Review of Toccata Finnish guitar music by Otto Tolonen, SibaRecords, 2013
All world premiere recordings. Finnish classical guitar player Otto Tolonen plays here an un-compromised set of Finnish guitar repertoire, six world premiere recordings from the earliest Finnish modern guitar composition to the latest. This record is at the same time a journey through the evolution of contemporary guitar music in Finland and a journey into Otto Tolonen’s cultural world and thoughts. The first piece “Suite pour Guitare op. 32”, composed in 1949 by Erik Bergman is a decidedly neoclassical suite, inserted in a part of the styles of the period. With “Alone” by Jarkko Hartikainen the “quantum leap” is definitely evident. We are in 2007. The use of sound is different. The use of the instrument is different. We are in another world. Aki Yli-Salomäki composes in 2010 Odota, part of a series, and it is music without rhythm, without gravity, it is a center, no destination, only peace. And from peace to murder: The Threatened Assasin by Adam Vilagi, composed in 2008 as the request of Tolonen himself. The first composition for guitar by this composer, a piece created in search of a personal style and with his title that recalls Magritte. Elegieta by Sauli Zinovjev is from 2013. Elegiaco. Simple and with a great atmosphere. The album closes with Tenebrae, by Jouni Kaipainen. A reference to the Catholic rite. A church that slowly falls into darkness. The candles extinguished one by one. Toccata is an intimate record. I’ve never been to Finland. Sometimes I imagine it like this, in its silences, in the quiet, in the spaces.