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Rautavaara: Book of Visions / Franck, National Orchestra of Belgium


Release Date: 01/24/2006 
Label:  Ondine   Catalog #: 1064   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Mikko Franck
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Belgian National Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.


This is a stunning disc. Rautavaara continues to operate at the peak of his form, despite suffering a serious heart attack in mid-composition of Book of Visions that kept him hospitalized for six months. It's a remarkable work in four movements (or "tales") lasting some 40 minutes. Each tale has a tantalizing title (Night, Fire, Love, and Fate) vague enough to leave the specifics to the listener's imagination, but full of musical possibilities that Rautavaara seizes with relish. You might call this new work a "Four Lemminkäinen Legends" for the new millennium, since as always
Read more that indefinable Finnish sensibility is quite audibly present but is always expressed in the composer's own personal idiom. The music is gorgeous: evocative, mysterious, luminously scored, and extremely well-crafted--and it practically goes without saying that dedicatee Mikko Franck does a spectacular job conducting this premiere. This is a major statement, make no mistake.

Rautavaara's First Symphony has often been revised, from a four-movement original, down to two movements, and back up to the present three, which, as the composer notes, provides a more balanced sequence than previously. It was written when Prokofiev and Shostakovich were major influences, but with the passing of time the lyricism of the first movement now seems fully characteristic of Rautavaara. Adagio Celeste is yet another example (there are many in Rautavaara) of how music based on a 12-note theme can still be very beautiful and approachable. In this regard he recalls Swiss composer Frank Martin. It's a lovely work scored for small orchestra (the "string orchestra" designation on the tray card is incorrect). Once again the performances of this work and the symphony are all that anyone could ask, and the sonics, whether in stereo or multichannel formats, are fully up to the quality of the interpretations. A knockout, not to be missed!

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Mikko Franck
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Belgian National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Finland 
Notes: Version: 2003
Composition written: Finland (1956).
Composition revised: Finland (1988).
Composition revised: Finland (2003). 
2.
Adagio Celeste by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Mikko Franck
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Belgian National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Finland 
Notes: Composition written: Finland (1997).
Composition revised: Finland (2000). 
3.
Book of Visions by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Mikko Franck
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Belgian National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Finland 
Notes: Composition written: Finland (2003 - 2005). 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Intriguing, Atmospheric Music From Europe's North July 5, 2012 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "This disk contains 3 works by Finland's leading modern composer. The Symphony # 1 dates from 1955, while the Adagio Celeste and Book of Visions are both from around the turn of the millenium. Each is carefully constructed to proceed at relatively slow tempos and avoid massive orchestral outbursts. The introspective and thoughtful, even deeply personal, expression evident in all of these works suggests Rautavaara wanted to lead the listener on a journey to the inner Nordic soul. This is perhaps most evident in the psychologically diverse Book of Visions, a work which Rautavaara admits will evoke different personal responses from different listeners. Technically, this hybrid SACD ranks at the top of Ondine's already high quality inventory. Repeated listening will surely increase one's appreciation for the versatility of this outstanding post-Sibelian composer. Recommended!" Report Abuse
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