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Scottish Ensemble with Pekka Kuusisto

Written by Neil Jones, The Scotsman

reproduced with permission

article | The Scotsman

Scottish Ensemble with Pekka Kuusisto
Star rating *****

The Scottish Ensemble was joined by the Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto to form a baker's dozen of outstanding talent for the final concert in the 2008 sound Festival, where, delightfully, the audience was never quite sure what was coming next.

Kuusisto was the youngest ever winner of the Sibelius Prize but has since pursued a highly individualistic career encompassing chamber music by way of jazz, folk and electronic music.

After a brief introduction in which Kuusisto's ironic wit was evident, he started with an old Finnish folk tune that was the source material for Rautavaara's Fiddlers Op 1. After this short, charismatic beginning the Ensemble came into play – beautifully – for the five movements of Rautavaara's piece.

There then followed the first of two Kuusisto diversions using an electronic violin and sound system where, with both instrument and voice, he created layers of sound to evoke the vastness and loneliness of the Finnish landscape.

This led directly into an atmospheric piece by Aulis Sallinen, Some Aspects of Peltoniemi Hintrik's Funeral March, where Kuusisto sublimated his playing to become essentially a member of the Ensemble.

After another eccentric Kuusisto electronic improvisation, which slightly bemused some of the watching Ensemble players, the musicians played the too-short and utterly exquisite Sibelius Humoresque Op 89 No 4 in G minor.

Erkki-Sven Tüür's Passion and Bartók's wonderful Divertimento for Strings formed the second half of the concert, the third movement of the Divertimento giving Kuusisto the opportunity he needed to step out from the Ensemble and show the subtlety, delicacy and sheer musicianship that makes him one of the world's most interesting violinists.

reproduced by kind permission of The Scotsman.

events mentioned
  Date Day Time Location Event Details

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17Mon7.30 pmAberdeenScottish Ensemble, with Pekka Kuusisto, violin