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Aulis Sallinen - Symphony 6 - Cello Concerto
Ensemble Detail(s)
Norrkopings Symphony Orchestra
Jan-Erik Gustafsson (cello)
Label name
Classic Produktion Osnabruck
Recording year
Conductor details
Ari Rasilainen

Work Title


The Sixth Symphony ‘From a New Zealand Diary’ (1989-90) was commissioned by the New Zealand Symphony in 1989. Before composing it, Sallinen vacationed in New Zealand. Although each movement represents a musical vision of what he saw there, the 40 minute work is not strictly programmatic. The first movement, ‘Islands of Sounds and Sounds of Islands,’ evokes the memory of the cloudy day this reviewer sailed on Milford Sound. A vast array of percussion and brass in spiky outbursts contrasts with an underlying darkness from the low strings. The ‘Air & Rain second movement is a colorful reminiscence of a delicate rain, using woodblocks and percussive effects that recall his memory of a wet New Zealand landscape. ‘Kyeburn Diggings’ portrays an area of New Zealand that was once (in the late nineteenth century) a hotbed of feverish gold mining activity. An Ivesian cacophony of dance-like frivolities play over the demons lost in the rubble of the past. The finale, titled, ‘simply by sailing in a new direction, you could enlarge the world,’ ominously leads the listener on majestic and mysterious paths that reflect the drama of unknown swirls of nature… fading into silence. In the lengthy first movement of his Cello Concerto (1976), Sallinen composed continually developing rhythmic and thematic cells that became conversations between cello and orchestra. It’s a passionate twenty minute movement that is contemplative, powerful and disturbing, reflecting the darker side of the Nordic personality. The five minute finale is the opposite – all light. A phalanx of percussion instruments are used to create a sardonic and sunlit scherzo, reminiscent of Prokofiev. Cellist Jan-Erik Gustafsson plays energetically and Ari Rasilainen and the Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra follow him fervently. Both these large and colorful orchestral works and the clear but resonant sound makes this CD a sonic demonstration disc. Highly recommended to those looking for something new in their listening life.
Robert Moon, Audiophile Audition, 12/11/2009

Rasilainen delivers an expert reading of Sallinen’s seminal Sixth Symphony…performances expertly played…this is a fine account. Heartily recommended.
Guy Rickards, Gramophone magazine, 5/1/2010

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