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Richard Whitehouse
Gramophone, January 2020

The Flute Concerto (2018) is the most successful of these pieces. Its near half-hour continuity, as divided into two parts, yields a three-movement trajectory. The first evolves from breathy undulation to sustained eloquence, the second frames a climactic quasi cadenza with more combative dialogue, then the third pivots between the capricious and the winsome before its deft final pay-off. Principal flautist of the FRSO, Yuki Koyama is wholly attuned to a piece written for him, with Dima Slobodeniouk assured in his direction. Sound and annotations are both up to Ondine’s customary standards, so making for a firm if qualified recommendation. © 2020 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Richard Hanlon
MusicWeb International, December 2019

To my ears The Phoenix Force particularly evokes a rather forgotten masterpiece of the early 1990s, Benedict Mason’s remarkable Self-Referential Songs and Realistic Virelais. It’s captivatingly performed by Helena Juntunen, who makes the amalgam of heavy-breathed blowing sounds, silly infantile babble, insistent syllabic mutterings, onomatopoeia, alliteration and even bel canto seem perfectly natural and even beautiful. Haapanen’s writing for chamber orchestra is equally detailed and vibrant…

…All three pieces here seem to confirm that Perttu Haapanen is a major player in the firmament of new Finnish music, and one hopes that this fine new Ondine issue will win him an army of new admirers. I certainly look forward to hearing more. © 2019 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2019

Born in 1972 and musically educated in Finland, Perttu Haapanen is at the cutting-edge of innovative sounds that fall within the established bounds of convention. Compulsion Island is a fantasy world that can change, in a trice, from a revolting vista to one of a strange beauty. It works perfectly as a vehicle for producing unusual orchestral sonorities, the enclosed booklet revealing the methods Haapanen has used to create such a wide dynamic range. Equally he can be sparing in the use of his full-sized symphony orchestra, just as if you have wandered into a totally uninhabited space. In one movement divided into nine sections, Ladies’ Room is fashioned from words found in such diverse places as the bible and the Internet provider, Google, and often interspersed by nonsense words. Completed in 2008, it is not over-flattering on the soprano soloist, but does stress the voice in its upward demands, Helena Juntunen an obviously dedicated soloist in a series of acrobatic ‘sounds’. That work was completed in 2008, ten years before his Flute Concerto, here recorded in an April concert from last year. In two contrasting movements, to innocent ears it would seem to explore bird-like song to which the flute is very familiar, though his ‘programme notes’ do not support such rustic thoughts. The finale is in the mode of virtuoso showpiece, the soloist here pitted against the orchestra that is often explosive. I guess an accompanying role throughout was a challenge to the Finnish Orchestra and their conductor, Hannu Lintu, but they obviously relished it. The recording quality is superb. © 2019 David’s Review Corner





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