The Finnish composer Harri Vuori, now turned fifty, is worthy of careful attention, for he has a vivid and colourful orchestral imagination and an impressive command of the medium. He has turned his interest to the symphony only recently, and these two substantial works, written over the last five years, owe much to a tradition that many composers of his generation have avoided, boldly proclaiming it outdated whilst inwardly realizing its challenges to be too great.
Vuori's first was completed in 2003 and follows the four-movement tradition. He works to a tonal centre of B flat and builds from that focus in a slow introduction, gathering momentum into a succeeding bright allegretto in a well and clearly structured sonata form.
Listen -- Adagio non tanto -- Allegretto (Symphony No 1)
(track 1, 0:00-1:38) © 2008 Toccata Classics
Through the broad lines of a slow movement into a lively scherzo there is no loss of the tonal focus, the composer sticking firmly to his structural purpose with striking originality.
Listen -- Allegro e molto scherzando (Symphony No 1)
(track 3, 3:21-4:20) © 2008 Toccata Classics
The Second Symphony is no less colourful though inhabiting a more fragmented sound world, yet still clearly from the same imaginative source.
Listen -- Allegro (Symphony No 2)
(track 6, 0:00-1:00) © 2008 Toccata Classics
Here too there is a tonal focus -- this time on E -- and thematic material grows from delicate fragments, assisted by more prominent percussion into stronger lines, with throughout a play on polyrhythmic patterns.
Listen -- Adagio (Symphony No 2)
(track 7, 1:13-2:03) © 2008 Toccata Classics
This is very competent writing, and the two symphonies side by side show an interesting development from the grand orchestral symphonic tradition of the first to the more concentrated chamber music distribution of materials which eventually, at the end of the second, disappear into the ether.
Copyright © 27 September 2008
Patric Standford, Wakefield UK
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Harri Vuori: Symphonies Nos 1 and 2
TOCC 0087 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 76'11" 2008 Toccata Classics
Tuomas Pirilä, conductor
Harri Vuori (born 1957):
Symphony No 1 (2003)
1 Adagio non tanto - Allegretto
2 Lento -
3 Allegro e molto scherzando -
4 Allegro non troppo
Symphony No 2 (2007)
5 Lento -
6 Allegro -
7 Adagio -
8 Appassionato -
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