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Tauno Marttinen (1912-2008) was extraordinarily prolific, composing nearly 1,000 works in all, including over 20 operas, ten symphonies, four piano concertos and other orchestral works, chamber and instrumental music. The earliest work in this well-played programme is the atmospheric three-movement Taara Suite (1967), named after the Estonian nature god. Quasi-Impressionist washes of sound decorate a strong underlying cohesion.

Marttinen’s mystical-philosophical attitude to composition dominates his first Sonata (1974), also in three movements. Premonition and Look into the Mind’s Landscape is dramatic and troubled, whereas At the Border of Past and Future is a reflective, rather lovely nocturne in ternary design; Vision, which crystallises the calming force of eternity, confounds expectations, transmuting from a dance into a driving perpetuum mobile. Marttinen’s penchant for the unexpected is evident still more in the dark, moody Easter (1971-72) and Gleams (1977), where as much emphasis is given to the shadows against which the glittering light shines. In the compact, single-movement Sonata No 3 (1982), thematic lines develop through fitfully contrapuntal landscapes, growing in intensity towards a finger-blistering climax.

Somero is a persuasive advocate for music that is not always ingratiating to the ear, catching its poetry and inner fire. FC-Records’ sound is clear and resonant, the acoustic of the Kuusaa Hall in Kuusankoski caught very naturally. The booklet provides a brief commentary on the composer but nothing about the works themselves.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing