Saariaho: Chamber Works for Strings, Vol. 1
Kaija Saariaho is a top contemporary composer, which means she gets her share of orchestral invitations. That's as it should be -- though it also means she hasn't been writing as much chamber music lately. This album corrects the trend: "Tocar" (violin and piano), "Vent Nocturne" (viola and electronics), and "Calices" (violin and piano) are premiere recordings, and they're rich pieces. (Check the rough-hewn viola texture and electronic damage midway through "Sombres Minores," the first movement of Vent.) Remaining cuts are of more familiar works, but the meta4 players give strong new readings.