I bought the award winning recording of the second symphony and that really packs a punch. I was so looking forward to the follow up third.
I see one reviewer was very disappointed with the sound quality. I agree that it isn't exactly demonstration but I think the real problem is the symphony itself. After the second it seems to cover the same material in a slightly more diffuse manner sounding more generally gloomy than the dramatic, triumphant and angry music of its predecessor. It sounds like well over half an hour of rather grey and grumpy music with little contrast in mood other than the changes in tempo and dynamics. My advice is go for the second and steer clear of this.
The cello concerto, on the other hand, fares much better. There isn't much wrong with the recorded sound. The Cellist Marko Ylonen and orchestra are first rate. There is plenty of drama and repose in the concerto, with more than a hint of a journey from beginninng to end, with moments of light,shade, triumph and desolution along the way.
It isn't the cheapest cd you could buy but if you're to get one fine work for your money then go for it.
The Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra is one of Finland's finest, and they do Vasks' third symphony and Cello Concerto proud. This follows on from their award winning and equally excellent recording of Vasks' second symphony and violin concerto 'Distant Light'.
Vasks work stands well alongside his Northern European contemporaries: Part, Rautavaara and Tuur. Less well known than Part, his work is perhaps more accessible and incorporates traditional elements from his native Latvia, and though it is by no means 'easy' listening it never gets tangled in a modernist knot. The third symphony repeats the emotional depth of the second symphony, though is perhaps gentler. Vasks makes full use of a large orchestra and those familiar with the second symphony will recognise the similarities.
The Cello concerto builds gently and slowly through five movements to a tremendous, soaring finale in the Cantus II, before rising softly and fading. Too challenging for a Classic FM listener but the form is still very classical, Vasks' composing is measured and he never allows the medium dominate his message. Marko Ylonen's playing is precise and is balanced well by conductor John Storgards, with the excellent Tampere PO showing why Finland punches above its weight in the classical music world.
Worth the money for the Cello concerto alone. I can see this being well played over the coming months.
I couldn't wait to get this - Vasks has long been one of my favourite modern composers. And, oh dear, what a disappointment. Yes, the music is very fine and is (probably) ably performed. But the sound quality is murky and ill-defined. I can't really hear what is going on at all. It's the same on both the CD and SACD layers. What a shame! How can they screw up this badly?