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Rautavaara: Marjatta The Lowly Maiden / Pasi Hyokki, Tapiola Choir

Rautavaara / Tapiola Choir / Hyokki
Release Date: 11/15/2011 
Label:  Ondine   Catalog #: 1169  
Composer:  Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Pasi Hyokki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola ChoirTapiola Youth Symphony
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


In the grand history of choral music, writing specifically for children’s choir is something top-rank composers have taken to only relatively recently. Benjamin Britten was among the first to treat the children’s choir not as a novelty or an adjunct to an adult choir but as its own legitimate genre; Zoltán Kodály was another. And the eminent Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara not only regards the genre as worthy of serious attention, but honors it with a level of sophistication and complexity equal to any other.

Which is to say, just because this is a program of “kids” singing, don’t get the idea that it’s going to be easy listening. The innocent voices you may be
Read more expecting are here dealing with such subjects as devils dancing, death and the end of the world, love, a foreshadowing of Christ’s crucifixion, and the “powerful, blood-saturated and death-embracing poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca.” Yet we also hear a lovely presentation of Rautavaara’s setting of the uniquely Finnish version of the Christmas story, a mystery play based on an account from the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala. This immediately engaging work, Marjatta matala neiti (Marjatta the Lowly Maiden), has been recorded before by this same choir, under its founding director, Erkki Pohjola (click here for review), who also was the motivating force for Rautavaara’s reworking of the Lorca pieces from their original mixed choir version to one for children’s voices.

Yes, this is challenging music (see the sound clip below, an excerpt from the first of the Lorca pieces), but it’s undeniably honest in its explication of texts and in its expectations of the singers. It’s easy for adult singers to express the biblical sentiment “When I was a child, I used to talk like a child…”; but when a choir of children sings that same text, it’s cast in an entirely different light. And what of the nursery rhyme “What are little boys made of…”? Of course, girls know best on that issue, and Rautavaara lets them have their say in this 63-second reminder of “frogs and snails” versus “sugar and spice”. Wherever your sentiments lie on that issue, there’s no denying the freshness and vitality—and sheer virtuosity—of the Tapiola Choir, whose founding principles and continued standards of musicianship and technical accomplishment place it among the world’s top vocal ensembles, one for whom any composer would be inspired to write.

-- ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Marjatta, the Lowly Maiden by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Pasi Hyokki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Choir,  Tapiola Youth Symphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975 
2.
The Carpenter's Son by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Pasi Hyokki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975 
3.
Suite de Lorca, Op. 72 by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Pasi Hyokki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1973; Finland 
4.
Lorulei by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Pasi Hyokki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1973 
5.
Waltz of the Innocents by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Pasi Hyokki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1973/1982 
6.
Wenn sich die Welt auftut by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Pasi Hyokki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996 
7.
Charity never faileth by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Pasi Hyokki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1983; Finland 
8.
Children's Mass by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Pasi Hyokki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Choir
Written: 1973 

Sound Samples

Marjatta matala neiti (Marjatta the Lowly Maid)
Puusepan poika (The Carpenter's Son)
Lorca Suite, Op. 72b: I. Cancion de jinete
Lorca Suite, Op. 72b: II. El grito
Lorca Suite, Op. 72b: III. La luna asoma
Lorca Suite, Op. 72b: IV. Malague'na
Lorulei: I. Mista on pienet pojat tehty
Lorulei: II. Hus sika metsaan
Lorulei: III. Peukaloputti sian sai
Viatonten valssi (Waltz of the Innocents)
Wenn sich die Welt auftut: I. Freude steigt in uns auf
Wenn sich die Welt auftut: II. Meine Liebe
Wenn sich die Welt auftut: III. Dann, in jener Nacht
Wenn sich die Welt auftut: IV. Der Brief
Wenn sich die Welt auftut: V. Flustern
Rakkaus ei koskaan havia (Love Never Dies)
Lapsimessu (Children's Mass): Kyrie
Lapsimessu (Children's Mass): Meditatio super Kyrie
Lapsimessu (Children's Mass): Gloria
Lapsimessu (Children's Mass): Meditatio super Gloriam
Lapsimessu (Children's Mass): Agnus Dei
Lapsimessu (Children's Mass): Meditatio super Agnum
Lapsimessu (Children's Mass): Halleluja

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