## 1 - 5 Concerto for Bassoon and Low Strings (1975);
# 6 Concordanza for Chamber Orchestra (1971);
# 7 Detto II for Cello and Chamber Orchestra (1972).
Lahti Chamber Ensemble conducted by Osmo Vanska.
Recording data: 1993-08-16/19 at the Jarvenpaa Concert Hall, Finland
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Concerto for Bassoon and Low Strings
Gubaidulina composed her Concerto for Bassoon and Low Strings in 1975. It is dedicated to the Russian bassoonist Valeri Popov, who gave its first performance in Moscow the following year.
The composer has described the formal structure of the piece as follows: The first, third and fifth movements represent sections of sonata form. The first movement is the exposition, so to speak, the third is the development and the fifth is the recapitulation. The second and fourth movements are intermezzi. The movements are moreover linked together: the episode that ends the first movement also begins the third, and the fifth movement begins with the same material which concluded the third.'
Alongside the purely formal aspect, Gubaidulina's idea of personification of tonal colours and of the dramaturgical functionalisation of bassoon and instrumental ensemble are of great significance in the work. Sofia Gubaidulina has here succeeded in creating a role-play with the bassoon, which appears as a sort of personality with the task of fighting a swamp of banalities but which is finally subsumed therein. Standing in the centre of the tragicomical buffoonery, it fulfils a Charlie Chaplin-like role.
The composer has often explained that it was her task to use musical expression as a means to find a correspondence to the complex situation of mankind today. Her Bassoon Concerto is one of the works which show these words to be more than mere rhetoric.
- Victor Suslin
Concordanza (1971) is a one-movement composition for instrumental ensemble, written at the behest of the ensemble 'Musica viva' from Prague. The instrumentation of the piece offers a variation of the 'soloists' ensemble', as established in the twentieth century. Each of the instrumental groups of the symphony orchestra is represented by a single player.
As is often the case with Gubaidulina, the work's title briefly summarizes the underlying compositional concept. 'Concordanza' means 'concord', 'harmony', 'unanimity'. The composer develops this according to the principles of drama - a process which she has made very much her own since writing this piece. The initial 'concord' of the parts soon encounters opposition - 'discordanza' (discord). The polarities of 'concordanza' and 'discordanza' here work like plot and sub-plot in a drama, or the 'binary opposition' encountered in linguistics. Interestingly we do not find contrast between traditional themes, but rather between modern sound elements, contemporary procedures for sound creation. 'Concord' is represented by the legato manner of playing, the peaceful forward motion of the parts and the lack of pauses. 'Discord' is represented by staccato and tremolo, trills, disjointed part-writing and a structure punctuated by pauses - and also by the sound of spoken sibilants (which are written into this otherwise instrumental score). This 'instrumental drama' of chamber music goes through various stages. In the first section 'concord' dominates, with the wind instruments' broad stream of legato melodies enriched by 'discordant' tension caused by the strings' tremolo. The 'sub-plot' now arrives, with a striking double bass solo containing violent melodic leaps and interspersed pauses. The climax of 'concord' reaches a quiet culmination in the harmonious meeting of the double bass with violin harmonics. The climax of'discord' acts as the overall dynamic climax of the entire work. The final section is a recapitulation of the opening - with the difference (stemming from the previous development of the drama) that the legato wind melodies are accompanied by a much stronger, more excited string tremolo; the wind themselves later begin to play staccato. In this manner all the peripeteias of the dramatic development are reproduced in Gubaidulina's Concordanza with means of sonic
(based on Valentina Sholopova, 'Sofia Gubaidulina - Putevoditel po proizvedeniyam', Moscow 1992)
Detto II for cello and chamber ensemble was composed in 1972 for the Russian cellist Natalia Shakovskaya. The Italian word 'detto' ('said') in the title of this one-movement piece refers to the narrative character of the music. The particular expressivity of the work derives principally from the quarter-tone glissandi of the solo instrument. As the music progresses, it develops from the opening meditative immobility to a dramatic, impulsive middle section. Finally the work dies away in contemplative peace. This conception corresponds to the idea of a gradual extension of the melodic progress of the solo cello from quarter-tones to several octaves and then back to quarter-tones. This type of compositional format gives the work a wave-shaped dynamic structure. Detto II is also distinguished by colourful exploitation of the extensive percussion section. The coda contains an especially interesting musical solution: the cello theme, almost inaudible, dies away gradually, accompanied by ppp comments from the flute, celesta, glockenspiel, crotales and higher strings.
The Lahti Chamber Ensemble was founded in 1986 to fill the gap between the official music life and musicians'
Utopias. The musicians are either members of the award-winning Lahti Symphony Orchestra or teachers at the Paijat-Hame Music Conservatory. The goal of the ensemble has been to offer audiences a clearly different viewpoint on programmes and concerts: in various instrumental combinations the ensemble has performed music from the baroque to the present in venues ranging from churches to pubs.
Contemporary music plays a major role in the LCE's concert programmes. The ensemble also gives its support to contemporary music life by commissioning new compositions, arranging seminars for Finnish composers and also by organizing chamber music competitions for local students.