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Saariaho Trios 1998-2008

Anssi Karttunen (cello), Pia Freund (soprano), Tuija Hakkila (piano), Mikael Helasvuo (alto flute), Steven Dann (viola), Florent Jodelet (percussion) Zebra Trio

CD Ondine ODE11892 [77 mins]

60 in October, Kaija Saariaho's Lichtbogen with its discreet electronic enhancement enchanted me c. 1885, when she was a new name in UK.

She is celebrated here for her chamber music in instrumental trios for varied combinations (plus one with voice). Of the purely instrumental ones the Cloud Trio is an important addition to the repertoire of the standard string trio, whereas each of the others varies the line up.

Je sens un deuxième coeur
for viola, cello and piano (a unique combination; violists take note !) is the most dramatic, growing from tranquil meditation to menacing, violent aggressive passion.

The Serenatas bring in the colouration of percussion, ending this well-packed dis with a moody Languido and a final Misterioso.

A marvellous compilation which can be enjoyed straight through, though the density of the music will make it wise to take at least one break.

Peter Grahame Woolf