Juha Leinonen’s Athene (2015), a 25-minute work for clarinet, piano, and string quartet, is characterized by furious energy and an incessantly pulsating rhythm. Even when the music temporarily becomes quieter, it is all the time threatened to be swept away with the dark torrent, towards another climax. The experience is powerful yet also exhausting, and a feat of strength for the musicians, who perform it brilliantly.
Leinonen’s first string quartet Diary Sketches (2012) is somewhat more restrained, although similarly full of forward drive. The work is extremely coherent from a motivic perspective, even to the point of becoming monotonous. In any case, the central motive proves its versatility in the course of the half-hour musical drama.
Foga (2002) for clarinet, piano, violin, viola, and cello is a multifaceted work. A machine-like pulsating rhythm takes over here as well, but, besides, there is room for a variety of other musical ideas, such as ecstatic solos.
The booklet text of the Alba recording aims for a dialogue between art forms: Ville Lukkarinen analyses Kuutti Lavonen’s painting Maisema maisemassa (Landscape in a Landscape), featured in the cover, in relation to Leinonen’s music. However, why this particular painting was chosen remains unclear.
Juha Leinonen: Chamber Music
Terhi Paldanius and Jukka Untamala (violin), Antti Tikkanen (viola), Tomas Nuñes-Garcés (cello), Roope Gröndahl (piano), Olli Leppäniemi (clarinet)
Alba ABCD 447