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Rautavaara: Piano Concertos No 2 & 3 / Mikkola, Klas, Et Al


Release Date: 10/21/2003 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557009   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Einojuhani Rautavaara
Performer:  Laura Mikkola
Conductor:  Eri Klas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Radio Symphony
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This new release makes a distinguished follow-up to Laura Mikkola's Naxos recording of Rautavaara's First Piano Concerto. When works are new, as these are, it's always fascinating to listen to previous recordings and compare. The Third Piano Concerto, composed for Ashkenazy and recorded by him for Ondine, benefits from having a conductor independent of the pianist. Eri Klas leads a performance more flexible in tempo than Ashkenazy's, though I find him to be marginally the finer pianist, especially in the Adagio assai central movement, where his playing reveals a finer touch, just as the Helsinki Philharmonic is marginally the superior orchestra despite the fact that this newcomer offers more clarity of orchestral detail. Similarly, in the Read more Second Piano Concerto Ralf Gothoni's ever-so-slightly more impulsive way with the music strikes me as preferable to Mikkola's otherwise quite admirable effort, while Klas provides her a finer accompaniment than does Jukka-Pekka Saraste and the Bavarian Radio band for Gothoni (while still being very good). Isle of Bliss is beautifully done, though it does not sing quite as well as Segerstam's Helsinki rendition for Ondine.


Because of the ease of comparison, all of this may sound as if Klas and Mikkola's efforts amount to "second best" performances, but that really isn't true. The differences between them and the only available competition are very small, and very much a matter of personal preference. By any standard, these newcomers do full justice to this lovely music. Furthermore, Mikkola is a first-class artist with a fine sense of the music's flow and a terrific technique to boot: listen to the admirable independence of right and left hands in the Third Concerto's finale, for example, a couple of minutes into the movement.


She's also very well recorded. As suggested above, the orchestral textures have greater transparency here than they do on the Ondine recordings, if perhaps not as much warmth and tonal richness. In the final analysis, I can recommend this disc without reservation, even while acknowledging the fact (not always true, of course) that the premiere recordings of the two concertos by the artists for whom they were originally composed still convey a certain special authority. But if those performances establish the works as worthy additions to the Rautavaara canon, then these attest to their ongoing viability as repertoire items, and that's every bit as important.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Piano no 2 by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Performer:  Laura Mikkola (Piano)
Conductor:  Eri Klas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Radio Symphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1989; Finland 
Date of Recording: 11/2002 
Venue:  Netherlands Radio Studios, Hilversum 
Length: 23 Minutes 39 Secs. 
2. Concerto for Piano no 3 "Gift of Dreams" by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Performer:  Laura Mikkola (Piano)
Conductor:  Eri Klas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Radio Symphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1998; Finland 
Date of Recording: 11/2002 
Venue:  Netherlands Radio Studios, Hilversum 
Length: 26 Minutes 39 Secs. 
3. Isle of Bliss by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Eri Klas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Radio Symphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1995; Finland 
Date of Recording: 11/2002 
Venue:  Netherlands Radio Studios, Hilversum 
Length: 11 Minutes 47 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Isle of Bliss
Piano Concerto No. 3, "Gift of Dreams": I. Tranquillo
Piano Concerto No. 3, "Gift of Dreams": II. Adagio assai
Piano Concerto No. 3, "Gift of Dreams": III. Energico
Piano Concerto No. 2: I. In Viaggio
Piano Concerto No. 2: II. Sognando e libero
Piano Concerto No. 2: III. Uccelli sulle passioni

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