Though it was the least well received by its intended dedicatee – Pablo de Sarasate – the third violin concerto of Camille Saint-Saëns has endured as one of his most popular concertos along with the A minor Cello Concerto and the Third Piano Concerto. The earlier two violin concertos, each written some 20 years before, are still noteworthy, lively concertos, but lack the same emotional impact and maturity of the seasoned B minor Concerto. What they may lack in depth is made up for with pyrotechnic virtuosic displays, perhaps explaining Sarasate's fondness. This Naxos album places the B minor Concerto first, ending with the C major Concerto, a program order that curiously seems to place the bigger "bang" finish at the beginning, closing with a less emphatic note.
The Girls of Angeli find their inspiration in yoik, a type of traditional music from the Sami, Finland's indigenous people. Their album, The New Voice of the North, combines the chanting cadences of yoik with contemporary dance and pop elements, and collects the group's works from 1992 to 1997. (…) The New Voice of the North is a beautiful fusion of native and new music, and worthwhile for fans of adventurous, experimental world music.
Kreutzer and Rode with the seriousness, perfection of form and developmental skills of the Viennese classical school of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, Louis Spohr imbued his violin concertos with both formal mastery and a delightfully nonchalant elegance.
No one knows quite when tango was established in Finland, but the style has a long history there – still little known to outsiders – and combines rhythmic interest and yearning melody with a distinctively Nordic melancholy. In this ingeniously curated programme, two Finnish tangos from the 1950s and a tango-based work by Finnish classical composer Aulis Sallinen are woven into a bold tapestry of music from the Eastern Baltic seaboard. Longing, sadness, and a heightened sense of nature infuse all of these works, which also reveal intriguing stylistic connections: the rocking accompaniment of Sibelius’ 'Einsames Lied' seems to prefigure the ‘Baltic minimalism’ of Vasks, Pärt and Zita Bružaité, while Olli Mustonen’s 'Toccata' alternates rhythmic verve with a rich vein of reflective memory. These original compositions are complemented by Robert McFall’s own sensitive arrangements, for a core McFall’s lineup of five strings and piano, and the programme culminates in a truly unique version of Sibelius’s famous 'Finlandia' Hymn.