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Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, July 2008

The works on this release fall into what has been described as Kokkonen’s third, final, and longest creative period, characterized by a kind of “neo-Romantic style of free tonality.” Two preceding, shorter periods found the composer experimenting with neo-Cassical and then 12-tone techniques. Most of that is behind him in the 1969 Cello Concerto, a large free-ranging work in five movements that structurally resembles to some extent Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto of exactly a decade earlier. Both concertos contain as a designated movement an extended solo cadenza. Stylistically too, Kokkonen’s opus owes some small debt to the Russian composer. It’s a mid-20th-century work employing techniques of the above-mentioned free tonality, piquant harmonies, colorful orchestration, and an expressive solo part that provides a satisfying balance between flights of lyricism and virtuosic display. All of this is wrapped in a tasty taco shell that is toothsome and easily digested. © 2008 Fanfare Read complete review

Guy Rickards
Gramophone, April 2008

Kokkonen’s three finest orchestral scores in superlative readings. © 2008 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

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