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Rautavaara: On the Last Frontier / Gallois, Segerstam


Release Date: 04/13/1999 
Label:  Ondine   Catalog #: 921   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Einojuhani Rautavaara
Performer:  Patrick Gallois
Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finnish Philharmonic ChoirHelsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 59 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Rautavaara's music almost invariably conveys a sense of forward motion--another Sibelius trademark--often manifested in layered melodies and ostinato figures. Listen to the opening minutes of the "Fantasy for Chorus and Orchestra, 1997", On the Last Frontier, and you'll literally feel the movement and be carried along with it.


It's taken far too long for classical musicians--and through them, the world's classical audiences--to recognize the substantial creative credentials of 71-year-old Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara. His past and ongoing contributions to 20th century music, especially in the symphonic arena, are now being fully and authoritatively
Read more explored--performed and recorded by some of the world's best orchestras, choirs, and soloists. This new recording, part of the "Rautavaara Collection" series on Finnish label Ondine, is an excellent place to begin if you're looking for an introduction to Rautavaara's music. It contains some of his finest solo instrument writing and shows many of the most attractive elements of his orchestral style.

If you're a listener who likes to find familiar stylistic references for unfamiliar composers and works, the musical voice of Rautavaara's most famous countryman, Jean Sibelius, should come to mind as you listen to Anadyomene: recurring gradual buildups of sound and orchestral energy, big, full-textured chord sequences, simmering crescendos, and sudden pullbacks leading to more crescendos. You'll even find occasional hints of Charles Ives--especially in sections that sound as if several unrelated pieces are being played at once. Listen for a passage late in the work, where a rumbling thematic undercurrent is overlaid with completely different themes, much like Ives does in the "Housatonic at Stockbridge" movement of Three Places in New England.

Flute concertos are foreign territory to most classical music listeners, but even if you have a phobia about flutes, Rautavaara's work--and Patrick Gallois' dynamic performance--will keep you interested, not least because of his use of four different instruments throughout the piece: traditional and bass flutes in first and last movements, piccolo and alto flute in the two inner movements. It's a big piece, yet the dialog between soloist and orchestra is equally weighted by giving the flute melodic material that effectively counters (2nd movement, Vivace) or leads the ensemble (3rd movement, Andante).

Rautavaara's music almost invariably conveys a sense of forward motion--another Sibelius trademark--often manifested in layered melodies and ostinato figures. Listen to the opening minutes of the "Fantasy for Chorus and Orchestra, 1997", On the Last Frontier, and you'll literally feel the movement and be carried along with it. Leif Segerstam and his Helsinki Philharmonic really know this music and revel in it--in the best sense of the word. The sound is full and detailed, if slightly boomy in the loudest passages. Rautavaara's music seems to be appearing more often in more places these days, and thanks to labels such as Ondine and BIS, we can expect this welcome trend to continue.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
On the last frontier by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finnish Philharmonic Choir,  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1997 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  House of Culture, Helsinki, Finland 
Length: 24 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: Finnish 
2.
Anadyomene by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1968; Finland 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  House of Culture, Helsinki, Finland 
Length: 12 Minutes 13 Secs. 
3.
Concerto for Flute, Op. 69 "Dances with the Winds" by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Performer:  Patrick Gallois (Flute), Patrick Gallois (Piccolo), Patrick Gallois (Alto Flute),
Patrick Gallois (Bass Flute)
Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1973 
Date of Recording: 09/1998 
Venue:  Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland 
Length: 22 Minutes 53 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Dramatic and Compelling Music June 19, 2017 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "Einojuhani Rautavaara, who passed away recently, was surely one of Finland's finest modern composers. The 3 works on this outstanding Ondine disk, recorded in the late 1990's, clearly portrays a master composer at work, the results being altogether impressive and appealing. A starkly powerful tone poem 'Anadyomene' opens the program with musical allusions to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. This work builds in intensity and demonstrates a straightforward approach to orchestration and thematic manipulation. The next work is a real treat, a wonderfully original concerto for flute and orchestra. This work, despite its 'modern' character, is one that should immediately elicit a positive response from any serious listener. I had no trouble riding along with soloist Patrick Gallois as he put Rautavaara's uniquely lyrical flute story line through its paces with polish, spirit, and a good deal of wit. The final work is for orchestra and chorus, On the Last Frontier, and is the result of Rautavaara's rediscovery of a novel that had fascinated him in his youth. The composer himself wrote the explanatory CD notes, which make it clear that the chorus and orchestra build a vision of a journey and a seafaring search for unexplored dimensions, both physically and spiritually. Its predominant mood is one of quiet, majestic grandeur, which gradually grows in intensity as the music brings the listener face to face with the mysteries and challenge of nature's unknown and undiscovered realities. In summary, this is splendid modern music of substantial merit. The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra sounds right at home with this material, as does the very fine Finnish Philharmonic Chorus. Ondine's technical audio qualities are superb- balance, dynamics, clarity, etc. I give this disk a solid recommendation- it is very good." Report Abuse
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