This disc is a double tribute. The first work, Pictured Within, is a collective effort conceived as a major project to mark the 60th birthday of conductor Martyn Brabbins, whose reputation in new music and British music is beyond reproach. Following the pattern of Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations, Pictured Within is a series of 14 variations on a theme, &&&each of which takes up the character of the equivalent variation in Elgar’s work, the difference being that here 14 different composers have each contributed a variation in tribute to Brabbins.
Also on the SACD is Jaakko Kuusisto’s Symphony, a fitting tribute to the composer, conductor and violinist who passed away in 2022. Illness left Jaakko no time to complete his work, so it fell to his brother Pekka – who conducts here – and Jari Eskola to finish it. The result is a powerful piece, full of familiar themes and melodies derived from Jaakko’s existing compositions, to which are added autobiographical extra-musical elements. The moving conclusion is a collage of fragmented phrases inspired by the signals emitted by lighthouses and ships, as if Kuusisto’s spirit had been sent out to sea.