Guitarist Petri Kumela, one of the leading figures of his instrument in Finland, is clearly the major driver behind this recording. Another strand present throughout the disc is composer Paavo Korpijaakko (b. 1977), who has composed all the included works. Korpijaakko is clearly at home with the musical possibilities of the guitar with the solo guitar sonata Kimberley (2006), a standout as one of the most remarkable works of recent years for solo guitar composed in Finland. The Spaceship of Dreams (2010), a song cycle of poems by Rakel Liehu, is inventive, but not unforgettable. A sense of large scale form and ear-catching hooks characterise the guitar concerto Nebula (2008).
A besetting sin of the young generation of composers is including too much in a single work. Korpijaakko’s compositions, especially the concerto, would benefit from minor cuts (why don’t composers use editors like writers do?). As always, Kumela manages to astonish with the ease and clarity of his playing. During the concerto, the guitar is occasionally disturbingly low in the mix.
Petri Kumela (guitar), Tiina Penttinen (mezzosoprano),
Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra,
cond. Juha Kangas
Alba ABCD 345