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Review: Celebrating Sibelius and His Slowly Imparted Secrets

Mr. Salonen wrote similarly of his “Mania” (2000), which followed, citing Sibelius’s Seventh Symphony as a model: “The transitions are often seamless and telescopic, with new things beginning before their precursors have ended.”

Both works are striking in their sonorities as well, and both coincidentally end with a loud, high ping. “Radical Light” uses full orchestra to the hilt throughout. “Mania” is a … well, manic concertante work for cello and chamber orchestra, pointedly excluding a cello section.

Photo

Jonathan Roozeman on cello.

Credit
Richard Termine for The New York Times

Mr. Salonen wrote the work for his friend the cello virtuoso Anssi Karttunen, but the soloist here, Jonathan Roozeman, a young Finnish-Dutch cellist, proved a virtuoso himself. Then he wowed listeners with the finale of Gaspar Cassadó’s Suite for Cello, with its strong Spanish dance flavor, as encore.

The Sibelius suite, subtitled “Four Legends From the Kalevala” (1896), is a rousing affair, depicting the adventures of Lemminkainen, a hero of Finnish folklore. It is best known for the elegiac movement “The Swan of Tuonela,” which provided a rich solo opportunity for the English hornist, Ryan Roberts, who played exquisitely, and a lesser one for the principal cellist, Eddie Pogossian, who was also impressive.

The joint ensemble, with the Finnish women sporting scarves and the men wearing subtler ties in the blue of the cross on their nation’s flag, was excellent even through the many challenges of the contemporary fare, as only to be expected from such lofty auspices. For their encore, Mr. Salonen and the orchestra turned elegiac again, with Sibelius’s “Valse Triste.”

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