There is an encyclopaedic dimension to the compositional work of Kalevi Aho, manifest in his comprehensive series of solo concertos and solo pieces for different instruments.
The new release from BIS includes a selection of seven solos composed between 1990 and 2018. Two of them, Solo IV (1997) for cello and Solo III (1990–1991) for flute, were composed as compulsory pieces for instrumental competitions. Afterwards, Aho added a second movement to the flute solo, a rushing Presto, here in a breathtakingly virtuoso performance by Sharon Bezaly. No less astonishing are Simon Reitmaier’s wide multiphonics in Solo XIV (2018) for clarinet or the quality of the sound of Marie-Luise Neunecker’s horn in Solo X (2010).
Solo IX (2010) explores the extremities of the sound of the oboe, whereas the bassoon emerges as a powerful instrument, flexible in its higher register, in Solo V (1999). The programmatic Solo XII – in memoriam EJR (2016) for viola stands out due to a static melancholy atmosphere and a beautiful, frozen sound. EJR stands for Einojuhani Rautavaara, who was Aho’s colleague and teacher.
Kalevi Aho: Solo, Vol. 1
Sharon Bezaly, flute; Piet Van Bockstal, oboe; Marie-Luise Neunecker, horn; Samuli Peltonen, cello; Simon Reitmaier, clarinet; Bram van Sambeek, bassoon; Hiyoli Togawa, viola