Reviews

Timo Korhonen's playing is sensational. Korhonen is the new champion, new Tárrega of the guitar! 

Leo Brouwer, composer / conductor, Cuba, 1992

 

In my opinion he is one of the most important guitarists active now, by any standards, anywhere. His technique seems limitless, but it never calls attention to itself, it is simply a tool to get deep into the musical expression and content. What has impressed me most however, is Mr Korhonen's artistic and intellectual curiosity and his open mind. He knows no fear when venturing into previously unknown territory. In fact he is someone who absolutely cherishes new challenges, and he is deeply committed not only to expanding the repertoire of his instrument but also pushing himself musically beyond previous limits, concert after concert, week after week, year after year.

Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor / composer

June 2009

 

Korhonen's fluency gives a fragrant spaciousness to the music that allows each detail to shimmer with significance within the context of the whole. Simply put, this is masterful playing on every level.

William Yeoman, Gramophone, June 2007, 'Gramophone recommends'

 

Korhonen's playing is outstanding throughout. The music is awash with rippling arpeggios, airy harmonics, lyrical melodies and sometimes violent strumming; these Korhonen relates to their more rational syntactic underpinnings with the skill of an interior designer who happens to be possessed of a peculiar genius.

Robert Levett, International Record Review, April 2007

 

The elegant Toimii guitarist Timo Korhonen plays with a transcendental ease - he tossed off the transcriptions of Chopin Mazurkas on Thursday night as if they were nothing at all. 

Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, June 1999

 

Just when you think you've heard this warhorse material as good as it can ever hope to be (Segovia, Williams, Ragossnig), along comes someone who shakes you silly with perfect music-making. This someone is Timo Korhonen, a Finnish guitarist and relative unknown in the States who gave me my second favourite record 1990, a superb Brouwer outing unmatched even by Barruecos's skilful record. 

It is amazing that someone with such a feel for contemporary idioms can sound just as strong in Spanish Golden Oldies, but Korhonen does. Korhonen is introspective and ever-so-subtle. It's refreshing to hear a guitarist so confident his abilities that he doesn't feel obliged to rush or hurry a single note. And his endings are the absolutely best on the face of earth, ever so subtle and rhetorical. ... 

Few records have ever affected me so profoundly and caught my every waking thought. Only Segovia has given as much insight into this repertoire, which is astounding considering Korhonen is 26 year old! I'm not one to push the guitar onto everybody, but no one should be without this disk. Not only Segovia's, but Korhonen's shadows may await those who approach this repertoire in the future. 

Ellis, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, U.S.A.  1992

 

The Finnish guitarist Timo Korhonen, winner of the prestigious Cannes Classical Award 2003 for his recording of Leo Brouwer's fifth Guitar Concerto, plays dumbfoundingly, with sensitive sound, disarming naturality - in such a level of playing only very few guitarists ever reached. 

Frank Gerdes, Klassik-Heute, 2004

 

Den finske guitarist Timo Korhonen har arrangeret de tre sonater, som Mullova spiller i originalversionen, for sin egen guitar. Det er forbløffende, som musikken skifter karakter. Den bliver lettere og lysere, mere afslappet og afslappende, men den taber ikke sine kvaliteter.

Jyllandsposten, May 25, 2009

 

Korhonen's style of playing has a beautiful economy and utmost clarity of line. (...) The end result (Bach Sonatas and Partitas) we hear in these performances is a luminous beauty that often has decided spiritual dimension.

Atlanta Audio Society Journal, April 2009

 

Selbst in den spielerisch genommenen virtuosen Finalsätzen brilliert er mit einer makellosen Tongebung - so auch im Schluss-Allegro der Sonate Nr. 2 a-Moll BWV 1003, deren von dem Gitarristen bestechend ausgeführte Echo-Wirkungen dem Satz eine besondere räumliche Tiefe verleihen. Spätestens hier wird deutlich, mit welcher Akribie (...) Timo Korhonen dem schöpferischen Prozess auf den Grund zu gehen sucht und dabei stets auf das Ganze schaut, auf die Gesamtarchitektur und Ausdruckshaltung einer kompletten Sonate.

Christof Jetzschke, klassik-heute.com, 31. März 2009, Klassik Heute "10" • 10 • 10

 

FORMIDABLE MUSICIAN 

Appealing interpretational broadness and ability to hold large musical forms can be done also on the guitar! I did not know that possible before I heard the recital of Timo Korhonen at the Round Tower, Copenhagen. Korhonen is able to hold several levels of music simultaneously. This made possible the symphonic development process of the concert, which was built enchantingly through the tension between the intellectual discipline and improvisatory inventing. 

Jan Jacoby, POLITIKEN, Denmark, 2000

 

Timo Korhonen is a superb guitarist who takes everything in his clean-fingered stride. 

John Duarte, Gramophone, Great Britain, 2002

 

Timo Korhonens' playing sounds simply grand! 

Mike Silverton, FANFARE, U.S.A.  1991

 

A SYMPHONY OF JOY AND PLEASURE FOR GUITAR

Magnus Lindberg's 17 minutes long Mano a mano is genuine Lindberg and stunningly genuine guitar music. 

Genius composer even seem to have enjoyed how beautifully he can express his unique orchestral vocabulary only with one guitar. 

Paper tasting academically approach and rough fragmentarism are far away; Mano a mano is a hedonistic jubilee of witty playing with continuous timbre and tone colour. 

From the material of Lindberg could rather easily create large work for orchestra, even a Symphony, if he liked to name his composition after these titles. 

But a version for orchestra would just be what we have always known to expect from him. It is the Guitar that gives freshness to Lindbergian vocabulary.

...at least for me music of Lindberg says, that the dynamisms of life can be enjoyable. Instead angst and melancoly music can gush joy that does well for body and soul. 

Vesa Sirén, Helsingin Sanomat, 2004 

 

WORLD ON SIX STRINGS 

The guitarist Timo Korhonen is a Great Artist. In his playing one senses extraordinary clearly the mystery so specific for performing art; mystery of eruption of tremendous energy in most genteel manner. 

One of the most important events of Turku Music Festival was the premiére of new work for guitar Mano a mano by Magnus Lindberg.

Mano a mano is a huge blocky composition, and one could easily call it a Concerto for Solo Guitar, as composer himself did. 

Multifilamentally nature and whoppingly details of texture is already known Lindbergian style, e.g. in his orchestral work Kinetics. Style of Mano a mano is sunburstingly joyful, as a mirror of composer's personality - never lacking contrast. 

For guitarist Mano a mano is a mind blowing technical and interpretational challenge, but I can imagine it is a rewarding challenge, at least when the result is the quality of Timo Korhonen as we heard at The Turku Academy Hall. 

Matti Lehtonen, Turun Sanomat, 2004 

 

HEDONISTIC ROMANTICISM FOR GUITAR 

Magnus Lindberg's Mano a mano, commissioned jointly by The Turku Music Festival and The Berlin Festival, was perfectly placed in Korhonen's programme. It is once in a blue moon Lindberg sounds so uninhibitedly melodic, appealing - touching lightly the romantic, obviously seriously inspired by the instrument. 

The contradiction of Major/Minor tonalities and the strength of the open strings are the corner stones of the greatness of the work - it seemed Lindberg/Korhonen enjoyed this greatness in almost hedonistic manner. The Guitar sounds strongly and colourfully and Korhonen's handwork created a sensation of definately more than just one guitar. 

The technical requirements were remarkable, but Korhonen mastered the composition with playful easyness and with freedom. When two contending souls meet in front of shared challenge, the difficulty is only a stimulating challenge. 

Mats Liljeroos, Hufvudstadsbladet, 2004

 

"It was a phenomenal success (Ojai Festival). The members of Toimii-ensemble became heroes. Timo Korhonen, the guitarist was stopped in street and a female person told him she got an orgasm from his playing. And her husband at side just confirmed: Oh yes, she got!" 

conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen in an interwiev June 29/1999, Helsingin Sanomat 

 

They (TOIMII-ensemble) played like gods. 

Every so often a city becomes tho focal point for a collective of young musicians who then go out and change the world. In the early '50s, there was the New York School around John Cage; there was also the group of budding composers in Olivier Messiaen's class in Paris (including Pierre Boulez) who wer to produce the European avant-garde. A little later a band of five school boys in Manchester (among them Peter Maxwell Davies and Harrison Birthwistle) se the course for the future of British music. 

 

Less known are Salonen's six feisty Helsinki pals who studied together in the '70s. Deeply rebellious of their conservative Finnish conservatory schooling, they formed, in 1981, Toimii, a fervently antiestablishment ensemble with strong Dadaist leanings. But what has separated this form any number of other such puerile collectives that sprang up in the '60s and '70s is that the members havenot only remained together but maintained their spirit of independence (they perform seldom, make few recordings and eshew rules and organization) while becoming themselves the establishment - Salonen and composer Magnus Lindberg, who is Toimii pianist, are world figures. What separates them even more is that they are phenomenal musicians who can operate on a level of competence that is practically incomprehensible. 

 

So after the daring and dazzlingly virtuosic American debut of Toimii on Wednesday, the festival (Ojai-festival) has gone on tho reveal the individual character of the players. And the virtuosity has been downright dizzying. 

Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, June 1999

 

Timo Korhonen gains world success with the same recipe as the Nokia Corporation: there are high hopes for him, but he surpasses expectations. The Etudes of Villa-Lobos Korhonen has recorded earlier, but his interpretation of the early manuscript version avoids idea of recycling. The scores are not so different, but Korhonen emphasises the right things and creates Etudes into new, a compacted continuum.

For Korhonen the difficulty of Villa-Lobos Etudes is a pure gate to go over the conventionality. The combination of ashtonishing music, technique of iron and emphatically interpretation makes Korhonen sound most of the time as a guitar duo - at moments an orchestra.

The Etudes of Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) are simplier, sometimes less than a half a minute long "musical stock cubes", as Korhonen says. Each etude contains only one - though many dimensional - musical idea, but together they build up an interesting universe. The ingenious music of Brouwer is much more than Western art music tradition with Afrocuban flavours. For example the twentieth etude streches towards Ambient-Techno, but with dumbfoundingly great warmth and beauty.

An able recording brings guitar close, but not too close, that bearlike Korhonen's gentle groans make you scared.

Kare Eskola, Rondo Magazine 

 

The albums of Finnish guitarist Timo Korhonen belong among the most interesting publications in the CD-market. Album after album he releases the key works of guitar literature. This time he has set a special challenge: pure, one hour long album of etudes with two milestones of "exercise"-literature of guitar. The famous 12 Etudes by Heitor Villa-Lobos are coupled with Estudios Sencillos of Leo Brouwer. For his recording Korhonen does not use the common 1953 edition of Etudes, instead the manuscript version of 1928. ... In all, the earlier version is wilder and less European. 

Korhonen underlines this character in his playing. The tempi are relatively fast, without failing the details. Every advanced guitarist studied technical difficulties Korhonen masters with sovereign virtuosity. The peace in fast tempi in his playing lights up the quality of the Etudes as concert pieces. 

The Estudios Sencillos by Leo Brouwer Korhonen approach the same manner: the durations written in the score he goes under without exception, sometimes with a great advantage. From technical point of view everything is immaculate. One, who does not know the "neo simplistic" style of Leo Brouwer, finds here some pearls - as in general with this album an exemplary-virtuosic performance of two important etude collections. 

Frank Gerdes, Klassik Heute, 2004, Klassik Heute "10!

 

Timo Korhonen's hedonistic interpretations of Tàrrega's Beethoven-arrangements sound more romantic than originals, but make you wonder how well they actually fit for guitar. March from Tannhauser is surprisingly powerful, but even that is surpassed by the Fantasy on themes of La traviata by Verdi with its' Lizstian virtuosity. Korhonen makes miracles on guitar and his sound is beautiful indeed. 

Veijo Murtomäki, Helsingin Sanomat, 2004 

 

THE FINNISH MASTER OF GUITAR PERFORMED DADA-SONATA BY KURT SCHWITTERSS WITHOUT GUITAR! 

Korhonen is a man of many dimensions. He had studied the Schwitters's 4 movement Sonata, which contains few sung sounds but mainly recited syllables, thorough out. It was a real pleasure to have chance to witness this great Finn to passionately interpret: "Fümms bö wö tee zee uu, pögiff!" However, there was music in the lunacy. The performance was a complete, carefully built study of the possibilities of voice. 

Korhonen's Bach playing was then fabulously free. 

The grand Shakespearean 6 movement Sonata, Royal Winter Music I by Hans-Werner Henze was an experience over the usual. It was masterly performed showing the insight of those six character portraits. Korhonen's interpretation can only be described as huge. 

So many sided and wonderful recitals you do not hear every day. After all, we had the privilege to hear an important historical work, a classic of the one of extreme style of art of 20th century, a work you really do not hear every day. Thank you. 

Thomas Michelsen, Politiken, Denmark, 2001 

 

Timo Korhonen is a complete artist, this means performance's both artistically and technical perfection. He is a magician who can create a palette of tone colour which contains everything from fragile poetry to cruel contradiction. 

m.c. GIORNALE DI BRESCIA, Italy, 1993 

 

The Master of the Guitar, Timo Korhonen won a new field for guitar just in the way it was promised: Chopin can not be played more sensitive. His slow, changing tempi, sentimental nuances and in general improvisatory approach made the Mazurkas'of Chopin ever so gracious and sensitive jewels. 

Olavi Kauko, HELSINGIN SANOMAT, Finland, 1997 

 

Andres Segovia brought the guitar back to the concert scene. By right of what was demonstrated to us by Finnish guitarist Timo Korhonen in his grand recital. 

fj. FRANKFURTER NEUE PRESSE, Germany, 1987 

 

Fernando Sor's Fantaisie Elegiaque op. 59 work demonstrated Korhonen's refined musicianship to the full. Exquisite phrasing and vast dynamic range, including a magic pianissimo, held the audience in rapt attention. 

Peter Rueffer, CLASSICAL GUITAR, England, 1996 

 

The tone production of Mr. Korhonen, the peace in his playing and his absolutely beautiful phrasing makes this CD (Chopin) an experience, which goes under your skin and takes your thoughts with. Wonderful! Absolutely recommendable!! 

Amazon.com, 1998 

Copyright Timo Korhonen 2014. Home page slide photos Heikki Tuuli.