Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:


  Three Impromptus for clarinet and kantele. String Quartet No.2. What's a nice chord like you doing in a piece like this? for three accordians. String Quartet No.1 'Dancescapes' Twitching Gait.
BIS CD 1107
[67 mins]

This is an interesting and thought-provoking compilation of music by a young Finnish composer, comprising works composed during a five year span 1992 & 1997, recorded 1993-1999. Is it a new departure for BIS to have chosen the silliest title for its cover illustration - to attract what new group of purchasers?

WANCLYDIAPLT was a jeu d'esprit for the Helsinki Film Festival, originally a fanfare for five accordions, here reduced to three, over-dubbed by Mikko Luoma. Juhani Nuorvala (b. 1961) hoped it would catch the 'child-like wackiness' of an American Underground film-star.

Nuorvala draws on urban pop as well as French 'spectral' music, American Minimalism and New Romanticism (he chose to study with the iconoclastic David Del Tredici) and he celebrates the blurring of the line between 'high' and 'popular' culture, blending disparate ingredients 'to create a mode of expression entirely his own', says the anonymous writer of the introduction to Nuorvala's own programme notes. He starts with clear, simple figures which may become complex - the jazzy Twitching Gait has a four-note melodic motif in 4/4 with a shortened fourth beat. The string quartets interested me less; they till ground familiar from the Kronos repertoire; the second relying heavily on short scalar figures.

The best reason to explore this portrait of a composer with a restless, enquiring mind is the first item, Impromptus for clarinet and kantele, a zither'like traditional Finnish folk instrument. With Aino Meisalmi-Minklainen's kantele tuned to 'just intonation', Nuorvala introduces several innovations, percussive effects and glissandi using the tuning levers. Delicious.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers : - The UK's Biggest Video Store

Concert and Show tickets


Musicians accessories

Click here to visit

Return to Index