Aho is very lucky to have the benefit of the advocacy of Osmo Vanska, surely one of our greatest conductors, but he has earned it. The two works here are both very memorable and enjoyable. The piano concerto is an immediately attractive and accessible work, fully of richly dense yet flowing piano passages and a very colourful orchestral score. A plethora of distinctive ideas are given structure and direction in a work that is very contemporary and instantly captivating. You hear it once and instantly want to hear it again. The symphony is also enormously accomplished and filled with wonderfully imaginative passages.
I am not sure how you can describe Aho's music. I can't think of any useful comparisons. I bought this disc without knowing too much about how it would be. I had the CD of Aho's very distinctive Clarinet Concerto (coupled with the Nielsen) but that didn't really prepare me for the more substantial fare that I hoped I would find on this disc. Suffice it to say that the two pieces here have greatly surpassed my expectations and I will be buying more from this series.