony, Autumnal Fragments, seems at odds with the music's unbroken flow and much of the work's dynamic arises from the tension between static and moving elements, encapsulated right at the start, dominated by the percussion. The process of integrating these irreconcilable elements has a kinship with that in Sallinen's Fifth, Washington Mosaics, but the Eighth's structure is more obviously integrated and quietly compelling. However, in the final section, with its desolate close, Sallinen decided to leave matters unresolved in the wake of September 11 2001, which adds an additional resonance to his earlier use of the 'Theme of the Dead' from his opera Kullervo.
There are closer operatic connections for two of the couplings. The orchestral prelude Shadows is based on themes from The King Goes Forth to France, while The Palace Rhapsody reuses material from The Palace of three years before [...] Recommended.
Guy Rickards, The Gramophone, 12/1/2005
The one-movement Eighth Symphony brought a new side to Aulis Sallinen’s symphonic art: the disparate, conflicting elements are still present, but there’s a ritual, almost N h quality to the bare percussion commentaries through which the long string lines wind their dark elegy. The pace is always assured, the sense of power lurking behind the lines, occasionally breaking through.
The other scores are no less successfully handled. This second instalment in CPO’s six-CD survey of Aulis Sallinen’s orchestral music maintains the high standards set by the first.
Martin Anderson, Finnish Music Quarterly, 11/1/2005