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Pehr Henrik Nordgren
Music for String Orchestra

Rock Score, Op.100 (1997) for 19 strings
Concerto No.1 for Cello and String Orchestra, Op.50 (1980)
Transe-Choral, Op.67 (1985) for 15 strings

Marko Ylönen, cello
Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra/ Juha Kangas, conductor

A composer based in Kaustinen, far from the capital, Pehr Nordgren (b.1944) has had a long and fruitful collaboration with the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, an excellent provincial string orchestra which has premiered some twenty of his works.

Those here are accessible and direct, but combine in a far from simplistic manner elements of modernism and minimalism together with tonal thinking.

Don't be misled by Rock Score! It is the Kaustinen concert hall, built into a rocky hillside, that is being celebrated here. The cello concerto is the first of Nordgren's many concertos, with two preludes leading to a prolonged Hymn finishing in a resounding Bb major. Transe-Choral was originated from living in Paris within sight of Notre Dame, a nightmarish atmosphere giving way ultimately to a 'universal chorale-like mood', unison invaded by dissonant decorative notes, broadening to end in F# major. We found all this music held the attention as a new and singular voice, and the achievement by the Ostrobothnians is formidable.

I cannot resist adding the cover portrait of the composer; a friendly face, somebody one would like to meet!


© Peter Grahame Woolf