Vasks: Cello Concerto, Symphony No. 3 (2006)

Vasks

Marko Ylonen, Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra

John Storgards

Peteris Vasks' Third Symphony is a one-movement piece of spiritually deep and emotionally compelling music. The Latvian composer's Cello Concerto is a highly personal and moving work that reflects suffering under the Soviet regime and the strength that helped the people of his country to survive. It features soloist Marko Ylönen, who specializes in contemporary repertoire. The Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, one of Scandinavia's foremost symphony orchestras, is led by John Storgårds.

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Marko Ylonen

Marko Ylönen has performed in as many different roles as almost any other cellist from his generation: soloist, orchestral player and principal, string quartet member, freelance player in duos and trios, and teacher. His repertory is broad, taking in a range of works by C.P.E. Bach, Boccherini, Vivaldi, Haydn, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Sibelius, Piazolla, and especially contemporary Finnish composers like Rautavaara, Kokkonen, Kaipainen and many others. 

Marko Ylönen was born in Rantasalmi, Finland, on June 11, 1966. He was a student of Czaba Szilvay at the East Helsinki Music Institute and of Heikki Rautasalo and Erkki Rautio at the Helsinki-based Sibelius Academy. From 1985-1989 Ylönen had further studies in Basel, Switzerland, with cello virtuoso Heinrich Schiff.

1990 was a breakthrough year for Ylönen: he captured second prize at the Turku Scandinavian Cello Competition and was a prizewinner at the Moscow-based Tchaikovsky International Competition. That same year he began a season-long stint as principal cellist for the Tapiola Sinfonietta

Ylönen became a tenured teacher at the Sibelius Academy in 2000 and would go on to become a professor there in 2009. In 2003, the busy Ylönen appeared with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra for the premiere of a work he had commissioned, Jouni Kaipainen’s Cello Concerto. 

Ylönen served as artistic director of the Korsholm Music Festival in Western Finland. (2004, 2008, 2010, 2011). one of his most successful recordings is his 2010 Alba CD of Sonatas by Chopin and Rachmaninov, with pianist Arto Satukangas.

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Vasks: Cello Concerto, Symphony No. 3 (2006)

Vasks

Marko Ylonen, Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra

    AllMusic -

This album offers two of Latvian composer Peteris Vasks' most important large-scale works, his Third Symphony (2004-2005) and his Cello Concerto (1993-1994). One aspect of Vasks' largely tonal music that takes some getting used to, particularly in the symphony, is the fact that there are rarely more than two things going on at the same time, and generally, one of these events is a fairly static harmonic background. The result is music whose most striking attributes are its simplicity, atmospheric coloring, and melody. This near-absence of counterpoint also gives the music a monumentality that could be perceived as stolid and blocky, if it were not for the composer's colorful orchestration and skill at creating momentum with very simple elements. The single-movement symphony is written in four sections played without breaks. Its lack of traditional motivic development is offset by the composer's creation of distinctive melodies and textures that reassuringly reoccur. Perhaps its most surprising moment is its juxtaposition of a quotation from Arvo Pärt's Fratres with persistent repetitions of the opening of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Toward the end of the last section, the composer unleashes an uncharacteristic welter of ideas that subside into the quietness of a single line played by an alto flute. The Cello Concerto, which the composer describes as having been inspired by the suffering and perseverance of the Lithuanian people, is in five movements, with moments of serenity alternating with agitation. Here, the additional line of the cello increases the music's textural complexity, making it more conventional and accessible than the symphony. Cellist Marko Ylönen plays with a resonant tone and conveys both the turbulence and lyrical tranquility of the concerto. John Storgårds leads the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra in committed and crisp performances of both works. The sound quality is remarkably clear and present.

Stephen Eddins [read full review]

Vasks: Cello Concerto, Symphony No. 3 (2006)

Vasks

Marko Ylonen, Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra

Executive Producer: Reijo Kiilunen
Financial Support: Finnish Performing Music Promotion Centre (ESEK).
Producer: Seppo Siirala
Recording Engineer: Enno Mäemets
Recording Location: Tampere Hall in March 2006
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD

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ODE1086-5: Vasks: Cello Concerto, Symphony No. 3
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Tracks.
1.
Symphony No. 3 - I.
Vasks
00:10:13   Select quality & channels above
2.
Symphony No. 3 - II.
Vasks
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3.
Symphony No. 3 - III.
Vasks
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4.
Symphony No. 3 - IV.
Vasks
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5.
Cello Concerto - Cantus I -
Vasks
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6.
Cello Concerto - Toccata I -
Vasks
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7.
Cello Concerto - Monologhi -
Vasks
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8.
Cello Concerto - Toccata II -
Vasks
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9.
Cello Concerto - Cantus II
Vasks
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