Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2
Hyvinkí¤í¤ Orchestra; Tuomas Pirilí¤, conductor
I was not familiar with the name Harri Vuori prior to hearing this CD, but I find the Finnish composer’s music to be a logical extension of that countries symphonic tradition. Symphony No. 1, from 2003, is a colorful sustained work covering four discreet movements. The opening grumbles in the brass and percussion are pitted against eerie drooping string gestures until all forces join in a nexus moment. While this symphony does have four distinct movements, there are enough orchestral techniques and gestural ideas to make the work seem continuous.
Symphony No. 2 is a continuous arch spanning five movements. This particular symphony comes only 4 years after the first but I find the rise in maturity level quite striking. Symphony No. 1 felt a little disjunct, even though there are ideas that permeate each of the movements. To my ears, that symphony lacked an internal trajectory that Symphony No. 2 has in spades. The orchestra radiates and shines under Vuori’s music and there is a palpable sense of direction present that was missing in the earlier composition. Most of the orchestrational gestures in Symphony No. 2 are from the same vocabulary as Symphony No. 1, but the later work is far more propulsive and engaging.