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At first glance, the programme of the BFO concert conducted by Osmo Vänskä was bizarre in terms of choice. The article below talks about the concert of the Budapest Festival Orchestra on Sunday (12 May). (fidelio.hu)

The concert started with contemporary Finnish music, Kalevi Aho’s Minea (2008) composed for a symphony orchestra.  Then we heard Piano Concerto No. 1 by Bartók with Dezső Ránki as the soloist, in the second part of the evening the orchestra played a selection of 12 movements from Prokofiev’s ballet, Romeo and Juliet.  Maybe it is only coincidental that these three pieces were not just played one after the other, but they also resonated with each other.  The key was the “overture”.  Kalevi Aho did a good job compiling a genuinely effective and attractive partiture for the orchestra.  We can take it for granted that this composition will not be part of secondary school curriculum in a hundred years’ time, but who will be from our contemporary composers?  The fact that the composer modified his strategy as regards form, half way into the piece, is typical rather than surprising.  In the beginning the composition seems to be a rondo, but the second episode is so extensive that it dominates the entire second part of the piece, and at the end the composer appends to it a coda made of the same material.   The material itself was rather simple, upgraded ingeniously by the clever (slightly bombastic) orchestration.  Kalevi Aho knows (or learnt e.g. from Prokofiev) that the musical material which is suitable for an orchestra is not necessarily complicated, and this uncomplicated material lends itself to various types of ostinatos.  Maybe this is also attributable to the influence of Soviet music (Prokofiev and/or Shostakovich).  Percussions dominated, their function was to divert the audience’s attention from the shrinking innovation (which, by the way, they managed to do successfully).

Please, click here for the article.