Guitarist Petri Kumela is establishing himself worldwide as one of Finland’s most versatile and sought-after performers, equally at ease with both vintage instruments and contemporary music. In fact, over the years he has been able to build a solid reputation based on his skills as an original and versatile guitarist, at ease in any situation. Kumela studied at the Helsinki Conservatory with Juan Antonio Muro and at the Hochschule für Musik Nürnberg-Augsburg in Germany with Franz Halász.
He was the first guitarist to be accepted for the prestigious Meisterklassen study program and, for two consecutive years, he received a rare DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) scholarship to continue his studies in the Halász masterclass. He has also participated in masterclasses with Leo Brouwer, Oscar Kiglia, Alirio Díaz, Eduardo Egüez and David Russell. His discography consists of ten recordings which have all achieved great critical acclaim. “Change is gonna come” (2010) was chosen by both the Helsingin Sanomat and the American Record Guide as the critical choices of the year and the album “In Strange Company” (2013) was named album of the year by the Finn Broadcasting Company (YLE) and for the record industry EMMA award. In 2016 he released “Fantasía Andaluza” together with flamenco guitarist Joonas Widenius and in 2017 “Goldberg” with German guitarist Jürgen Ruck. His recording of Fernando Sor’s music on a vintage guitar was elected by the prestigious Classical Guitar Magazine as one of the ten best recordings of 2018.
This year he presents us this “Small Creatures”, a complex and articulated work built around a different idea of repertoire. In fact, in 2007 Kumela had the brilliant intuition of building a new recording repertoire, collecting and interpreting 35 pieces having in common the fact of being dedicated to an animal and/or an insect.
This new bestiary of musical creatures had to have two characteristics: 1) the pieces had to have the characteristics of a miniature, 2) the creature object of inspiration had to be no bigger than a cat. A perfect idea not only for a record but also for a concert. This record therefore turns out to be a sort of fantastic bestiary where the tiny creatures are reviewed and told by the sensitivity and imagination of the composers, first, and then reread by the interpreter, later. Kumela did a really great job.
The musical miniature is a thin slice of space and time, in which boundaries seem arbitrary and information is compressed within them. In this narrow expressive sphere, both the composer and the performer are forced to carry out a remarkable work of synthesis, both conceptual and expressive, in an attempt to represent and tell the object of their music.
It’s a kind of creative economy, where much is left to the imagination induced by the listener and where every single note, every single gesture acquires an important weight. How important is the underlying narrative, which helps to insert each miniature, each creature in its zoological context.
How important are the graphics of Erika Kallasmaa and the photos of Venla Kumela, capable of creating a beautiful art work, perfectly capable of accompanying our imagination while listening to the music.
One of the most beautiful records of this sad 2020.
P.S. Rightly, Kumela reminds us that no animals were injured during the recordings of this record. It’s mandatory to insert the tracklist of these 35 miniatures:
1. Pehr Henrik Nordgren / Kalevi Aho: Moiwa no risu (Sciurus lis) 1:57
2. Cyro Delvizio: O Gato (Felis catus) 2:23
3. Juan Antonio Muro: La petite bête hystérique (Mustela nivalis) 1:48
4. Ville Raasakka: Pet Monkey Paw Motion (Saimiri sciureus) 0:52
5. Michael Parsons: Siili (Erinaceus europaeus) 2:06
6. Poul Ruders: Rattus rattus 1:10
7. Jyrki Myllärinen: Scarabeo (Scarabaeus sacer) 2:37
8. Rodrigo Sigal: Mantis (Mantis religiosa) 1:29
9. Carlo Domeniconi: Praying Mantis (Mantis religiosa) 1:47
10. Petri Kumela: Paksun myyrän parempi passacaglia (Myodes glareolus) 2:16
11. Kimmo Kuokkala: Ai-ai (Daubentonia madagascariensis) 0:17
12. Adam Vilagi: Mangustit (Herpestidae) 4:34
13. Ilkka Hammo: Liito-orava (Pteromys volans) 2:40
14. Jarkko Hartikainen: tardigrade (Hypsibius dujardini) 0:57
15. Veli-Matti Puumala: Hämähäkki & Taivaanvuohi (Araneus diadematus – Gallinago gallinago) 2:01
16. Osmo Tapio Räihälä: Kalliokirskuja (Aeronautes saxatalis) 2:09
17. Joachim F.W. Schneider: Calypte Anna 1:10
18. Carlé Costa: Hummingbird (Trochilidae) 1:05
19. Paavo Korpijaakko: Cossus cossus 2:38
20. Javier Contreras: Coleopteros (Coleoptera) 3:53
21. José-María Sánchez-Verdú: El Abejorro (Bombus) 0:48
22. Jennah Vainio: Magpie Bones (Pica pica) 3:31
23. Riikka Talvitie: Pieni hippiäistyttö (Regulus regulus) 2:25
24. Uljas Pulkkis: Ööpö metsästää (Bubo bubo) 1:39
25. Jimmy López Bellido: Ladybug (Coccinellidae) 2:10
26. Kalevi Aho: Törö (Gobio gobio) 3:04
27. Sami Klemola: Rapu (Astacus astacus) 1:00
28. Olli Virtaperko: Särmäneula (Syngnathus typhle) 3:42
29. Ichiro Hirano: Heikegani (Heikeopsis japonica) 4:47
30. Aki Yli-Salomäki: Vesimittari (Gerridae) 1:35
31. Antti Auvinen: Malluainen (Micronecta scholtzi) 1:07
32. Minna Leinonen: Merisiili (Diadema setosum) 2:35
33. Lotta Wennäkoski: Silakka (Clupea harengus membras) 2:12
34. Lauri Supponen: Aksolotli (Ambystoma mexicanum) 1:08
35. Maurizio Pisati: Denise (Hippocampus denise, Lampyris noctiluca & Lepisma saccharina) 5:25